Travelling with Kids: Day Trip Essentials
With the summer holidays almost upon us, it's the perfect time to plan some days out with the kids and enjoy time together as a family. If one of our family days out has taken your fancy and you want to take a day trip somewhere, it can often involve spending a while on the road. However, this doesn't need to be a headache if you make the right preparations. Here's our list of day trip essentials to help you have as trouble-free a trip as possible with kids of any age.
Always Have a Back-up Plan
The last thing you want when travelling with kids, especially when they're young, is for your plans to go awry without a back-up. Make sure you're prepared by checking the website of the place you're travelling for the opening times, as well on the day to find out if it is closed or has restricted opening hours for some reason - if the destination has a Twitter account, this can often be the best place to find out last minute news like this.
Even after you've checked that the place you're heading is going to be open, make sure you always have a plan B, as you never know what might happen. The location may not be what you expected, or you children may not enjoy themselves there at all, so it's important to always have another place in mind just in case. Google is your friend here - simply search for 'things to do' followed by the name of the location you're heading and you'll find plenty of ideas.
The first thing on any parent's shopping list when it comes to travel essentials should be sun blinds. Having the sun glaring in your eyes is unpleasant for anyone, and it's likely to make kids especially irritable. As you can pick up a decent quality set of sun blinds for the rear windows of your car for less than £10 from any supermarket, this is a total no-brainer - don't go on another day trip with your kids until you've bought a set.
As every parent knows, children hate spending long periods of time in the car. While you can do your best to entertain them and make them as comfortable as possible, they can still often cause a fuss and throw tantrums. One way of getting around this is encouraging them to catch some shut-eye on the journey, which you can do by providing them with a car pillow and a blanket. Even if they don't go to sleep, these will help them to be comfortable and less likely to become unsettled.
A Safety Mirror
To ensure the safety of all of your passengers when travelling with children, make sure to pick up a safety mirror, such as this one from Safety 1st. This will allow you to keep an eye on the kids in the backseats without having to adjust your rear-view mirror, which will keep your eyes off the road for least amount of time possible.
If there's one thing you can guarantee when you set off on a road trip with the kids, it's that there's going to be plenty of mess. To protect the interior of your car from food crumbs, spilt liquids, and general clutter, pick up a set of seat covers before the trip. There are a number of clever options available, such as this one from Sakura, that will not only keep your car clean, but also double up as storage for your kid's toys, colouring books, and tablets.
Picnic Rug and Basket
If the sun does get out over the holidays, there's no better way to enjoy it than with a picnic. If you buy a picnic rug and basket in the lead up to summer, you'll not only be able to use it for impromptu trips to the park, but also to pack lunches for day trips. This will not only save you money, but also remove the hassle of having to find somewhere to eat during the day, which is often a headache with kids in tow. Check out the excellent range of picnic hampers at John Lewis for a starting point.
Make sure you have all of these essentials prepared in advance before you set off on your first family day trip of the summer and the car journey is sure to be as hassle-free as possible, allowing you and your kids to enjoy the day together.