It’s been a long time since I walked into an airport terminal. The last time I was anywhere near a plane was whilst driving down the M4 just outside of Heathrow, gesturing out of the window and shouting ‘plane, plane!’ to the three bemused children in the car, none of whom quite shared my excitement.
Since the third child came along, holidays to foreign climates have been put on the back burner, partly because I break out in a rash whenever I contemplate taking my three little monkeys onto a confined aircraft and partly because the travel insurance for a child who has undergone hip surgery is simply, extortionate.
Now we vacation in the UK, and in the last couple of years we have been astounded by some of the beauty spots within our own island. We avoid the stress of the aircraft and replace it with the stress of the car, but at least we can open the doors when the vehicle is safely parked.
My top tips for surviving the journey’s with kids.
- Hire a spacious, reliable car. My little Chevy is lots of fun, but it’s not made for long journeys and when we travel to the depths of Cornwall I like to do it in a car with more than 5 seats. Car hire in the UK is really easy to arrange and book online, too, so it takes the pressure out of trying to remove the rotting raisins from my seats.
- If you can’t rent an ex taxi cab with a wall of silence between you and the children, then bring plenty of things to do in the car. Modern day tablets and iPads work fantastically well, but don’t forget to charge them before you leave. Also, don’t let the toddler throw the iPad out of a window while the car is moving. I speak from experience when I tell you this causes tears from all involved.
- Food, snacks and water are vital for long motorway journeys; whilst avoiding the costs of the service station, you can also look for a local beauty spot where you can have a picnic, if you are prepared to go off road for a while.
- Research car games before you leave; ‘yellow car’ has a sell-by date and I Spy can be tricky when all you can see is motorway signs and the occasional bus.
- If you have a little one who still naps, try and work around their sleep time for when you set off and buy a couple of hours peace before the bedlam sets in.
- Prepare for the unexpected. My twins had never experienced car sickness until we drove to Devon, when they both became stricken with tummy bugs 20 miles between junctions. Now we always travel with a spare towel, a couple of ‘sick bags’ and a full change of clothes for all.
- Finally, have a bottle of wine in an ice bag so when you reach your final destination you can congratulate yourself with a celebratory drink for surviving the journey.
About the author: Jane Blackmore is the writer of an award winning site where she regales her readers with often humorous stories of how to parent three children under seven and still manage to smile about it. In her spare time she can be found running the occasional marathon or gripping a glass of gin, dependant on the day she has had.
Disclosure: This is a featured post.
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