Estimated Time to Read: 2 minutes

Taking a trip with children in the family people mover sounds like an economical way to enjoy a holiday.  But once you get on the road, the bliss can turn to tension in a hurry if the children get restless. The idyllic sounds of music, tires quietly humming along on highways and the wind whistling in the windows can quickly get drowned out by sounds like, “Mum, he started it!” and the ultimate favourite, “Are we there yet?”!

Holidays in the road with children need not be an exercise in saint-like patience, however. With a few tips and some wise pre-planning, it’s possible to make even a multi-day people-mover holiday one the whole family wants to enjoy time and time again.

  1. Leave just before a meal, and pack that meal to go on the road. Otherwise, if you leave just after a meal, your first round of restroom stops is likely to follow shortly into your journey.
  2. Pack a knapsack with your children’s’ favourite snack foods. Frequently, pass around the bag so each child can choose a healthy and fun treat – for us, this is about once an hour.
  3. If your children enjoy trying new foods, this can be a special time to pack a new snack or ethnic food to add a sense of adventure and special flair to the meal. This distraction can keep sibling squabbles to a minimum.
  4. Need a wiggle-break for little ones? Try yoga at rest stops. No worries if you don’t know “real” yoga. Make up a few gentle stretches and give them silly names. The combination of stretching – and a good belly laugh at the names – will provide fun talk and distraction for the next bit of the journey.
  5. Kilometre tickets – Give each child a baggie of tickets. At each 50-kilometre increment, have each child give you one ticket. As the number of tickets decreases, chances are good you won’t hear “are we there yet” since they have a visual way of seeing just how close you are. This is our personal favourite to ‘measure’ the distance.
  6. Games – There are a number of great road-trip games to help keep everyone engaged, from youngest to oldest. Whether an alphabet game, memory game, or other variation, the learning and family fun of games will create holiday memories, maybe even traditions, for years to come.
  7. Many people movers, such as the Chrysler Grand Voyager, include entertainment options such as a CD player and DVD player. It might be a good time to choose a movie your children have wanted to see for some time. On the other hand – alternate movies with audio stories. There are a number of narrators with well-told classic children’s stories appropriate for a multitude of ages.  With nowhere to go, your little ones might discover a newfound love of ancient mythology or folk tales from around the world.

Becky Doucet is an independent automotive journalist residing in Melbourne. When not writing, she enjoys hitting the road with her husband and three kids in their Chrysler Grand Voyager.