Road trips with kids can be the ingredients of lifelong nightmares.  However, there is light at the end of the tunnel if you plan each day carefully and stick to a few basic rules. 

Packing and Seating

Comfortable child seats are an important part of a road trip.  If you are hiring a car with Around About Cars, they have child seats which will give the kids a good view out of the window and allow them to sleep in comfort.  To make the kids feel at home, pack their favourite blanket or pillow so their Around About Cars child seat feels familiar to them. 

Each morning pack an overnight bag with basics such as toothbrushes, one x change of clothes and PJ’s.   This saves scrambling through a large suitcase at the end of a long day.

Before you embark on your epic adventure with car hire South Africa, let the kids pack their own backpacks with their favourite toys and books.  Let them decide each morning what they will want in the car that day and then put their chosen treasures in a car seat organiser so they can access them easily.

We all get cranky when we’re hungry, so make sure you pack some healthy snacks and drinks to enjoy along the way.  Keep the sugar content of the food low so the kids don’t experience sugar highs and drive you nuts.

Alleviate the Boredom

When the kids have packed their backpacks, quietly check that they have chosen wisely.  Leaving their favourite comfort toy behind would be a disaster.  Kids needs to be entertained.  Good old fashioned favourites are books on CD and, of course, DVD’s can also allow parents a couple of hours of respite from “Are we there yet?”  Older kids can feel they are contributing to the trip by actually helping you plan the route and giving you directions, just keep an eye your GPS to make sure they’re not sending you the wrong way.

If you are travelling with kids of very different ages, it’s a good idea to take an iPod for the older kids, so they can listen to their own music and stories while the little ones are singing nursery rhymes.

Take a Break

Be realistic about the time it’s going to take to reach your destination.  In pre-kiddy days you probably enjoyed seeing how quickly you could get to your destination, hoping to knock off a few minutes from your last trip time.  Remember, this is a different kind of road trip, you have new challenges – keeping the kids happy and you sane.

Kids need to let off steam on a regular basis.  Plan to stop every few hours so they can answer nature’s call and run around for a few minutes to get rid of that pent up energy. 

Instead of eating meals while driving, plan to stop for 30 minutes and have a picnic.  This gives the kids a chance to let off steam and, has the added bonus of keeping the crumbs and spills out of the car. 

Remember, road trips can be fun with proper planning.