I would love to take a road trip with my family especially if we had a big camper van which I know they would adore! This guest post definitely makes me want to start plotting and planning right now!
The UK road trip is simultaneously one of the cheapest and yet most exciting holidays that a family can enjoy. Britain is a wonderfully diverse location but one big enough to drive across in a few days if necessary. And until your children’s heads are turned by tales of Ibiza and America and Australia, Great Britain offers as much adventure as they need. What considerations should you plan for before the perfect family road trip?
A guaranteed way of at least starting in the right way is to involve the youngsters in decisions before leaving. Ask them what they want to do, and if there are any places they would really like to go. Give them a budget, pinpoint destinations that are essential and some that are desired, and perhaps even ask them if they want to bring a friend.
The three main priorities for your vehicle are safety, space and efficiency.
The vehicle doesn’t need to be new; indeed, if you’re having fun driving cross country you probably won’t want to start out in a pristine car. A manoeuvrable run around such as a used Ford Focus or other hatchback should be perfect. Space is less of a concern unless you have a big brood, in which case you might consider vacuum packing clothes and buying toys as you travel. Make sure you take regular stops (bring a toilet roll!) and provide in-car entertainment for the longer driving stretches.
In an early, pre-parental life, this writer enjoyed holidays that would start by clambering into a car with his wife and driving to a hotel 100 miles away, with nothing else booked for the week. Every morning we would wake up, look at a paper map (it was a long time ago) and drive somewhere else, looking for a hotel/B & B/campsite when we arrived. Now, with a two-year-old? No chance. My wife wouldn’t let me go anywhere without booking the hotel before we left, and she’s right – play it safe.
Be logical and diverse in your choices, trying to spread the enjoyment. The best locations are ones that all the family will enjoy; for example, many National Trust places combine the triple attractions of beautiful scenery, activities for people of all ages, and historical and ecological teaching.
Break up city stays with trips to the beach or waterfront. Look for child-friendly restaurants beforehand, and try to invite the children to sample any local delicacies or traditions.
Imagine that you’ve convinced your youngsters that they’ll really enjoy a trip to a museum at the next destination. They accept, begrudgingly, and sit in the back moaning. You have a surprise for them, however; instead of the museum you take a quick turn into the theme park that’s nearby; you rang ahead to get tickets and planned the whole thing.
It’s not a trick you can always use because your children will start expecting it, but it’s worth mega brownie points if you get it right. One thing; make sure that you still fit the museum in if possible, because travel should be about learning, and museums are often great fun anyway.