It's an age-old problem on long-distance road trips to your favourite holiday destination. How do you entertain the family along the journey and make the experience enjoyable for everyone?
While iPads and similar devices are the obvious choices when taking on a road trip, below are some alternatives to engage the whole family.
Go old school, purchase a set of road maps and get the kids to plot the journey, highlight the towns along the way and ask them for the distances between towns. There are endless ways to teach them map reading and Australia's geography.
Don't be limited by the route you’re taking, make it enjoyable by looking for towns on the map that start with the letter 'W'. The possible questions are endless but don't overdo it, like all good things they come in moderation. Even combine new & old technology by researching facts online about some of the towns you will travel through.
Popular games like Connect Four, Battleship and Monopoly, have been made into road trip versions. Contained in sleek portable cases, that allow you to stop mid-game, store and reopen exactly where you left the game, without losing any pieces all over the car.
Colouring books are a great quiet occupier for kids and adults alike. Budding artists can bring the pages to life.
Other favourites include 'I Spy', now that's not new, but engages everyone and can be great fun. 'Number Plate Bingo', where you list all the letters of the alphabet and the first player to spot and cross off each letter wins. 'Never-Ending Story', one person starts a story with a single sentence and the next person adds a sentence to make up an adventure, you will be amazed where this goes, there are some very creative children out there and this helps pass the time.
Audiobooks bring books to life and can be immersive and entertaining. Plus, they can also help improve literacy for young listeners! They are also an excellent option for those who suffer from motion sickness.
Every road authority encourages rest breaks every hour. Even the latest model cars have warnings that appear at set times or at distance intervals. But don't limit the stop to a walk around the vehicle, make it a real stop. Pack something to eat for these pitstops, do some form of exercise, make it a photo marker that signifies a point in the journey that you can look back on years later. Or find a point of interest ahead the makes the stop worthwhile, a short side trip off the main route can uncover some real gems along the way.
Another tip for those with a young family is to make an early start. Make sure that the driver gets adequate sleep prior to the early departure. Pack the night before, bundle them into the car while they are sleeping just before dawn and get a good 2 -3 hours up the road before they wake and need a rest stop. Be careful, leaving the city is ok for an early start, but in the country be alert for wildlife, particularly when driving out at dawn and dusk.
Everyone has their way of surviving the road trip, but one last tip is to have your car serviced and check that your caravan is also in good shape, this will hopefully avoid a breakdown that can add to the frustration.
The journey to your holiday destination is part of the holiday, plan and make it enjoyable for everyone.