‘Are we there yet?’ If you’re preparing for a family holiday on the road, a bare cabin is bound to invite this classic, impossible question on repeat. Luckily, there are plenty of simple, car-friendly activities to engage energetic minds en route to your destination. Before fastening your seatbelts, explore our list of fantastic items for keeping the kids occupied in the backseat so you can relax.
Create a backseat cinema
These days, there’s a range of tech options for nearly all budgets to instantly transform your backseat into a ‘cinema’, screening your favourite films and TV series on the go. If you’re looking to upgrade your car to fit the entire family on your adventure, large premium models such as the Honda Odyssey in the Touring and Elite trim have a rear entertainment system, featuring display screens, headphones, a DVD player and HDMI input (from 2016 onwards) for a complete in-car theatre experience. An iPad tablet or an affordable portable DVD player will also do the trick, although for multiple backseat passengers you might need multiple screens to avoid squabbling.
Install kid-friendly apps and audiobooks
Before you lock up and leave, head to the app store on your device and install a selection of popular kids’ apps so that your iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, or other smartphone or tablet is equipped for the road. The more choice the better – even the perfect app for kids inevitably loses its novelty factor on long trips.
You can bring storytime into the car, too, without having to read aloud and get car sick or try and think of stories off the top of your head. Audiobooks are great for listening to stories aloud in chapter-by-chapter bursts to animate your travel. It’s easy to access a library of classic audiobooks, either using an app, on CD, or via audio files on an iPod or other Mp3 player. To reduce the amount of time each passenger is plugged in, find a book for the entire family to enjoy through the car’s stereo system.
Tips to educate and entertain
Anticipating technology fatigue, keep paper, crayons, and coloured pencils on hand to add an artistic flair to the journey. For a longer trip, there are many educational workbooks and colouring books for sale on Gumtree to educate and entertain, making up for missed class time or complementing homeschooling. For a device that little hands can hold and navigate, there are also e-Learning tools available from brands such as LeapPad.
Take fuss-free snacks
It’s one thing to stop for a meal, but quite another to constantly stop and start because yet another mouth is hungry. To keep moving (and to spare your back pocket from impulse buys on petrol stops), pack a small Esky or icebox of easy-to-eat items like fresh fruit and cool drinks. For an extra special treat, plan ahead with some family cooking, like easily baking fresh doughnuts in a doughnut maker for a DIY supply of delicious fuel for the road.
A practical tip for longer stints on the road is to take an in-car USB battery charger (compatible with your vehicle) to keep your electronics charged, particularly if you’re going off-road or camping in Australia’s great outdoors.
Ready to buy your family road trip essentials? Discover the large range of electronics, toys, books and games on Gumtree.