Family holidays are a great way to bond with your kids, away from the busy everyday lives that often leave time for little more than the casual pleasantries of daily routine. However, anyone who’s ever travelled with children also knows that it can be extremely challenging. More than adults, children don’t have the patience to sit still for long periods of time – or at least they’re more forthcoming when it comes to displaying their displeasure. Whether you wish to travel with a car hire in the US and experience the quintessential road trip, or you’d rather discover the Italian countryside or simply head to sunny Spain, here are some tips to keep kids entertained on long car trips.
1. Embrace the new technologies. This is a brave new world, and while Skynet may take over yet, it hasn’t so far, and till it does we might as well enjoy the perks of the digital age. A laptop and a few movies or cartoons can keep children entertained for hours. Hand-held games are also a good way to keep the little ones entertained and divert their attention from repeating “are we there yet” on an endless loop.
2. Go old school. New technologies are all good and well, but remember that the reason why we’re still safe from the robot apocalypse is that everything that runs on batteries has a limited use time. There are plenty of time-tested road trip games that can amuse the whole family. For instance:
a. The story game. Someone starts the story and then people in the car take turns continuing it, one sentence at a time. The story will undoubtedly get sillier, more far-fetched and harder to continue as the game progresses. Hilarity ensues.
b. 21 questions. Someone thinks of an object (of if you want to get creative, someone thinks of a famous person, animal, movie, cartoon, pokemon) and everyone else has to ask questions trying to ascertain what the secret object is. If they can’t find out the secret within 21 questions, they lose. You can’t beat the classics.
3. Make a mix CD. Every road trip worth its salt needs a matching soundtrack. Now the trick to make a good mix CD for a road trip is not to make it good, it’s to make it popular, cheesy, and easy on the ear. Choose tunes that are catchy, have a nice beat and that you can sing along to. Disney is always a good bet for kids, but don’t restrict yourself. Road trip soundtracks are a great way to bring out all your musical guilty pleasures with zero judgment. (Unless your kids are in their teens, in which case they’ll be judging you regardless.)
4. Turn to the written word. Reading on a moving vehicle is a great way to make yourself motion-sick, but thankfully to all involved, audio books are now a thing, and you can take a break from all the narrating and let Stephen Fry or some other famous or not so famous person pick up the slack. Regardless of where you’re headed, you can let your kids wander through Narnia, Hogwarts, Panem or the Middle-earth till you get there.
5. When all else fails, take a break. Divide your trip into small sections with a break every couple of hours. Plan your stops ahead and let your kids stretch their legs, go to the toilet, or have something to eat. This will break the monotony of the journey and allow everyone to feel refreshed and ready to take on the next stretch of road.