Summer and the holiday season has finally arrived. In a lot of areas the school holidays have already begun. In Munich they will start beginning of August! So it’s time to put on the vacation mode! Going by plane is not always the first choice to reach your holiday destination if you have kids. Going by car might be another option.
Today we share our favorite tips for long car trips. We aim to make our car rides as pleasant as possible for the whole family to avoid arriving totally stressed out at the destination.
Whenever possible we like to go by car on vacation. No baggage restrictions in terms of weight (the trunk is stuffed to the max), for bulky luggage like the large kids shovels we find a space, maximum flexibility at the destination (no car rental with unfamiliar children seats, etc.) and drive and return can be individually planned according to your own needs. Ok, just an attempt to list some advantages while knowing that the farer the destination is away the longer the drive by car will last;-) Not to forget to mention the cost advantage!
With our kids, it currently works best when we drive halfway through the night, so that the kids continue sleeping. We alternate with driving to try to minimize the lack of sleep we get from waking up in the middle of the night. Even if a nap in the passenger seat, of course, does not reach the quality of sleep in the home bed.
In case the children are awake, we have developed some games that work without any preparation.
1) Truck freight guessing
Trucks are constant companions on our roads. What started with a joke about the truck freight developed to our favorite game. Guessing what might be inside the truck. Sometimes the tarpaulin outside gives a hint but often it’s pure imagination. Once we have decided what might be inside the truck we often use it as starting point of a funny story. From where to where do the goods get transported? To whom will they be delivered? What will be done with the goods at the destination? And so on…
2) Highlight construction site
Children are most likely the only ones who love construction sites on the way. At least our children love to see excavators in action or to finally see a road roller in action. (The books about construction verhicles are the favourite books from our boys). Once we are passing a construction site the next minutes are filled with all questions about the construction. What is built? Why is it built? How long will it last? What will happen once it is finalized? Where goes the excavators next? I only partially share their enthusiasm. But children are often good to give you a new perspective on things. Looking excited at the so often hated highway construction sites is a real shift!
Which favorite song do you want to hear? The co-driver becomes the DJ. Thanks Spotify and the elimination of the rooming fees no problem! We play favorite songs of every family member. It is a nice way to learn for example the latest songs from the Kindergarten or to use it for a revival of songs of your own childhood. We have to admit that sometimes we wonder about the children’s music taste. We also like to choose completely new songs but which might fit to the season. It definitely lifts the mood in the car!
We try not to stop while our kids are sleeping. Usually they immediately open their eyes as soon as the engine is off. We also try to make the stops at nicer places than the motorway service area; so we often leave the highway. If you are looking they rest areas also have a small children’s playground. In any case, we try that our kids can move and jump around to burn some energy.
In case all motivation is gone, a traffic jam pops up that nobody needs or the ride just does not come to an end, we help us with a radio play or in an emergency with a movie on the iPad. Most of the time after having played all the games and an extended break it does not take too long that they will fall asleep again.
How do you keep your children entertained while driving? If you have any tips, leave us a comment here. We are looking forward to new suggestions!
Have a nice trip to your vacation!