From Christmas shopping trips to visiting relatives over the festive season, millions of people will be going on road trips this winter. Travelling with children isn’t always easy, especially when you have different and sometimes difficult, winter road conditions to contend with.
So how can you make a winter road trip easy?
The easiest route
Planning is key. Whenever you travel over the winter months, especially if the weather is bad or you’re expecting delays, stick to the quickest routes. Limiting the amount of time you spend on the road is the best way to avoid kids getting bored or grumpy while travelling. You want to avoid this not just because it makes the journey infinitely more pleasant, but it also helps to stop unnecessary distractions when you’re driving.
Plan ahead – are there any roadworks, diversions, or other problems you need to be aware of?
Check the weather – the weather’s never brilliant over winter but check for any risks before you set off
Give yourself plenty of time – don’t rush the road trip. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination safely
Travel when it’s less busy – try to avoid major commuting times. It frees up the roads and makes getting from A to B a bit easier
If you aren’t going to make a pit stop along the way, it’s always a good idea to pack some snacks and look at points along the journey to have them; so they don’t get eaten before you’ve got properly under way
Distracting the driver of a car is dangerous, with a reported 75% of accidents taking place because the driver turned to look at what is going on in the back seat. Not only does keeping your passengers entertained reduce the risk of having to turn around, but it’s also a terrific way to ensure your trip is a lot more peaceful.
Depending on the age of your passengers, the activities will vary. Whether that’s games to play in the car, audiobooks to listen to, computer games, or even playing on iPads or tablets.
Making sure you have things to keep the kids entertained helps to stop them from becoming bored and restless, which lets you focus on driving.
Top tips for road trip activities
Headphones are key – it helps your kids focus on what they are watching, playing, or listening to without distracting you as the driver
USB power banks – there’s nothing worse than losing power part-way through a trip. USB power packs are relatively cheap and can keep everything charged (just don’t forget to recharge them for the return trip)
Variety – let each child pick a few activities for the trip and put together an activity pack that has everything they need in it, whether that’s pens for colouring in with, a couple of games for a portable console, books, or a combination
Travel while they sleep
If you’ve got young children, never underestimate the benefit of travelling while they sleep. It’s quiet, allows you to focus and is perfect for shorter journeys.
Make the most of rest stops
With children, your rest stops are crucial. On longer journeys, this is a chance to stretch your legs, get something to eat, recharge or refuel and relax a little before getting back under way.
When you have children, this is a chance on longer journeys to burn off some pent-up energy. Play areas, arcades and small parks are increasingly common at service stations and are an ideal opportunity to let the kids blow off some steam.
Try and plan your rest stops around when you’d need to top up the charge or fuel tank on your car, it allows you to have a break scheduled into your journey.
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Research the possible service stations or other locations you could take a break from driving on your route
Tourist attractions, parks and historical sites could be just as beneficial – look into whether there are EV chargers or petrol stations in the area to let you refuel
Don’t let the kids take their activity stuff out of the car. There’s nothing worse than being miles away and discovering they’ve left something behind
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