We travel a lot by road. And we travel a lot with the kids. Over the years we reckon we’ve got pretty good at this road trip business so in this post we’re going to give you some tips to not only survive, but actually enjoy the family road trip.
Tip 1 – give the kids ownership of a part of the journey
Carve the journey up into stages and give each child one leg of the journey to plan. Set a budget or a time limit, set them up on google and away they go. We did this on our recent trip up to Northland and ended up riding horses down 90 mile beach, staying in a hippy hut and flying through the air on trapezes thanks to the kids!
We also invented The Getting Lost Game for that very reason. It gives the kids the power to curate some of the journey – and that makes such a difference to happy kids. Not to mention all the cool places you end up!
Tip 2 – go old school and have hard copy maps in the back seat
Kids like to see where they are going and it’s also a great lesson in geography. You can either print out maps or if you are an AA member like us you can get them free at any AA store.
Tip 3 – find games that won’t start fights
I hate, with a passion, I Spy. It always seems to start fights in our car so we’ve invented our own games over the years to avoid it. Our current favourite is the photo game.
The photo game came from our kids always saying “tell me a story about when I/you were young”.
It’s hard to come up with a story off the cuff so now what we do is before a trip we grab a whole bunch of photos – of the kids, grandparents, us as babies, kids and grown ups and put them in a bag. The kids pull out a photo and say tell me a story about this photo. But before they get the story they have to tell us what they think the story is.
It’s a great way to not only pass the time but also share family stories with your kids and it ends up being pretty hilarious. And of course (and not to bang on about this) there is the Getting Lost Game – designed and made by me and James!
Tip 4 – the ultimate incentive for good behaviour
Bribes only work if they are particularly good and over a couple of hours can loose their effectiveness. Not so with this particular tip (which we got off Nigel Latta a few years ago and have used successfully ever since). It goes a little something like this….
Step 1. At the start of the trip open a pack of your favourite treats. It’s important that the treat is genuinely delicious for all people in the car for it to work. Our weapon of choice at the moment is the utterly delicious Handcrafted by Loaf Bites (my favourites are the Handcrafted by Loaf Caramel Popcorn and Pretzel Bites, but James is a bit partial to the Rocky Road Bites). Once you’ve chosen your treat place them between you in the front seat.
Step 2. Make sure the kids know that there are just 3 bites in the bag (another reason to choose Handcrafted by Loaf bites) and explain that right now they each have one of them.
Step 3. But… they don’t get to eat them until we arrive at the destination and any time they fight me and James are going to eat one.
It’s about here that they realise the pure devious brilliance of this plan – their fate is literally all up to them. Every time they start to fight James and I start to rummage noisily around the bag and there is instant quiet in the back seat. And it’s a win – win for us. We either get a quiet car or we get to enjoy some yummy treats.
Tip 5 – get lost every once in a while
There is nothing that kids love more than when adults get lost. It’s such a reversal of roles and the freedom is exhilarating for them. We started this tradition by accident when our families first got together and a terrible night out turned into “the best night ever” when we got genuinely lost on the way to the ice-cream shop (hence our name – getting lost). You can read about our first time getting lost over here but if you are looking to get lost there are a couple of ways you can do it…
The first is let the kids direct you left or right. They are going to tell you any way which doesn’t resemble home so you’re bound to find some new roads.
The second is to pick a car and follow it. Okay, so it sounds a bit stalkerish (maybe it is) but you’re not actually just going to where they live – just letting someone else lead you for a while. I’m always surprised at how many families we talk to who already do this! And if you see us in your rear view mirror give us a wave! 😉
And if you want 25 different ways to get lost on your next trip then head over to the shop and check out our Getting Lost Game.
Tip 6 – add in fun time in your travel time
Road trips should be fun. The journey should be more than just getting from A to B – it should be an adventure in itself.
I am renowned for my 11 hour drives to Wellington (it can be done in about 7) but I have a whole bunch of fun on the way.
James and I drive down to Thames every second weekend to pick Krystal up after she visits her Mum for the weekend and we regularly detour along the way. We’ve found some fantastic things like butterfly parks…
Bird hides along the Seabird Coast…
And massive dams that we never knew were there down a windy gravel road…
So get the kids, get in the car and make this Summer the summer of the road trip….
From time to time we are lucky enough to partner with some awesome brands and get a little financial support in bringing Getting Lost to you and sometimes even some cool stuff to give away. This is one of these times and we would like to thank Handcrafted by Loaf for their support of Getting Lost and invite you to head over to the our Facebook page for your chance to win your own selection of these great bites. As always the views are our own and we only ever partner with brands that we genuinely use and support.