I hear you say: "What?" "Are you kidding?" "And with kids?"
Yes with kids, and for six to seven hours.
This week we are travelling to my birth place, home city to celebrate my Dad's 60th Birthday.
The car will be loaded with suitcases, pillows, extra toys - the children insist they must bring them all (even though they have not played with them for months!!), and food.
We do not have a DVD player to keep the kids happy, I do not have a big car for them to stretch out in, there is no reading or colouring-in because the dreaded car sickness will show up big time, but we do have us!
Us is great. Us is the best. Us is fun.
For me, I think car trips are what you make them and I do try and make them an adventure.
Here are some things we do to make the journey fun and pass as quickly as possible: (My children are 7 and 3.)
1. We always start with a song! - made up or on a Cd - it's tradition. Sing along loud! We are off on an adventure.
2. Yummy surprise snacks in paper bags - small enough to be just a few bites, but many of them. Each hold a "what snack will it be this time" treat. The bags are great to throw out at stops along the way meaning less clutter in the car, always a good thing.
3. Water in their own special drink bottle.
4. Kid music! nursery rhymes or action songs they can sing and car dance to.
5. I spy... Miss 7 is so good at this one - beats me every time.
6. Count how many "yellow" (or other colour) things you can see.
7. Count how many animals you can see.
8. Quiet soft music time. (Mums music! Ok, sometimes it's not so quiet and soft, more like rock and loud, but it's our turn right?) This is for 20min of rest and no talking time! Used for when the kids start squabbling or for the dreaded and repeated "are we there yet" voices. Sometimes they will even fall asleep during this = win!
9. Service or restaurant stop - Kids are allowed to chose one small fun treat snack (non dairy).
10. Surprise new small toy moment, from out of mum's handbag, to delight and keep them going for at least another 30min.
11. Count to 1000 - the kids really love this and so do I because they count and I get peace.
13. Hold your breath through every tunnel or guess when the light will turn green - now...now...now!
14. Spot the same car as us.
15. Share a fave memory/story from childhood (even though my kids are still in it, they love sharing what they remember and are fascinated with grown up childhood stories.)
16. Car rest stop. Everyone takes turns running around the car and have to do a crazy dance out in front. (Yes the car is stopped in a safe location.)
17. Listen to some ABC radio - the kids are fascinated by this.
17. Let kids ring Grandma to tell her where we are on the trip. The girls really think this is special.
19. Read along books Cd's to listen to (without the books in my kids case).
20. If all else fails express for the 100th time: "we will get there when we get there!"
What are your top tips and games for travelling with kids?