Surviving road trips with kids in tow

Cabin fever is real. With Level 1 of our lockdown now well underway, many families will be chomping at the bit to get back on the road, especially as the holiday season fast approaches. But after months spent cooped up indoors at home, the last thing you’re probably looking for is any additional drama en route, when all you need is relaxation and fun.

Riaz Haffejee, CEO of Sumitomo Rubber South Africa, manufacturer of the iconic Dunlop tyres (Dunlop) says as families look to reconnect after this topsy turvy year – whether it be with relatives and friends or nature – they’ll be wanting to do so safely. Dunlop’s new year-end campaign, Take the road again, together, has all the tips we’ll need to survive road trips with kids in tow:

Have a plan
While it’s true that the best parts of a road trip are usually the spontaneous moments, this year isn’t the time to wing it, especially with children along for the ride. Check-in advance that your planned holiday stops are still in operation. Map out your route. Make reservations in advance and minimise the chances of being stuck en route with crabby kids.

Be confident in your choices
Are you at ease taking the family to bustling cities and busy beaches, or would you prefer more natural and open spaces right now? Decide what works for you and your family and go with it.

Stock up on snacks
Never risk the wrath of a hangry child! Pack plenty of snacks and non-perishable food items to keep the journey relatively smooth and tantrum-free. It’ll also help you to avoid unnecessary stops on the road and limit your family’s exposure to others.

Get road trip ready
The last thing you want to deal with on a road trip with kids is car problems, especially now. Do all the important checks on your vehicle ahead of time. Make sure your car and your tyres, the only part of your vehicle to touch the road surface, are in peak condition and ready for the adventure ahead. For more on what to look out for, explore the tyre safety tips here.

Mask up
Remind your children that you’ll still have to wear your masks in public places along the road trip, just as you would when close to home. 

Cruise control or 4×4 mode needed?
Go onto Google Street View and check out the terrain you will be tackling, to ensure that you have the right vehicle – and tyres for the track ahead. Show the children and get them excited ahead of time. For older kids, ask them to find out and share interesting and fun facts about the places you will visit. Offer a prize for the first one to spot, on the trip, something that they saw or researched in advance.

Keep it clean: Make sure you have all the COVID-19 hygiene essentials with you and easily accessible – hand sanitiser, antibacterial wipes, disinfectant, disposable bags, tissues or toilet paper, and spare face masks, for kids. Don’t assume you’ll get these easily during your trip or at your destination – there’s no guarantee. Limit public restroom stops. You might even want to check in with establishments ahead of time about their COVID-19 hygiene and safety protocols. 

Game on:
Plan fun in-car activities the family can enjoy en route.  It could be anything from a few rounds of I Spy to colouring in, or for older kids something more tech-focused, but a few moments of regular fun will help to pass the time and reduce the dreaded questions of, “Are we there yet? How much looonger?”



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