Sunday, 5 January 2014

Road trip ... with two kids

In the movies, a road trip has young people, loud music, soul searching and shenanigans. Travelling with Amotai and Lily this holiday had all of those things. If by young people, you mean under three, and the loud music includes a singalong to 'Old MacDonald' whenever Amotai spots a cow. Soul searching of the 'where is the next good playground ?' variety occurs often, and shenanigans includes a naked swim in Lake Taupo (by a toddler). So, it's just like the movies, although the lake swimming scenes may be edited out so the rating doesn't creep to high. 

Long car trips with children - this holiday involved about 25 hours of car time over 10 days - are a whole different kind of travel experience. First, we needed to take so much stuff, our poor little hatchback was bursting at the seams. Second, things take longer, once rest stops are built in. And most importantly, you can plan for every eventuality, but still end up breast feeding somewhere random by the side of the road or keep driving for much longer than your bladder wants you to as the kids are asleep and a toilet stop would inevitably wake them. 
Sometimes the passenger seat is the best place for a rest

In between navigating all of the above, Tane and I came up with our list of top tips for road tripping with youngsters and keeping them happy and us sane: 

  • Fill the car with petrol right at the beginning. That way, if the kids fall asleep you can drive for hours. And hours. 
  • Never let the toddler know that the Wiggles music can be played through the car stereo. It may mean more singing with them, but is a much more pleasant driving experience. 
  • Be prepared to stop for hours. And do fun things, like a spontaneous swim in a lovely lake. 
  • Yay spontaneous swimming!

  • Know that hearing complaints about the trip is inevitable. "No! We go OUR house!"
  • Food makes excellent bribes. Although the sugar bribe may backfire if given too early in a trip. 
I am interested in tips from other parents as well - what are yours? 

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