The beauty of a good ol’ family road trip is a budget wise option that gives you the flexibility and freedom to head to your destination at your own pace. Staying safe and enjoying your journey are the main takeaways here.
There are so many places to explore and see in the Central West and beyond, although do you dread it weeks out from the date you leave or do you embrace it? Family road trips can be a great bonding experience without it being an experience like National Lampoon’s Vacation. Rushing a trip is usually a recipe for disaster and not entirely safe either. The best outcome is to stay chill, and stop and smell the roses so to speak.
Here’s what some of our local Mums have to say about enjoying your travel (not just surviving it), when planning your holiday. Every family is different, so you need to devise a plan that best suits your individual needs although safety on the road is the number one priority.
Most families agree that getting some kilometres in under your belt before children wake up is a wise decision. However, disturbing your sleep rhythms by setting of at 3-4am can be dangerous and could go either way depending on what age your children are so these takes delicate execution. For example; lifting them out of the beds into the car just before you set off with that vibration of the car humming already. Place them carefully in their seat and ensure they are buckled up with the comfort of their pillows, a throw or blanket over them. Remember to leave them in their pyjamas and pack a change of clothes for the first stop.
Park stops are great for kids of all ages to stretch their legs, have a play and snack when on the road. It’s good to have a plan about when and where you will stop. Packing a football is a great tip too! Taking regular breaks every 2-3 hours works quite well for both the driver and children and is much safer. Always check that everyone is buckled up before leaving each break stop.
Preparing an individual snack/meal box for the car is helpful so that kids can manage that on their own and you avoid a stiff neck! A good variety helps pass the time although healthier ones are best, as any parents knows sugar highs in a confined space is not a good combination! Water to hydrate is the best choice here as try to avoid sugary juices and soft drinks (you could always use these as a bargaining chip towards the end if you feel things are going south). Bringing a couple of sick bags are not a bad idea either.
Planning some games that can be enjoyed by the family make sense. If you can play games that involve everyone enjoying the scenery then it’s a Win-Win! Suggestions are; I spy, would you rather? game, animal or vegetable, spotting A to Z number plates, age-appropriate lists of things to find along the way; like black and white cow, five silos in a row, a red mailbox etc can really break up the journey and lessen that monotonous question from the kids of “Are we there yet?”. Technology can play a role too as long as it isn’t excessive. A few toys and window crayons can be fun. Devices that enable kids to watch movies/shows, listen to audio books, their favourite music playlists, podcasts are fabulous to set-up before-hand too. Remember to pack headphones.
Driver Reviver sites are all over NSW serving biscuits, tea and coffee. They also have water, shade and toilets at these too. There are numerous NSW rest areas listed on this map here. You can also check if there has been any live traffic incidents as well. Free Cuppa for the driver is a scheme that runs from 1 March – 31 May each year if travelling at this time.