The first family vacation with baby or toddler is coming up and you want to save yourself the stress of a flight with long waiting times, lost luggage or canceled flights? Then traveling to the holiday destination by car is an option, because the luggage can simply be taken with you and you are more flexible at the holiday destination.
A long road trip needs to be well planned
However, the first trip with babies and toddlers shouldn’t be too long. In Germany there are many beautiful holiday destinations on lakes or the Baltic and North Sea that can be reached in a few hours. The same applies to the neighboring countries Denmark, Poland, the Netherlands, France, Austria and Italy, depending on which location in Germany the trip starts from. Important: Longer journeys can be interrupted with overnight stays, during which everyone can relax and the children can pursue their urge to move.
Different countries, different traffic rules
If you start your first road trip in a neighboring European country, you should find out in which countries different traffic regulations apply to those in Germany. For example, in many countries you have to drive with dipped headlights during the day. In Austria, Italy and Switzerland there are tolls on many motorways, expressways and tunnels, which must be taken into account in the travel budget. What many do not know: In France, an alcohol test kit must be carried. The best thing to do is to completely avoid alcohol. And: in some countries there is a risk of severe penalties for exceeding the speed limit.
What to do with travel sickness
Some children do not get on car trips well – you should be prepared for this and have waterproof bags, washcloths and towels ready. Children who are prone to travel sickness should look ahead rather than looking at books and tablets. It is better to avoid consuming milk and dairy products before and during the journey. Water, tea and low-acid fruit are more suitable. Sometimes dry rolls or pretzel sticks also help to calm the rebellious stomach. Special travel chewing gum or travel tablets have also proven their worth. The latter should be taken about half an hour before starting your journey, then they work best.
Games against boredom
If the offspring gets quirky, radio plays or music can help calm them down. Games like “I see what you don’t see” are also suitable for distracting the youngsters. Elementary school children can try reading signposts. Some children make amazing progress in this. Guessing animals or jobs also provides entertainment during the journey. Babies often oversleep most of the trip and, unlike the rest of the family, are awake at the holiday destination.
Stow luggage safely
It is ideal to stow all luggage in the trunk so that nothing in the footwell disturbs or becomes a projectile in the interior if you brake hard. If necessary, a luggage net can be attached to the rear of the car for safety. If you have several small children you often have to take a lot with you. This includes diapers, baby food, wet wipes and strollers, so there is less space in the trunk for other things. In this case a roof box is helpful. The luggage is protected from storms and hardly disturbs the journey. But you have more space in the car.
Don’t forget your papers and first-aid kit
It should go without saying that the first-aid kit is up to date, and that a warning triangle, reflective vest, jack and spare wheel are available. Necessary medication, vaccination certificates, health insurance cards, passports or ID cards, even for the children, should always be on hand. Drinks and provisions for on the go should definitely not be missing. Cool boxes that can easily be filled with ice packs are helpful so that nothing gets spoiled when you get stuck in a traffic jam, even when it’s warm.
Conclusion: With good preparation, traveling by car is ideal for spending an unforgettable holiday with small children. In summer, best in the cooler evening hours or very early in the morning before the main traffic rolls in. The itinerary must be carefully planned. A break is called for at least every two hours, unless the children are asleep. Then nothing stands in the way of a relaxed car trip.
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