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Top tips for surviving long journeys

What do you do when the children are driving you to distraction? Ford asked for ford logo high resMumsnetters' advice on getting from Point A to Point B without it turning into the road trip from hell.

We trawled Talk for your in-car bribery entertainment solutions and here are your top tips.

  • Make a list of things they have to look out for (five green cars, three caravans, four horses, one fire engine, seven red cars, one petrol station, two police cars etc). If they can't read, stick to colours and draw a car or lorry of that colour and get them to tick. Sounds really simple, but mine used to love it. Lilolilmanchester
  • In-car DVDs. Journeys are the only time that me and my husband get to talk to one another during the day and we thank these wonderful inventions every time. Cappuccino
  • Buy a car with a child-proof, sound-proof screen, or in fact just leave the kids at home. No one will ever know. Nemo2007
  • I tend to let the children eat in the car (yes, I know it creates a mess) and then when we stop they can use the time for running around. bozza

Any more tried-and-tested car journey troubleshooting tips? Please keep 'em coming on this thread.

  • We use story CDs or audio books (Harry Potter is nice and LONG) and if you can't stand another Horrid Henry episode, invest in a personal CD player for each child, it avoids arguments and means you can listen to the radio in peace. Biza
  • For younger children, keep some finger puppets in the glove box so if you get stuck in a traffic jam you can act out endless dramas. Liquidclocks
  • A pillow barrier between children. Squidette
  • Actually a pillow each worked well for us. Then everyone can have a comfy kip if they want one, or you can use it as a buffer between children in the back or they can sit on it for extra height if past car seat stage. Hollee
  • If the children are old enough, then bribery is a good incentive to behave. On long journeys our two can earn 10p for every 10 mins without an argument etc. We have the usual activities for them to do to keep them occupied, but I've found this works best for us. dustystar
  • On a similar theme, buy a tube of Smarties and every time a child misbehaves throw one out of the window. If there are any left at the end of the journey they get to eat them. Harsh but fair (and it works). Smellen
  • Give them their pocket money in 10p pieces. Every time they ask, ''Are we nearly there yet?'' take 10p off them. Worked a treat on our recent ten-hour marathon to Cornwall. filthymindedvixen
  • My two older boys are kept happy for journeys of five hours or more playing on their Gameboys (Lord knows what it is doing to their brains and eyes though). DumbledoresGirl
  • Travel at night or early morning – you miss the traffic and there's always the possibility that younger children will sleep. Gobbledigook
  • One of those lap tray things you get for eating in front of TV is good for older kids - they can do colouring, plasticine etc on them. filthymindedvixen
  • A small snack for every 50 caravans spotted - not hard on a trip down to Cornwall. filthymindedvixen
  • A surprise bag of stuff for each of them in the back - with a magazine, crayons, small toy. Car bingo is fab for age four-plus. Snacks every half an hour and we packed our two a small lunchbox with crackers, drink, few sweets, fruit in small pieces and they could have that whenever they liked, which they loved. Dottydot
  • Tie toys for babies onto their seats somehow - it limits the possibilities for where they are when they endlessly drop them and wail. stealthsquiggle
  • Empty ice cream tubs are fab to keep under the seat of a car-sick child - they are easier than carrier bags and also have a lid. DontlookatmeIamborrrring
  • For motorway/busy roads play car snooker. First child to spot red car gets a point, then needs to spot yellow, green, brown, blue, pink or black then back to red until all the colours of the snooker table are potted, finishing with the black! (They'll get stuck on pink for ages, hence using up more valuable time.) Lizzer
  • Let everyone play DJ. So each person (including parents) gets to choose a music track. Doesn't work forever and sometimes you have to listen to a lot of Bob the Builder/ Tweenies/ Miley Cyrus [delete as appropriate] but at least every now and then you get your choice. Champagnesupernova
  • A sponsored silence is my top tip. Scienceteacher
  • Get your car fitted with one of those sound-proof 'privacy screens' so you can't see or hear them. They're happy; you're oblivious. NotADragonOfSoup
  • Buy a black cab and use the silence button in the front. Oliveoil
  • If you can hear them arguing then the stereo isn't up loud enough. RubberDuck
  • Pack EVERYTHING a week before, then get the whole family in the car and set off. At the first argument (around one mile away), say to them all, "Right, if that's how you're going to behave, we're not going." Then drive home and unpack! StarlightMcKenzie


Last updated: over 3 years ago