Hitting the open road as a family this summer? You NEED this checklist! 7 years ago

Hitting the open road as a family this summer? You NEED this checklist!

No matter how you go about it, a road trip with the whole family takes some serious planning and preparation. There's just no way around it. And in our opinion, you can never, NEVER be too prepared. The key is in the ground work before you bundle yourselves and the kitchen sink into the car. Make a list. And check it twice. Because road trips are about enjoying time with the family, right?

Here's a few handy tips. You'll be thanking us when you're sailing down the open road in a car full of happy campers. Here we go...

1. Bring car games. Lots of them.

You can never have too many creative options for bored kids on a long road trip. From audiobooks and Podcasts, to craft supplies and portable DVD players, pack whatever it takes to keep your little ones occupied. Squeeze an iPad between the two front seats so there are no arguments about who gets to hold it. And be creative, think of things that will excite them, games they have never played before or new movies they have never seen. Bring more than you ever thought you would need, you will need ALL the distractions you can get.

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2. Plan those pit stops

Before you hit the road, map out where you'll be stopping and make good use of toilet breaks. Stop in a place where everyone can stretch their legs, near a grassy area and take an extra few minutes to let your little ones run around, breathe in some fresh air, and let off some steam. This is guaranteed to lift little moods. Or a HerFamily.ie tried and tested method is to find somewhere halfway that has a good playground or a playcentre to run them around, they might just nod off then for the second leg of the journey. Sound of silence, anyone?

3. Pack fun snacks

Snacks are vital for every road trip. Keep them healthy and sugar-free – there's nothing louder than a child experiencing a sugar rush in the confined space of a car! Be creative and make them advance. Choose something they haven't tried before, or chop the fruit into fun shapes. Kids are easily intrigued by cool new snacks. Take advantage.

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4. Don't forget to be prepared

Spillages will happen. Be prepared and pack a mini bag of musts – baby wipes, tissues, hand santiser, plastic bags, nappies, muslin clothes or small towels and a bottle of water. A little bout of car sickness or an overturned cup could always be on the horizon.

5. Capture it all on film

Family road trips make for the best memories. Between those moments when it's all going wrong – somebody is crying or you've been asked "Are we there yet?" twenty million times – there will be those magic moments when you turn around to see smiling, happy faces in the back of the car. Capture those happy moments. And save them to re-watch down the road when the holiday is long over.

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