A family holiday to Cornwall is surely the highlight of the year, isn’t it? Pretty seaside villages, sandy beaches and endless Cornish pasties appeal to both the kids and grownups, and the thought of higgledy-piggledy coastal cottages and squalling seagulls is as nostalgic as it gets.
But, it’s not all plain sailing. The drive to Cornwall is often the only part of the holiday we don’t look forward to – yet it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are five tips for surviving the drive with kids in tow…
- Explain where you’re going
Begin by showing your kids where Cornwall is on the map in relation to where you live, explaining how long it will take to get there. Children (especially young children) might need some context for this such as “it will take nearly 3 whole films on the iPad to get to Cornwall” if you don’t want to hear “are we nearly there yet?” for the whole journey.
Also, show your kids your accommodation before you set off. This will help to build excitement and allow them to picture to where they’re travelling to. If you’ve booked a beautiful Cornish holiday cottage via somewhere like classic.co.uk, you’ll be able to swipe through photographs with your children, showing them which room will be theirs and what the rest of the cottage looks like.
- Consider travelling overnight
Next, find out what your check-in time is at your accommodation (or see if you can pay a small fee to check in early), as driving overnight could make your journey considerably easier on all involved.
Tuck the kids into the back with their seatbelts properly fastened, adding pillows, duvets and cuddly toys to keep them cosy during the drive. Let them wear their pyjamas (in fact, actively encourage it if you want them to fall back to sleep for a few hours once they’re in the car) – this is often the best bit of the journey for children as it’s such a novelty, and it’s certainly something many of us recall from our childhoods.
- Load the car with accessible snacks and drinks
If your journey to Cornwall is anything longer than a couple of hours, you’ll probably want to bring sandwiches (labelled with your children’s names to cater for their inevitable preferences), fruit juices and snacks. Of course you could stop in a service station, but having food and drink on hand is a good way to occupy little ones if they’re showing signs of boredom, hunger or irritability, and you’ll save lots of money this way too.
- Separate squabbling siblings (if possible)
Unless your children are among those special few who never seem to argue, you’d be wise to anticipate a falling out or two during the drive to Cornwall. If you have a large car, you may be able to position your children further apart from one another, but if not, perhaps consider sandwiching a peace-keeping sibling in the middle. This article is full of good ideas to stop siblings fighting in the car if you’re open to suggestions.
- Use a reliable Maps app and plan your pit-stops
Finally, plan your route before you go. Gone are the days of sitting at the table with an AA road map, but it’s still a good idea to have know which direction you’re heading in, along with any major roads or cities you might choose to de-tour to if traffic conditions on your original route are poor. Use your Maps app or similar, and check out the availability of service stations along the way: the kids will invariably need to stop for plenty of toilet breaks, and it’s a good idea for everyone to get a leg stretch at regular intervals too.