Things I’ve learnt on long car journeys with kids

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Last weekend we spent nigh on 15 hours in the car over three days. That’s a long time. Especially when your traveling companions really don’t want to be there. It got me thinking and I realised the following…

1. You’ll never get to listen to anything that you want to actually hear ever again. Nursery rhymes on repeat are not anyone’s idea of a good time. Unless you’re called Joe and you’re 17 months old

2. Take a stock of plastic grocery bags. They can be used to as rubbish bags, liners for car seats that have wee on them and vomity car sick clothes can be chucked in them. The one time you don’t take at least one is the one time you’ll really need it. Believe me.

3. Buy the biggest car that you can afford if you travel often to fit all the accompanying crap easily. We have what in the United States is called a mini van. Think Espace or Ford S-Max but so much bigger. The AA man at Dover Ferry Port laughed hysterically because it was nearly as big as his truck but it fits everything I need and more. I love it

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4. As above, don’t ever let your car battery die in the queue for ferry embarkation in a foreign country when you have 4 more hours to drive on the other side. Even if that foreign country is actually your home country. Where everyone speaks your language. It’s just too painful for words. Especially if you’re the only adult in the car. Which I was

5. Pack far more snacks and drinks than you think necessary. And then double it. Lose all anxiety of the potential mess that will be created. You can just hoover when you get home

6. The iPad with every favourite film is your lifesaver. Now is not the time to fight screen time

7. Don’t pack a pretend laptop that spouts Peppa Pig for a 1 year old and let him have it. It will reduce you to tears before you’ve even got back to your seat and put your belt on

8. Allow for stops. And lots of them. Make use of any clean toilet that you see. Squatting with a 3.5 year old on the side of a Dutch motorway is terrifying

9. Update your maps on your sat nav (GPS). There’s nothing that makes you want to silently throw yourself out of the car than getting lost on a road built post sat nav purchase. Because naturally that’s when your two happy children choose to inexplicably start screaming

10. Make sure you’ve packed alcoholic provisions. You will absolutely want something cold and strong upon arrival. And you’ll cry when you realise the bottle’s still in the fridge at home

11. Swear you’ll never do one again then a week later plan a trip with even more hours in the car

12. It’s all worth it when you get to see things like this in real life (we’ve just got home from a tour of South Holland in the Netherlands. Including Gouda, Dordrecht, Rotterdam, Delft and the windmills at Kinderdijk)

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What would you add? What epiphanies have you had whilst facing your longest ever journeys?!


Family Fever