How to get through long family car journeys

The family road trip can vary, from an exciting adventure to a stressful chore. While there’s not much you can do about the weather or the traffic, if you want to get from A to B without falling out with your family somewhere in between, then read on for our advice about how to make your road trip a little smoother.

Plan for all eventualities
If your journey is meant to take four hours, plan on six. Roadworks, wrong turns, rogue sat navs and impromptu toilet stops can make your journey anything but predictable.

Bring more of everything than you think you’ll need, to give yourself a fighting chance of avoiding the anxiety and tension brought on by arriving late.

Avoid arguments
If there are people in your family who love nothing better than to while away the hours by arguing all the way up the motorway, simply rise above it. Decide before you set off that you won’t be drawn into an argument, no matter how beleaguered you might feel. If you don’t rise to the bait, then it might be withdrawn very quickly, resulting in a much more pleasant atmosphere during your journey.

Plan games for everyone
A few fun games should help to pass the time. Try to think of variations to keep everyone happy, as mum and dad might tire of ‘I spy’ after a while!

For example, why not give ‘motorway karaoke’ a go? Approached in the right spirit this can be an amusing way to pass the time on a long journey.

It takes some effort beforehand: write out the words from a selection of classic (or terrible!) songs and produce them when your journey is at a low ebb. Then take it in turns to belt them out at the top of your lungs.

If you can twist the arms of your family to get involved, you could all be having fun in no time.

If you’re looking for something a little more sedate, then try a bit of ‘Number plate celebrities’! This is the game where you take the letters from the car in front and use them to spell out the initials of famous people.

It may sound old fashioned, but buying a new colouring book or puzzle book for your children can pay dividends. They will have their heads buried in them for hours, meaning a peaceful and uneventful trip for the adults in the front.

Magical Mystery Tour
If you approach your journey with the belief that you will probably be late anyway, then why not make your journey that little bit more interesting? There’s the quickest route, and there’s the most interesting route – and while most people choose the former, it’s the latter that could be the key to a fun journey.

If you visit the Via Michelin site, you will find a route planner which gives various options, including a sightseeing route for wherever you’re heading. Use your journey as a chance to see a bit more of the country.

Get the boring bits right
If you’re going to have a pleasant trip, you also need to sort out the less interesting, but essential, aspects of road travel. So make absolutely sure that your vehicle is in a fit state to undertake a long journey, and be sure that you have adequate car insurance for anyone who will be taking a turn behind the wheel.

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