Any parent who has experienced driving with their children running amok in the backseat knows it’s often stressful to say the least, so packing up the car and hitting the road for a cross-state trip can be the last step before insanity kicks in and you lose the will to live.

Fear not though, as we have come up with the ultimate survival guide to get you to your destination in one piece, and ensure you decide to bring the kids back on the return trip.

‘Something beginning with P…

It’s a classic for a reason and kids love it, I-Spy can keep the little ones entertained for a significant chunk of time (provided you don’t get too sick of it). There are plenty of other car games that are just as good at maintaining tranquillity in the car; 20 questions, ‘Who can stay quiet the longest?’ (with a prize awarded to the winner), Hold Your Breath (when driving through tunnels, or between roundabouts) and Punch Buggy, which involves a gentle ‘punch’ to a fellow passenger when you spot a VW Beetle (although we advise parental/driver discretion as participants can often become over-enthusiastic!)

‘The wheels on the bus go round and round…’

It can feel like they go round and round forever if you have to listen to this children’s song too much, but letting the little ones take over the car stereo is a bona-fide way to keep them happy and make life easy for you. Of course, when you eventually get there, the songs will still be going round and round in your head…

Plug ‘em in

You may normally have restrictions at home as to how long the kids can use certain electronic devices, but if it keeps them occupied and happy, then consider a little leniency on this matter for a long road trip. After all, if you’re going somewhere with lots of outdoor activities, they’ll be spending most of the time running around in the fresh air, and not with their heads buried in an iPad.

Relax on bedtime

If you happen to be driving in the evening and bedtime is approaching, let them stay awake and say it’s as a special treat…but only if they’re behaving themselves of course.

The travelling dustbin

Not necessarily a guarantee to keep the kids occupied and behaving themselves, but consider being more relaxed about the mess being made in the backseat, therefore avoiding any unnecessary arguments and stress whilst you’re driving. When you arrive, you can get them to clear up all the mess (and threaten to not go to the theme park if they don’t).

Sweet bribes

If (sorry, when) things are getting out of control three and a half hours in, simply reach for the big bag of sweets in the glove box and tell your little darlings these are on offer if they start behaving themselves. The lowest common denominator, but more often than not it’s a guaranteed win.

Thank heaven for headphones

You know that annoying film, video game or music video on the tablet that has that vein in your head throbbing? Well, there’s a simple cure. Bring headphones. And bring spares (you know what kids are like). And then encourage them to watch that three-hour documentary on the world’s best-behaved children.

Speaking in code

Every parent does it when required; replacing words or spelling out words so the kids don’t realise what you’re referring to. Use this to talk about how far away you are from the destination or where you may stop for food/refreshments along the way.

Visualising the first drink

No matter how chaotic and stressful the journey is and no matter how tempted you are to turn the car around and go all the way back, keep this one thing in mind: the first sip of that ice-cold beer/glass of wine/double vodka (depending on how bad it’s been). Visualise how it looks, how it tastes, and then how many more you’re going to order. This will get you through anything.

Get an instant quote
Receive a quote in seconds from the car rental insurance specialists:
Get started