Family Trip To Karumba: Leave the distractions of work, school and our social lives behind for a while and to devote our time to each other
One of the main motivations for our road trip was to spend some big chunks of time together as a family. We wanted to leave the distractions of work, school and our social lives behind for a while and to devote our time to each other.
After being parents for ten years, we wanted to regroup and make a plan for the next stage of parenting our girls. We felt it was important to take some time out and think long and hard about what it takes to be a good parent to older kids and to leave the bad habits we had gotten into at home. In a way, we wanted to reprogram ourselves as a family and start afresh. But we also wanted to have an adventure together, or lots of adventures, and to share good times in interesting places with the people we loved most in the world. And while travelling with kids is never exactly easy, it was mostly pretty wonderful.
GET THEM INVOLVED IN PLANNING
Our children cope better with change if they’re prepared for what’s ahead. And the best way we found to prepare them was to include them in the planning. Even before we set off on our trip we discussed the different routes, the landmarks and the choices of accommodation we were considering. This gave them an opportunity to get excited about the trip and let them have an opinion and understanding of what was going on.
ACTIVITIES FOR THE CAR
On really long drives children will need a little extra stimulation, so they don’t get bored and start arguing and complaining. Have some age-appropriate books, craft supplies, small toys, snacks and drinks ready.
GOOGLE LOCAL AREA INFORMATION
Our girls loved hearing stories about the places we were passing through. On our way in, if we had mobile service, Bren would look up the town and read out its history. That way, as we were driving through, they would look out of their windows and point out landmarks and imagine how things might have looked in times gone by.
LOTS OF STOPS
There was one stage, fairly early in our trip, when I started thinking about it as a tour of playgrounds. My girls became experts at scouting them out. Every time we drove through a town, they would be on the look-out and shout until we stopped. We learnt that travelling with kids involves stopping often, at least every two to three hours, for toilets, snacks and leg stretching.
To take or not to take, that is the question. We agonised over this one for months. We didn’t have DVD players on road trips when we were kids and we survived. We wanted our kids to look out of the window and notice the landscapes, to play I Spy and to be switched on to the journey itself. But on the other hand, we knew that we were going to be driving a long way and that letting them watch a movie might break up the day, give us grown-ups a chance to talk to each other without interruptions and might be a great way to distract the kids when the distances got too great.
Finally, we decided to get a DVD player and I’m really glad we did. The kids didn’t use it all the time, but when they did they loved it and we loved the space it gave us. After some research, we had the screens fitted into the back of the front seat headrests so they wouldn’t fl y around the car if we had an accident. And we bought the girls each a pair of headphones, didn’t have to listen to whatever they were watching.
MUSIC, PODCASTS AND TALKING BOOKS
Spend some time before you leave downloading all of your favourite music onto an iPod or memory stick. We loved rediscovering some old favourites and surprising ourselves by remembering every word. Let everyone in the family take a turn at playing DJ and learn something new from a podcast or listen to a talking book. Some of our road trip listening highlights were playing Paul Kelly’s ‘A–Z Recordings’ (it’s an eight disc set!) from start to finish while we were driving across the Nullarbor Plain, working our through most of the Roald Dahl catalogue as talking books, and listening to about ten years’ worth of the This American Life podcasts. Make sure you have chargers for everything before you set off.
As awful as it sounds, bribes do work. Children are capable of amazing things when there is a carrot dangling in front of them. Have a packet of stickers, some jelly snakes or some other little treats handy to get them across the line.
MAKE IT SOCIAL
Sometimes travelling with friends in a convoy or planning to meet them at the next stop can make all the difference to breaking up a road trip. We found that when their playmates were involved in our plans, our kids were happy kids, and happy kids are a pleasure to travel with.
Plan to arrive at your destination with enough time for your kids to have a run around and play before bed. We always felt more comfortable in a new spot if we had a chance to explore it and get the lay of the land before dark.
HAVE A FLEXIBLE ROUTINE
Little travellers will be at their best when they are well fed and well rested, so try to keep a little bit of consistency in your day to day routine even if you are moving about a lot. Having said that, you also need to be flexible, as sometimes plans have to change. It’s just a fact of life on the road with kids.
As much as there is to experience along the way, as much as you may want to inspire your kids and wish for them to get the most out of your trip, don’t overdo it. We found our gang could only concentrate fully on one museum or gallery-type activity a day before things started to unravel.
KEEP THEM HAPPY
If they’re happy, chances are that you’ll be happy, too.
BOOK NOW! for May, June and July. You may also do advanced booking for August, September and October.
Postal Address: Karumba Point Sunset Caravan Park, PO Box 61 Karumba Queensland 4891
Tel: (07) 4745 9277
Fax (07) 4745 9480