How to make a long trip less weary

By Liz Dobson

Readers come up with solutions for big journeys, writes Liz Dobson

Playing driving games with kids is a great way to pass the time. Photo / Getty Images
Playing driving games with kids is a great way to pass the time. Photo / Getty Images

You can keep the children entertained for only so long so schedule in stops at a playground. As the start of the new school year looms and more people are back at work the summer break may seem like a distant memory - though the drive home from the holiday may still feel raw.

Hopefully, though, you followed Driven's advice ('Alert drivers get there safely', December 15), and had a safe road trip.

We also asked for your best tip for surviving a long trip, and the winner of a TomTom Live 820 GPS unit was Shoel Palli from Auckland with:

My best driving tip for long trips is to always schedule stops and stick to those. Even if you feel you can drive on, stop and take a break. It will take you longer, but you won't be as irritable or tired.

There were variations on that theme, including:

*Wear your most comfortable shoes and clothes, and plan your stop and stretch locations.

Linda King.

*Plan breaks by looking ahead for something special to visit quickly in towns you would normally drive through. Brian Okeefe.

*Prepare before you go with plenty of snacks, good music, drinks, change of clothes for children, wet wipes and know where there are public toilets and playgrounds to stop at. If we can't find a playground a school is a good place to stop for a play. Rachel Griffiths.

*Take along supplies of the usual snacks and drinks, but also include the cricket set or football. Stop every now and then at a park and have a 10-minute game of footy or cricket, and then a snack and drink. Rose and Terry Hamilton.

Here are the best of the rest:

*Stick a photo of your family on the dash - stops you doing dumb stuff. Jeff Sole.

*Headlights at night make me very sleepy, so instead of leaving on a Friday night after work, I leave the next morning refreshed and normally with less traffic. Jon Blewett.

*Get a good night's sleep beforehand. Stuart WJ Brown.

*Stay awake. It's getting late, it's been a long day, your passengers are asleep, there's no cars on the road ... before you know it, you've taken a detour to snoozeville. Some good strategies to stay awake are 1. Chew gum (especially minty or spicy). 2. Rub ice on your face. 3. Work on some sunflower seeds. 4. Sing to some music. 5. Have a buddy stay awake with you to talk. 6. Get a nice, cold drink to shock the system. Nebojsa Joveljic.

*If I have passengers I like to rotate their seating as they need a bit of respite, too. Gina Lawrence.

*Drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated, this will also make sure you have regular stops. Kirsty McKenzie.

*An audio book CD is great for all ages as everyone can listen while still enjoying the passing scenery. Some people get car sick reading books when their heads are down and it means the driver also gets to enjoy the "book" - great for kids and adults. Maureen Lindsay.

*If you have a young child, try to plan your trip to coincide with their daytime sleeps, so you will have at least some of the trip in peace and quiet. Roger Bell.

*Carry pillows so if the back seat passengers (my kids) want to doze off they can place a pillow between their head and the door jam and nod off in comfort. Sharlene O'Donnell.

*If you're travelling with kids (or even adults) who are prone to motion sickness, get them to take one or two ginger tablets/capsules at least 30 minutes before departure. This goes a long way in preventing them from being sick. Avoiding any windy back roads also helps. Grant Nixon.

The funniest replies were:

*Tip for driving long distance with children. Leave early, stop often and learn how to meditate. Alternatively, put them in the car with Dad and then catch a plane yourself to your destination. Caroline Edge.

*For little kids: attach a dummy webcam in front of each seat and say "Santa is watching". Andrew Cox.

- NZ Herald

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