1. Plan your stops.
Take a look at your entire trip, then carefully plan your stops to coincide with meal times, or at least every few hours. Try to pick rest stop locations that offer a park or area for the children to run around and burn off some energy.
2. Choose healthy snacks
During long drives it can be tempting to give the children junk food or sweets to keep them happy, but avoid it wherever possible as these kinds of foods are just a temporary fix, usually resulting in a sugar crash and worse behaviour later on during the trip. Alternatively, have a lunch bag full of healthy snacks available to keep them happy between meal stops. Also consider food that is safe and easy to eat in the car as you don't want big spills or messes to clean up.
3. Pack an entertainment 'goody' bag.
I pack each of the children a little bag full of entertainment. It might include their favourite toys, their toy laptops and some books. I also usually like to buy a few little activities like sticker books that the kids get to open as we start the trip. These bags usually keep them entertained for the first few hours of the trip.
4. CD books
As the novelty of the toys and activities wear off, books narrated on CD are another great way to entertain the kids. If the children have personal CD players with headphones, then they can choose and listen to their own stories, otherwise playing it over the car CD player will do the trick it will just mean Mum and Dad get to 'enjoy' the story too!
I have a range of children's CDs in the car and songs downloaded onto my Iphone for car trips. It's amazing how long kids music like Playschool, The Wiggles, and now the Frozen soundtrack will keep my munchkins happy for. I use the Spotify app for music and it really is worth every cent as there is such an amazing range of music available.
6. DVDs or Ipads.
Towards the end of the trip, when all else is failing, I put on a movie for the kids, or allow them to play on my Ipad. We have a personal DVD player for the kids so that we can either hook them to the back of our chairs, or they can hold onto them to watch. As a rule, I never put these on early in the trip as they tend to end up with media overload by the time we arrive at our destination, and I've found that the trip is much more enjoyable for all of us if we work through the activities as listed above.
So there you have some of my favourite driving tips that will hopefully help your next driving holiday go smoothly. Do you have any of your own tips? I'd love to hear them in the comments below!