Days spent with our children are priceless, so whenever we can, we take our kids along with us on our travels and we love it. Having said that, its not always fun and giggles. Long journeys – especially in the car can become challenging for parents and kids alike. Below are items we found essentials or useful to help keep the journey interesting, or at the very least peaceful. Hope you find them helpful too.
Disclaimer: For your convenience, we have included affiliate links to items which we have found useful. We will receive a commissions from the seller if you purchase through these links.
1. Kids audiobooks
Reading is a great way to relax on a holiday, but due to light levels and motion (sickness) it can be difficult on a car journey. This is where audiobooks come into their own, time flies by when engrossed in a wonderful story, they are an absolute godsend. There are many available on the market for kids of all ages (and adults). Below are a couple that have mesmerised our kids for many hours on our road trips.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Book 1
Everyone needs a little bit of magic in their life and JK Rowling brought it to life for a new generation. The book is mesmerisingly read by Jim Dale. Our little ones love listening to it over and over again. The book is covered over 7 CD with a total reading time of 8 hours and 25 minutes. Perfect for the long car journeys.
A Bear called Paddington
The classic adventures of the bear from Darkest Peru, Paddington, by Michael Bond does not go out of fashion. This 2 CD set is beautifully read by Stephen Fry and is 2 hours and 40 minutes of joy.
The Cat in the Hat and Other Dr. Seuss Favourites
You can’t go wrong with this classic set. This audiobook set is 11 complete stories:
- The Cat in the Hat read by Kelsey Grammer
- Horton Hears a Who read by Dustin Hoffman
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas read by Walter Matthau
- Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? read by John Cleese
- The Lorax read by Ted Danson
- Yertle the Turtle, Gertrude McFuzz, and The Big Brag read by John Lithgow
- Thidwick, the Big-Hearted Moose read by Mercedes McCambridge
- Horton Hatches the Egg read by Billy Crystal
- The Cat in the Hat Comes Back read by Kelsey Grammer
Nothing makes the little ones (and adults alike) more unmanageable than a grumbling tummy. Hence, make sure you have a good supply of easy to consume snacks that will last the journey. We have found Pringles, wraps, brioche buns, apples, pears and obviously Celebrations chocolates to work wonders.
3. Multi port car charger
Assuming that you are comfortable with your children using mobile phones or tablets, a crucial piece of kit to ensure you are not fighting to keep devices powered up is a multi port charger.
There are many to choose from out there to suit your different needs. We particularly love this one as it provides two charging point for the front seats and has a neat single 1.7m wire to a 2-port hub which clips to the backseat pocket. The 2-port hub has a Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 port and a 3.1A port, while the front seat charger has 2x 2.4A ports.
4. Sick bag
Hopefully one we don’t ever have to use, but absolutely essential to keep as a standby, even for those who normally don’t suffer from motion sickness. Whilst travelling you are likely to be indulging in a wide variety of different foods which may not sit always well for little ones or sensitive stomachs, especially on a long car ride.
5. Car seat organizers
When you get a barrage of demands and request that come from the back seat on a long journey (eg “Mummy, did you bring my eraser? I can’t find my pink crayon!, Wheres my colouring book?) it can really start chipping away at the patience.
We have found that car organisers, which help to keep everything they need in view and the back seat in some order, really helps to reduce the number of such reliance requests and demands from our kids . It has pockets for activity books, snacks, water bottle, colouring pencils and their favourite teddy. Most importantly, it has a touch-sensitive ipad/tablet pocket. Great for keeping devices at a good distance to reduce eye strain and maintain good posture while they watch their movies. If you’re in luck they could even fall asleep (without dropping the equipment).
6. Kids activity case
Apart from using technology, good old fashion drawing or colouring is a must for our kids. Supplementing the car organiser, we have found this well thought-through activity set from Pipity a godsend. It is made from wipe clean oil cloth – a nice touch to keep the set looking smart if the odd bit of juice finds itself splashed across the front. It comes pre populated with activity pad, colouring pencils, glue stick, scissor, sharpener and a flexible ruler. It is also refillable with either more Pipity items or your childs favourite stationary. Our little girl loves this and carries it everywhere on our French road trips – so chic!
Make sure to remove the scissors if you are bringing this onto the plane.
7. Car window sunshade
The summer sun is a joy, but can we annoying to a tired and irritated little one who is trying to get to sleep. It is also handy to protect them from too much UV as well as unwelcome glare when they are into their colouring or practicing their maths on the ipad/tablet.
We were initially skeptical about these wrapped around sun shades, but found them great for covering for whole window. It is also great that we can wind down the window without the risk of little arms being put out the window. But, you do need to be organised and put it up before the journey.
8. Comfy car seats
Although we don’t think kids really complain about uncomfortable seats, we do think it helps to get a comfortable (and obviously safe) car seat. If not for anything, it will make you feel better that they are in a soft, relaxing and comfy seat.
Our Car Seat (UK Only)
We found that this car seat for babies from 0 – 19 kg/ 40 lbs has all the essential features for a road trip and normal day-to-day use. We absolutely love the 360-swivel feature which make getting the little one in-and-out an absolutely breeze. But more importantly, it allowed us to easily switch to the safer backward facing option when they are asleep. The 6-level recline positions are also handy especially when it is feeding or napping time. Lastly, you will get a good use out of this thanks to the the multiple level harness and headrest system.
Do remember that babies in this age group shouldn’t be left in the car seat for prolonged period.
We hope you have found the above useful and gives you abit more confidence to embark on the driving road trip you have been thinking about.
Located 115 km or 1.5 hours drive from Calais, 225 km or 2.5 hours from Paris, Lille is great destination for a short weekend driving road trip from London or Paris. It is known as the “Capital of Flanders” and the Flemish influence on architecture, design and art are well preserved in the old town. … Continue reading Weekend drive to Lille, France – Itinerary & Travel Tips