Are we there yet? Surviving the family holiday.

Surviving the family holiday can be tough so how to you make sure it’s a pleasant one?

“Are we there yet?” “He’s hitting me” “I’ll turn this car around.” It can be enough to put you off the whole idea of a family holiday, but the drive doesn’t have to be a nightmare. You just need to do a little planning.

Before you go.
Decide where you will stop for toilet and meal breaks in advance and mark these on the map and factor them into your travel time. A park will allow the kids to stretch their legs for a few minutes and a small town might have great little shops you’ll all love. Aim to stop at least every 2 hours to keep the driver alert and the kids calm. Take an insulated bag and pack it with low-sugar healthy travel snacks like vegetable sticks, cheese cubes, crackers and fruit , as sugar will make everyone more restless. Also, drink bottles with pop-tops are less likely to end up sprayed across the roof. Always keep baby wipes within reach to wipe sticky hands, refresh tired faces and for those ill equipped public toilets.

On the road.
In-car games and activities can turn hours of boredom into a fun bonding experience for your family and everyone knows some from childhood.

Treasure hunt
Prepare a list of around 20 items and give a copy to each passenger.
Draw simple pictures for younger children. This might include a green car, a black cow, an aeroplane, a kangaroo or a particular sign. They can cross off each item as they see it and whoever finds the most is the winner.
Sing along
Continuous songs are ideal because they kill a lot of time and you don’t have to worry about forgetting the words. Just remember that if you start with 100 green bottles you will all be thoroughly sick of it by the time the last green bottle accidentally falls.
This is also the time to drag out old Aussie songs like Waltzing Matilda or Kookaburra sits in the Old Gum Tree.
Memory, word and guessing games
Instead of 2 hours of eye spy, why not start with “I went to the supermarket and bought a… banana”. The next person says, “I went to the supermarket and bought a banana and a…loaf of bread”, and on and on until someone gets tongue-tied reciting the lengthy list. Then there’s 20 Questions, where someone thinks of something and everyone else has to ask yes/ no questions to guess what it is, or variations like who/ what am I?
Quiet time
Some children can happily play battle-ship, naughts and crosses, read a book or watch a DVD in the back seat, but others suffer motion sickness as soon as they stop looking out the window. To give these kids some quiet time, invest in some books on tape and spare batteries. All sorts of books are available in this form. While they’re absorbed by a story, the time will fly to the next rest stop.

Natural motion-sickness remedies
• Ginger is highly effective. Take it before travel, and again if feeling unwell. It’s available as a supplement but gingerbread, ginger beer or ginger tea will also calm upset tummies.
• Sucking on a peppermint or smelling peppermint oil can relax the stomach spasms that cause nausea and vomiting.