Car travel needn’t be hours of mess and whining. These handy car hacks will make the trip a pleasurable one. By Lisa Witepski
“I love spending time in the car with my kids,” said no mom ever. If it’s not the whining that gets you – why do they have to start asking “are we there yet?” the minute you leave the driveway – it’s the mess.
Here’s how to stop both from becoming a problem
- Before you leave, place an old sheet over the car seat. Simply shake it out from time to time to stop crumbs from taking root inside your car.
- That shriek to let you know your little one has dropped her lovie or dummy is blood curdling – especially since it’s not like you can turn around and give it to her. Solution? Tie it to a cord, with the other end attached to the car seat.
- Turn a shoe holder into a travel entertainment centre, filling each compartment with an activity like a colouring in book, a snack pack, a few wipes – whatever they need. Hang it on the back of the front seat, within easy reach. A shower caddy, stuck on the back of the seat with suction cups, does pretty much the same thing.
- Make your own on-the-go art kit by lining an old DVD case with paper on one side, and pencils on the other.
- Keep kids distracted for hours by creating a treasure hunt. Fill a pencil bag or cosmetic purse with rice, then throw in some trinkets and jewels, which they have to find.
- A loom band or beading container makes a perfect stack storage unit. Fill each compartment with something different, like dried fruit, Oatees or mini rice cakes.
- Another clever snack solution is to create a “‘necklace” by stringing together snacks like pretzels. They’re easy to transport, plus kids will love the novelty factor.
- Freeze your juice bottles overnight before a car trip. Heat is a major contributor to tetchy moods, so this is an easy way for kids to keep cool and quench their thirst at the same time.
- “‘Are we there yet?”’ bags will keep the kids excited and (hopefully) put a lid on the whining. Stuff large envelopes with little toys and edible goodies – things that they can play with on-route – to be handed out throughout the car trip. Here’s the catch, though: you only get a bag if there’s been no nagging or squabbling for an agreed upon length of time.
In her 16 years as journalist, Lisa Witepski’s work has appeared in most of South Africa’s leading publications, including the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, Entrepreneur and Financial Mail. She has written for a number of women’s magazines, including Living & Loving, Essentials and many others, across topics from lifestyle to travel, wellness, business and finance. She is a former acting Johannesburg Bureau Chief for Cosmopolitan, and former Features Editor at Travel News Weekly, but, above all, a besotted mom to Leya and Jessica. Lisa blogs at whydoialwayscravecake.blogspot.com and lisa.witepski.blogspot.com, and tweets at @LisaWitepski.