Pack a special backpack
In order to survive travelling in the car with your kids, you need to pack all of the essentials -- and then some! Have a backpack or bag for each child, and fill it with age-appropriate toys and activities, including:
- Crayons and pencils
- Colouring books
- Activity sets
- Handheld video games
It's perfectly fine to pack up your kids' existing toys and games into their backpack, but for a special treat, why not wrap up a few new presents as "surprises" for them to unwrap throughout the journey? You can make a game out of the unwrapping process: for instance, if your destination is eight hours away, they might be allowed to unwrap a present every two hours.
Listen to audiobooks
Audiobooks are brilliant for keeping your little ones busy for a decent chunk of time. You can play a story for the whole family on the car stereo, or if your kids are a little older, invest in some earphones so they can plug into their own audio adventure. They don't have to cost the earth: visit your local library to borrow some stories on CD for free, or you could download some tales to your iPod.
Think about food
It's not only important to plan the major meals, but also the snacks in between. Stock up on foods that are easy to prepare and eat, like muesli bars, fruit roll ups, cheese and crackers, juice boxes, sandwiches and fruit. Depending on the length of your trip, you may also want to pack a small cooler for cold drinks.
Plan your pace
Young children get bored and tired very easily, so make sure you allow enough time for toilet breaks and rest stops on your journey. As a general rule, two hours of driving time is a good amount of time to allow between breaks.
If your little ones are still in nappies, pack a large plastic bag and drop an air freshener into the bag -- it will help to keep the nappy odours at bay!
Reward your kids for their good behaviour with a pit stop at a fast food restaurant such as Hungry Jacks or McDonalds. These types of venues generally have playroom and/or playground facilities, so you kill two birds with one stone, as your kids get to enjoy a treat for their lunch or dinner, and then burn off some energy on the playground!
Pack for emergencies
Pack a bag with emergency items or things that will be helpful during your trip, including bandaids, music, sunshades to keep the car cool, a teatowel, baby-wipes, plastic bags and bottles of water.
Be a good houseguest
SheKnows.com gives you a few tips on how to make traveling with kids just as enjoyable for your host as it is for you!