You’ve researched destinations, you’ve chosen Italy and you’ve booked the family trip.
Everyone is really looking forward to your holiday together, which is going to include at least one road trip adventure exploring rugged mountains, searing blue lakes and peaceful olive groves. It’s going to be totally amazing…
Okay, let’s be totally honest — there could be few challenges on that road trip. Long, hot drives can make kids bored, irritable and argumentative, and that in turn can cause grown-ups to get stressed too. So how can you make sure that you get to experience the wonders of the Italian landscape, while still retaining your parental sanity? Mainly, it’s all about advance planning.
So here are 4 tips for enjoying a successful family road trip in Italy
Tip 1: Introduce your kids to the country
Italy is a whole new country and if your children haven’t been to it before, then why not introduce them to its culture and history? For instance, there are some great family and children’s books about Italy that they could read on your road trip. These include ‘DK Eyewitness Books — Ancient Rome by Simon James‘, which has photos of the art and architecture of the empire; ‘The Roman Mysteries’ series by Caroline Lawrence, which follows the thrilling adventures of two young detectives in Rome, and, for older kids, ‘The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke‘, a young adult novel set among Venetian canals.
Tip 2: Make sure that the car is prepped
Successful road trips are well-prepared ones, so make sure that your car is stocked up with everything you need before setting out. This includes stuff like spare socks, sweaters and a blanket each for when it gets chilly, a mini first aid kit and, of course, plenty of snacks and water.
Other things that you might forget include phone chargers, neck pillows and a picnic blanket.
If you pack all of these, the words ‘I’m cold/hungry/thirsty’ need never pass anyone’s lips.
Tip 3: Don’t forget the fun stuff
But what about that dreaded bone-chilling phrase ‘I’m bored’? Well, once your car is stocked with practical stuff, it’s time to take care of the entertainment element. It goes without saying that there are endless game and puzzle apps that can be downloaded onto phones and tablets.
But if you are keen for your kids to be away from screens for a while, then good old-fashioned colouring books and car games like mini Connect 4 are also handy.
TUI also recommend games such as Hangman and Travel Scrabble — anything’s worth a try! Also, why not put together a fun family Spotify playlist, where everyone gets to add a few singalong songs that they like, plus make sure you have a list of audio books downloaded.
Tip 4: Play I-spy – Italian style
I-spy is, of course, the classic family road trip game, but why not add an Italian twist to things? For instance, by encouraging your kids to learn a few Italian landscape words and then challenging them to remember them while driving. This will not only keep their minds occupied, but it will also introduce them to a whole new language.
If you’d like to do some prep in advance of the trip, there are some great online resources for children to learn Italian in a fun way.
We hope that these four family road trip tips have been useful to you.
Exposing your children to a fascinating country like Italy is an amazing gift to them, and this way, you can all set out to explore it in a way that keeps everyone cheerful.
Marco and Felicity Tips
We (Marco and Felicity) have done many road trips in Italy our two young daughters and here are our top tips for a successful road trip in Italy.
1 – Plan your days driving to include a few stops at parks and playgrounds: these are useful for everyone to get some fresh air and get rid of some of that pent up energy.
2 – A picnic lunch in the beautiful countryside, is far less stressful than searching around a strange town or city trying to find a suitable restaurant. If you are stuck and need a restaurant, ask a local for an Osteria or Ristorante that does “Menu di Lavoro ” work menu for 10 euros you can get a two course lunch including wine.
3 – Audi books were a life saver for us: our girls loved them so much, they kept them quiet and entertained for hours.
4 – Have sweets and treats on hand, to solve tantrums and getting bored.
5- Try to keep the number of hours driving to no more than four, we found it’s better to spread a journey out into a couple of days rather than pack in 8 hrs of driving.