Heading out on a road trip, but dreading how messy and disorganized your car can become in the process? These tips on how to avoid a messy car will help!
We all love road trips with the family – the singing, the sense of adventure, and making up after the squabbles! What we DON’T like is the mess that can build up in the car!
Follow these few simple tips to avoid a mess car and enjoy a stress-free journey, and (more importantly) a stress-free arrival:
Clean you car inside and out before you leave. Get the whole family to help so that they feel some involvement in the process. They might be more likely to complain about chocolate on the seats if they’ve just cleaned it off themselves!
Keep ’em busy
Road trips are a lot of fun, but there will be times when kids get bored. This can be made worse by tiredness or even travel sickness. These are the times when they start to get messy, and even the most careful child spills drinks and drops food on the floor.
Make sure you have lots of in-car games to keep your children occupied. Take pencils and paper, magnetic board games, taped stories, and a book of out-of-the-window activities like Spot the Bumper Sticker. Put some extra credit on the cell phone of your older children so they can text their friends, and let them bring their MP3 player, iPod or other music player. Splash out on a copy of their favorite band’s new album for some extra quiet time! Don’t forget to plan for your favorite road trip games!
Try to forsee as many problems as you can, and head them off before they happen. Lay a big picnic blanket over the back seats, and down onto the floor. This will catch any spillages and can be bundled up and laundered when you get to your destination, or even when you get home.
Put all your snacks into plastic containers rather than leaving them in the original packaging. Use small containers so that each child can have one of their own. This not only stops fights, but allows them to use it to catch crumbs in. Clip the lid on over left-over food and sticky packaging and deal with it later.
As it’s a holiday, consider stopping at service stations to eat instead of having sandwiches in the car. Alternatively, pack a picnic basket and stop to eat outside the vehicle.
Drinks are the one thing that everyone likes to have in the car. Make sure you buy bottles with sports caps on them, so that they don’t need to be opened fully every time someone wants a drink. Provide individual drinks for each person, so you aren’t passing around cups or beakers.
For adults, buy or borrow travel cups that are like plastic versions of take-out cups, with a lid and small hole for drinking through. Consider stopping for coffee and a comfort break instead of drinking in the car.
Make sensible choices when deciding which food to take on the journey, and see if you can use alternatives to family favorites.
Instead of egg salad sandwiches, choose ham (much less messy if they get dropped). Instead of sugary sweets that need to be eating with the fingers, choose larger, boiled sweets that get popped in the mouth and then stay there. Never take chocolate on a road trip, either in bars or on cookies choose granola bars instead. Instead of yogurt tubes for dessert, choose grapes (not bananas or anything which has bits left over).
Think about how crumbly the cakes or cookies are. Is there a less crumble alternative?
Pack Stuff Away
Allow your children (and partner!) to choose certain things to take in the main part of the vehicle with them, to play with on the journey. Pack everything else away in zippered cases and put them in the trunk. This way, you limit the amount of stuff that will be played with for ten minutes and then dropped on the floor.
If necessary, you can stop during a long journey and swap stuff around so that kids can have a new choice of toys.
Clean as you go
Have a quick clean around at each stop you make, so that the overall mess is kept to a minimum. Throw out what you can and pack away bits that have been taken out of storage.
Plan for disaster
Plan how you will deal with spillages. Take handi-wipes or baby wipes for sticky fingers (adult and child), and plastic bags for the trash that always seems to build up. Drop it in the bin when you get to the service station. Take a roll of kitchen towel, and a real towel as well you never know what might happen!
Avoid vehicle breakdowns
Make sure to get your car to your local dealership for a tune up before heading out. Being stranded on the roadside is not only stressful and costly, but can also add to the mess inside your vehicle.
Think carefully before going on a road trip. The mess in the car is a monster you can beat with these tips to avoid a messy car on your next road trip!