Your vacation is booked and you are ready to hit the road, or are you? Why is it that when you stop for some refreshment, you find happy relaxed families full of energy and others where you can sense the tension a mile off? I believe that it all boils down to good organisation in your car for the trip.
What you take on a trip depends on who comes along and where you are heading. Pack carefully, it is not necessary to take everything and the kitchen sink, leaving no space in the car for the family.
When last did you actually spend so many hours with your child or partner? While on vacation you should not rush from one destination to another but make it memorable family time. Take time to stop on a scenic route or if there is anything of interest. Stop for meals, refuelling and for using the restrooms. Let the children play on the playground to let off some energy. In the car play the old travel games like “I spy with my little eye” or ”the registration plate game” to reconnect with the family instead of each one being engulfed on their electronic devices, listening to their own DVDS and playing their own games.
Book your car in for a safety inspection a week or so before your trip. Ensure fluid levels, belts, hoses, lights, brakes, tyres including the spare wheel are in good condition so that the car is ready for the road.
Organisation in the car
Being organised in the car will enhance the travel experience for everyone and definitely reduce the whining. Keep essential items close to where they will be used and don’t forget to utilise the space under the seats.
- First Aid Kit
If the car has a built in kit ensure that you have everything you need in it including any other meds that you need for the family or make up your own first aid kit and store in either under the front passenger seat or the boot.
- Wipes and toilet paper
These are useful for the obvious as well as wiping hands, tables or activity boards.
- Cubby hole
Store the vehicle logbook, sunglasses and a torch.
- Camera and Video
Keep them close at hand on the passenger side to capture those special moments at an instant.
- Refuse bags
Place these at the exit of each row of seats. Enforce their use. Discard them when reaching your destination, keeping the car clean.
- Keep information at your fingertips
File important contact numbers, brochures, maps, confirmation of accommodation, prepaid tickets and receipts in an A4 Flip File Display book. Leave a couple of sleeves open between stop overs for paper memorabilia collected on the way, which can be used with photographs when creating photobooks or albums. If going paperless, use Evernote for collating all the information on your notepad or smartphone.
- Food and snacks
Place a cooler bag behind the driver’s seat with your stash. Keep the opening facing the front for easy reach from the front passenger’s side.
If you are not going to stop at restaurants for meals. Pack homemade sandwiches, wraps and finger sized foods.
For the long haul you’ll need snacks. Prepare individual snack hampers in small cooler bags, if you don’t intend passing out food all the time. Include healthy snacks which will prevent a sugar rush whilst travelling and crazy behaviour upon arrival. Try fresh or dried fruits, nuts, popcorn, rice cakes and “biltong or droë wors”. Domino size cut cheese with crackers will satisfy hunger for a long time. Pre-prep favourite veggies like cherry tomatoes or carrot sticks, add hummus or peanut butter dips to keep the blood sugar stable. Instead of fizzy drinks, pack bottles of water and fruit juices or bottled yoghurt. Don’t forget Flasks with Tea and Coffee for the adults.
A good investment is a “Mobi Cool” plug in cooler, which can be kept between the front seats. This keeps the drinks cool. Keep replenishing them from the stash in the cooler bag.
- Keep the kids happy
Place a comfy pillow and blanket next to each one for when they want to snooze. For the little ones the ZOOBIE 3-in-1 Toy-Pillow-Blanket, is super as it is a soft toy at the same time.
Keeping the kids engaged is essential for a relaxed trip. It doesn’t matter what you use to organise their stuff into, as long as it is easily accessible to them and works for you. You can either use a Car Seat Organiser which hangs in front of the children behind the seat in front or a Boot Box Organiser on the seat, between the children’s seats. Keep these packed for each trip, with a new surprise, for longer trips. Some examples of what you can use: Sticker Totes with reusable cling stickers, magic drawing pads, books, Electronic devices, Dvd’s, Activity / Colouring in books, pencils, plastic trays for drawing or eating. It is easier to have individual snacks packed into these organisers.
Under each seat, place a tog bag or bin with the occupant’s sunglasses, camera, binoculars, swimming costume and towel and one set of clothing. Where it can be accessed when needed, when stopping.
Suitcases and sport equipment. Pack the heaviest suitcases at the bottom and the stuff that needs to be accessible at the top.
With everything organised and it its place, I believe that you’ll have a wonderful trip and arrive at your destination more relaxed and at peace for a super vacation. Enjoy!