For a couple of reasons, we're not heading abroad on our family holiday this year. For one, we've just bought a house (skinto!) and for another, I've done the travelling-with-baby-don't-forget-the-steriliser-oh-crap-there's-water-coming-out-of-his-bum thing before. And it wasn't pretty - I'm just not laid back enough.
So we're throwing the kids in the back of the car and heading on a staycation. Now, whilst I'm pretty certain the potential lack of steriliser on a staycation won't end in bum explosions (there's a Tesco everywhere should we need it, right?), I'm pretty certain the long journey in the car won't be an easy one. With cries of 'I need a wee!' followed by the need for a wee making itself apparent seconds later, constant yells of 'are we there yet!?' and a refluxy baby throwing up seemingly weeks of food in one go, I need a plan. So, here it is, my plan turned into tips to make sure this road trip is as smooth as a Florida highway (I'm told).
Before we go:
1. Charge iPad - an absolute priority for our young man to get the trip off to a good start. We had a melt down last time I forgot, and the in car lighter charger thingy was just not up to the job.
2. Check the car - Call me a stickler, but have you ever tried to control a car at 70mph on the motorway having just suffered a blown tyre, with a three year old shouting 'again, again' from the back? No? Well, you don't want to. If you see any wear to your tyres or there's even a hint of a puncture get them replaced - it's just not worth it not to, both for your safety and legally. Have a look here for information on tyre tred and if you need them, check out Point S - they have a huge variety of brands and sizes in the car tyre world at really good prices. Not only can you buy the tyres online, you can make an appointment at a local, independent dealer to get them fitted before you go. No muss, no fuss and supporting local business at big business prices. Perfecto.
3. Make sure everything fits - in the car and re-pack/buy a roof box if necessary to avoid morning-of-road-trip-meltdowns from grown ups, copying-parents-tantrums from children, and bawling-at-the-noise-screams from babies.
4. Plan lunch - Either pack a lunch - no smeggy station sandwiches for me thank you - or look up country pubs along your journey for lunch if you want to get your holiday off on the right foot.
5. Pack - a travel potty for side of the road emergencies and a plastic bucket - not for the seaside destination, but for voms - see points 6 and 7.
On the way
6. Buy snacks - yes, buy. I plan to bribe the eldest with the promise of sweet stops should he not ask the dreaded 'are we there yet' question every three minutes. I know this will work; he's a sucker for sweets.
7. Make an activity bag - for when the iPad/sweet combo has produced a projectile vom down the back of my seat, I aim to get this bad boy out for some peace. This blog post from Shannonagains on an airplane activity bag could just be the ticket. I plan to invest in one of those laptop trays with the bean bag underneath for him to lean on to colour in etc. Until he throws the crayons out the window...
8. Bribe the kids - good behaviour on the way can be bought with promises of going to the Pirates Party when you get there. Also see point 6.
9. Make a playlist - songs to sing along to can make the journey fly. Hours of fun (for me). Probably all Frozen and Cbeebies themed to clear a path in the traffic should we get stuck on the M6. Et Voila. Inbetween every track ask if a wee wee is needed. Tedious. Yes. Necessary. Yes. Who wants to be sponging pee out of car seat foam on holiday anyways?
10. Check - water, oil and air when you stop for petrol - If you know your husbands fine, then check the same on the car (guffaw). And check those pesky tyres again. Point S have independent retailers all over the UK should you need them. Handy. The last thing you need is to be on the side of the road with the kids waiting for the AA.
Safe travels my friends. With all this in mind, and humour aside, I beg of you to check your car before setting off on a long journey. You wouldn't get on a plane that hadn't been checked for safety now, would you?
Just a thought.
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