10 ways to keep the kids occupied when travelling around Australia
Travel in Australia is much more about the journey than the destination and the best way to experience all that Australia has to offer is by jumping your car and hitting the road. While this is a great mode of travel, because you get to experience everything you'd miss when flying, it can be a difficult choice to make, particularly if you have younger children. If you're planning a great Aussie adventure, hook up the camper trailer and keep the kids happy with these in-car entertainment options!
Create an Activity Pack
Boredom is one of the main reasons why children become agitated on lengthy driving trips. Create an activity pack for each child, including coloured pencils, puzzles and their favourite reading books. Ideally give them their own car bag or day pack that lives in the car to keep their things organised.
Portable DVD Player
If you're planning a long trip, consider investing in a portable DVD player. The kids can enjoy their favourite movies and you'll have some peace and quiet for an hour or two! There are plenty of options these days including roof mounted drop down units (like the one pictured above), seat head rest units, handheld units and even the DVD drive in your laptop computer. Let your kids choose a movie or two at the start of the day and limit them to those so they aren't demanding to have the DVD player running all day.
Pack your kids a lunch box each at the start of the day with snacks like fresh & dried fruit & nuts, cheese and biscuits, trail bars, sandwiches and of course something sweet. Let them graze throughout the day so they wonâ€™t be constantly asking you when the next food stop is.
Games like 'I Spy' may be old to you but not to your kids and they are a great way to get them looking out the window between DVD's. We play our own version of 20 Questions using people we know like family and friends. It starts with 'I'm thinking of someone we all know . . .' then everyone else has to guess who it is within 20 questions.
Buy Them A Camera
Nowadays, you can pick up a digital camera for under $50 and they cost nothing to run. Kids love taking photos and this is also a great way to keep them entertained for most of the journey. Give each of your kids a camera and let them click away at all the great sights they see while driving. If you're really motivated, have a daily photo competition.
Portable gaming consoles are a great way to keep your kids entertained and having fun for hours. The 16gb Apple iPod Touch is around $200 and games are either free or a couple of dollars each and if you buy them on your iTunes account then all of your devices can download the games and you only buy them once. They are also a photo & video camera, music and video player and a great way for your kids to stay connected with their friends and family via email, Twitter or Instagram - if you're happy to let them use these services (when in WIFI range eg. McDonalds). Taking photos on their iPod and sharing them via Instagram is an easy way for them to remain connected to friends and family.
If you know your stops along the way, create an itinerary book for your children. Title the page with the name of the place or attraction you are seeing and leave some blank space for them to draw a picture or write a story.
Hire a Good Sized Vehicle
If you're travelling around Australia with children and renting a vehicle rather than using your own always keep in mind that a good sized vehicle is one of the best methods for preventing arguments and fighting. Kids may be smaller than adults but they need as much space, especially when you factor in their car bags, pillow, lunch box etc. Siblings are bound to have a few issues, particularly when confined to such a small space, so do the best you can to keep your kids comfortable. Escape Travel offer a range of car hire options, perfect for keeping your children happy!
Depending on how long your journey is, some parents choose to have a small gift for their child every day of their trip. The present doesn't need to be expensive and can be as small as a new cheap colouring book or pretty headband. This will give your kids something to look forward to and can often keep them entertained for a few hours, if not the rest of the day.
Choose your Music
Consider your music for the car. If your children are older, it's a great idea to get them their own MP3 players, which in recent years have become relatively inexpensive. If your children are younger, create a compilation that everyone will enjoy.
Family car trips can be challenging for everyone, so keep your kids in mind when planning your Aussie escape. There are an abundance of free or cheap activities that will keep your children entertained for hours. Remember your holiday for the right reasons and start planning today!