Advantages educational, nice to be able to visit people, see new places, have a break away from home
Disadvantages stressful, noisy, plenty to forget to pack!
I last went abroad in 1989. I had my first child in 1990. I haven’t been abroad since. Yes, there’s a correlation here somewhere – taking kids with you means more money, more hassle, possible difficulties with buying the usual baby supplies and worries about local healthcare.Being someone who follows the ‘anything for a quiet life’ philosophy, it is often easier to just avoid travelling long distances with young children, if you can. But of course, that’s pretty impossible. So we try to restrict it to a couple of long journeys a year, including the annual visit 180 miles north to see my relatives.
I have four children. They are aged five, eight, nine and ten, so we have finally got over that wonderful baby/toddler stage where your car is filled with nappies, baby wipes, changing mat, toys et al, so that two adults and three kids’ stuff for a weekend has to be crammed into a Noddy rucksack and a Toys R Us carrier bag.Besides travelling with the kids, we also take the dog with us too, but she is generally the best behaved and least argumentative of the lot. Thankfully, we leave the cat, hamster, rats and stick insects at home. (Thanks, Mum-in-Law!)
So how do we survive these adventurous treks up the motorway? Ahh, well, this is where my years of experience come into play. Well, you learn by mistakes, they say, and after seeing chocolate sick fly from the back seat to the front, I – strangely enough – have tried not to encounter that again... which leads us nicely onto the first point…TRAVEL SICKNESS aka Stop The Car And Stop It NOW!
Three of my children have suffered from travel sickness for a while. The good news is that they have all grown out of it. But we still travel prepared, usually with a plastic waste bin lined with a carrier bag as an emergency sick bucket. Take plenty more carrier bags, a roll of kitchen roll (thicker than loo roll) and wet wipes, not to mention a spare outfit that’s accessible – i.e. not right at the bottom of the suitcase on the bottom of the huge pile in the boot! Or just leave the sicky child home with Grandma for a couple of years…I’M BOOORRREEEDDDDDD!
Well, now all my children are old enough to have their own Gameboys, boredom is a thing of the past. Now we get the cry of “My batteries have run out!” instead, followed by the obligatory screaming, tantruming, whining or sulking – depending on your particular child. (Hey, one of mine can do all four at the same time!)But otherwise, you can buy a load of magazines for the journey. (Make sure you visit the newsagents on the way out though, not the day before, or they’ll have read them already!) If you buy a couple for each child, they can read those then (theoretically, at least) share them with their siblings afterwards.
Taking books, magnetic games, paper and crayons, puzzle books and pens are all a good idea too. Remember though, that travel sickness or nausea can be exacerbated by activities in the car which involve having your head down. I couldn’t read in a car as a child, because I always felt sick, but never actually was.
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