Here are some tips for a smooth drive home this Chinese New Year.
As the Chinese New Year festivities dawn upon us, families who plan on visiting friends and family in other states or faraway towns will definitely be planning a road trip with their entire troop. And while some families look forward to the long hours on the road, some (especially those with younger kids) dread these journeys.
It’s hard sometimes for young children to stay cooped up in the car for hours. So, it’s only expected that they tend to get cranky. Some also get car sick. To keep these trips as stress-free and as fun as possible for everyone in the vehicle, here are some tips.
- Prepare a travel goody bag
Pack a bag with fun-filled activities for your little ones, with i tems such as colouring books, stickers, magic markers, simple crafts and so on can keep the kiddies entertained for several hours. Before you know it, your child will tire themselves out with these activities and probably snooze throughout the rest of the journey.
- Play fun but safe games
Playing “I spy” is probably one of the most popular road trip games out there. But, why not spice it up a little by offering the kids a pair of toy binoculars to make the game more fun? This game has proved to be fun and educational for the entire family. “Spy” on items like car numbers and colours, or state and town names. Or learn the different types of flora and fauna throughout your trip.
For those who don’t know how the game goes, here’s an example; the first person to take their turn on the game will say, “I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with the letter K.” Then, everyone playing the game will try to guess what that item is. It could be a Kingfisher that just flew past your vehicle or a picture of a kitten seen on a book. Whoever who gets the correct answer, will take their turn next and repeat the initial question but with a different letter.
- Fun with maps, state capitals and more
If you are travelling with older kids, hand them a map and let them mark the areas you have covered throughout your journey. Prepare a quiz on the towns you will be passing through. If you are travelling with smartphones and tablets, log onto the Internet and find out what the specialities are in each state you drive through.
Make use of the cameras in smartphones and tablets, and get your kids to take pictures of sceneries outside the car. Ensure that your windows are up for safety reasons. You can set a theme for these pictures, such as “Only take pictures of blue cars on the road,” or “Only take pictures of trees with brown leaves,” and so on. These pictures can later be saved as a fond-family-road-trip-memory and compiled into an album or a folder on the computer.
- Plan your pit stops
If you’re going to be travelling for many hours, ensure you plan some fun pit stops. If you’re travelling along the highway, plan ahead and check out where the fun Rest and Recreation (R&R) stops are at. Some have play areas for the kids to unwind at; some have everyone’s favourite eateries such as fast food and ice cream parlours.
If you want to be a little more adventurous take the ‘scenic-route’ and use the costal roads. Some of the smaller towns throughout our country have very interesting eateries that are significant to the local town folk. For example, Tanjung Malim in Perak is famous for their massive pao buns filled with various fillings (kaya, red bean etc).
Most importantly, drive safe and arrive safely at your destinations.
Have fun balik kampung, and Happy Chinese New Year!