Finally it is here, the long-awaited vacation season. The vacation accommodation is booked, the suitcases are packed and the anticipation is huge. But wait: the journey is still to come – and can quickly become a test of patience. A long car ride with kids is rarely pleasant and the question "when are we finally there??"is therefore virtually pre-programmed. In addition, little freedom of movement, boredom, hunger and it is already over with the good mood of the kids. Also for the parents the journey becomes then fast the agony. To make sure this doesn’t happen, we’ve put together some practical tips that won’t turn a long car ride with kids into an absolute test of family peace. Let’s go!
Prepare long car ride with children
Preparation is everything – this is also true for a long car ride with kids. How exactly the preparation should look, of course, depends on how old the children are. For babies a different planning is necessary than for children of elementary school age, who can already occupy themselves well alone. However, there are a few general points that you should think about before you leave.
This is on the one hand the departure time. It is often advised to leave late at night, so that the kids quickly fall asleep in the car. However, the excitement and anticipation of the vacation are usually so great that the little ones don’t sleep a wink on the first leg of the journey – and then a late departure time is usually of little use, but rather has the opposite effect. Remember that you are also rather tired in the evening. If the kids are quivering in the back seat because they are so excited they can’t fall asleep, stress is inevitable. so adjust the departure time to the needs of your children.
Do these still take a nap? Then it can be worthwhile to leave about an hour and a half before their usual nap time. A long car ride with kids is most enjoyable when the little ones sleep in the back seat. if you leave just before nap time, chances are good that the initial excitement will have died down by then and the kids will actually fall asleep. It can also be worthwhile to leave early in the morning. Ideally, the kids will still be tired enough to sleep in the car and you can relax on the first leg of the journey.
The journey is the destination: planning breaks and overnight stops
Before you go on a long car trip with kids, planning the route is essential. And that doesn’t just mean checking which highways and byways you’ll be using to get to your vacation destination. You should look at the route planning, where there are rest stops and when it makes sense to take a break. It’s better to plan one break too many than one too few, and it’s best to look for rest stops or places where there is also a playground. This way, the kids can let off steam during the break and have fewer problems sitting still for a long time in the car afterwards.
Depending on how long the total distance is, it also makes sense to plan a longer break and combine it with an excursion. Check out opportunities for a short detour along the route, such as a visit to the mall, the lake, or a local attraction. You can usually eat better and cheaper than at the highway rest stops, which is good for the travel budget. Besides, the kids take a lot of new impressions with them and are distracted from the long car ride. The next stages are usually easy – with happy children in the back seat.
If you are driving a particularly long distance, it is also worthwhile to make an overnight stop halay along the route. Sleeping in the car is usually not very pleasant for children either, and before boredom and dissatisfaction get the upper hand, you can minimize the stress of the journey with an additional overnight stay. You can also recharge your batteries and relax the next day to tackle the rest of the journey. But remember to pack an extra bag for the overnight stop so that you don’t have to unpack the entire car to get to the toilet bag.
Travel provisions for a long car ride with children
It is very important to have enough food for the whole family on a long car trip with children. Drinks and snacks are often much more expensive at freeway service stations. With a view to the travel budget, it is therefore worthwhile to provide your own food and drink. This can also be a lifesaver in heavy traffic or traffic jams – hungry, bored children and no rest stops in sight are usually not a good combination.
Drinks are very important on long car trips. Especially still water and tea are the perfect travel companions. On the other hand, you should avoid carbonated drinks and lemonades as much as possible. They not only make you feel hungry, but can also easily upset your stomach.
Make sure that the snacks are as healthy as possible and do not make you excessively thirsty. Very hearty, sweet and salty foods should therefore only be served in moderation. Instead, fruit and vegetables such as carrot sticks and cucumber slices are good for a fresh snack between meals. Sandwiches or rolls, cheese cubes or previously baked vegetable muffins are also ideal travel snacks for a long car ride with kids.
Long car ride? Keeping the kids busy!
Besides the food, the question of what to keep the kids occupied during a long car trip is certainly one of the most important. Of course, the age of the little ones determines which activities can be considered. A baby, for example, needs less active occupation than a kindergarten or elementary school child who can already talk for some time on his own.
a must-have for the trip is a kneeling tray for the kids, which serves as a base for coloring blocks, building blocks and other games and at the same time prevents small parts from disappearing out of reach in the footwell of the car. There are even kneeling trays on which children can draw directly – so you can kill two birds with one stone. Please note, however, that children should not look down for too long during the ride. This reduces the risk of them getting sick.
especially for older children, puzzles and memory games are a great pastime. Often these games can be played without much preparation, for example, classics like "I see something you don’t see" or "guess the license plate". There are also many templates for games such as "city, country, river" that you can print out and use for a game during the drive. Our tip: laminate the template and get wipeable foil pens, so the template can be used again and again!
Music and audio books provide variety
Two other classics that should definitely be included on a long car trip with children are music and audio books. This will keep the kids busy for a while and also give the adults a break from the constant entertainment of the little ones. Special children’s headphones are ideal, as they are particularly comfortable and do not press on the ears. For several children, models that can be connected in series are suitable, so that everyone can listen to music or an audio book via the same device. Tip: download audiobooks before you leave and create offline playlists to save mobile data!
Long car journeys with children – you definitely need to take this with you!
Especially when your vacation begins with a long car ride with children, the motto for the trip is "preparation is everything!". A packing list makes vacation preparations much easier and prevents essential things from being forgotten at home. It would be annoying if you only noticed halay through the journey that your child’s favorite cuddly toy is still at home, while tears are already flowing in the back seat. A packing list also helps to avoid unnecessary stress, as you know exactly what is on board – and ideally in which suitcase or bag.
Also for the car trip itself it is useful to think in advance what must be handy in any case. Some things make your life easier during the trip. With it should be for example:
- Kitchen roll
- utility knife
- Garbage bags
- First aid kit incl. Travel tablets against nausea
- Spit bag for emergencies
- Wet wipes
- Small change
- Charging cable
- Provisions bag
- favorite cuddly toy& blanket
- books, coloring book, pencils, toys, kneeling tray
Of course, the list can be extended as much as you like, depending on what exactly you need for a long car ride with kids in any case. Every family and every child is different. Therefore, make sure that all your needs for a stress-free trip are met in the best possible way, so that everyone arrives relaxed at the vacation destination. Good drive!