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Ways to Survive Long Journeys with Children

Posted Jul 22nd 2015

The mere thought of a long car journey with the children can send us into an instant panic, unless you are travelling on your own you probably start to think about the length of the journey long before it comes round knowing only too well what it’s likely to entail.  Cries of “Are we there yet” and “I need the toilet again” combined with tantrums and in-car fighting can mean journeys are sometimes the stuff of nightmares.

We've trawled the internet and spoken to our staff and have come up with the information below to try to ease the pain!!

It's all in the Planning...

  • If your holiday's starting with a long car journey, consider setting off at night, or before the crack of dawn, so that children sleep though (most of) it.
  • Programme the satnav, if you have one, and then (satnav or no satnav - it's good to have back-up) get the map out and study it before you go. Write out explicit directions from your starting point to the finish line.
  • If you do take a wrong turn, try not to swear/rant/sob too dramatically: some children can get a bit stressed if they think that you're truly lost.
  • If your car journey has a deadline - a specific ferry crossing or flight, for example - allow plenty of extra time. Kids are happier travellers if you let them blow off some steam between periods of being strapped in.

Ideas for Entertainment

If we’re honest, we’re not surprised children get restless when they’re stuck in the car for hours at a time, we do too! We’ve gathered our favourite ideas for passing the time and keeping them happy, why don’t you give them a go – what have you got to lose?!

Spotting Things.jpgSpotting things

We love an old fashioned game of eye spy but why not try changing it a little? Depending on the age of your children this could vary from simple things like spotting every lorry that goes past to a long list more like a scavenger hunt. Write out a list to check off or you can make a chart using pictures for those not yet reading.

Sound effects

Make up a series of sounds for certain things like a clap for a bridge, blowing a raspberry for a cow and so on. You can do it just for fun or as the children get older you can award points to the person that makes the noise first. There’s nothing like a bit of sibling rivalry to keep them occupied!

Activity Pack.jpgTravel packs

In the lead up to your journey, why not create a travel pack for your child? Gather up small inexpensive ‘stocking filler’ type toys along with their favourite magazine, crayons, stickers, colouring books and anything else they really enjoy doing.

Nursery Rhymes CD.jpgMusic

They may not be your first choice of soundtrack for a road trip but remembering to load the CD player with their favourite songs or nursery rhymes is a great way to keep them entertained.  It won’t be the first time the driver next to you has seen a family singing ‘The Wheels On The Bus’ at the top of their voices when stuck in traffic!

Audio Books

We love a good audio book as they are something the whole family can enjoy and can induce a bit of quiet in the back whilst they listen intently. Depending on your child’s age there are so many to choose from and once finished you can all talk about your favourite bits.

DVD Player.jpgIn-car entertainment

Most parents would be lost without some form of TV entertainment on a long journey which is where the trusted tablet or portable DVD player comes in.  Rather than give them these at the start of the journey, why not try saving them until towards the end when they’re really sick of the travelling and all the fun games have been exhausted.

Snack attack

Failing all else, if you have your little one’s favourite snacks on board then you should keep them happy. Try to pack a selection of healthy treats alongside the naughty ones and make sure you spread them out over the journey so you’re not left with just one lollipop half an hour into the trip!

Information courtesy of