If the mere thought of a long journey with the children sends you into an instant panic, the repetition of 'Are we nearly there yet?' still echoing in your memory, or if the thought of in-car fighting and toilet demands are sending you into a spin, take a moment to grab a cuppa and read our advice on making long journeys more enjoyable for the children and for you.
Driving to the Alps: Entertaining children in the car
If you're planning to drive from the UK to the Alps it's a good idea to plan plenty of rest stops. Expert on all things French Janine Marsh, A Good Life France, recommends...
"You've got plenty of stop off points between Calais and Geneva but I really like Langres on the border with Burgundy. Its a lovely little town, very friendly, with beautiful countryside, lakes you can swim in or rent pedaloes that are close by. It's not a city like Reims and Troyes which are also popular points for stopping off but if you've got kids, Langres is better I think. The town has a rampart you can walk round, there's a fun chateau visit, the streets are small and colourful bunting hangs, it's quiet and welcoming with not much traffic."
But keeping children entertained while they're in the car? These ideas for games or activities have been collated from the team here at Peak Retreats – parents who regularly travel with their children.
1. "We play a lot of 'show and tell' games in the car. Usually 'What's outside?' or 'Can you see the...?' go down well!"
2. "Eye spy is good!"
"Yes, eye spy is always a great game for long car journeys!"
3. "Shout 'ring ring' if you see a phone box or 'knock knock' if you see a postbox. We award ten points for each one spotted, the winner is the person with the most points."
4. "I ask my children to draw me a map of the journey as we're going along. That usually helps keep them focused. The more colouring pencils I have with me, the better!"
5. "We play memory games like the classic 'When Grandma went to the supermarket she bought an apple and a banana'."
6. "My children seem to really enjoy their audio books and car karaoke sing-alongs are always fun!"
7. "We have a special notebook for the long journeys, which they use to write in all the pub names they can see."
8. "I make them a bag full of objects each (like marbles) they then have to race each other to find the object that I ask for first!"
9. "We can play the alphabet games for hours! Choose a topic (fruit, animals, etc.) and take turns to name something beginning with each letter of the alphabet."
10. "We play the neverending story. I start the story, then we take it in turns to add a sentence, building the story as we go!"
Taking the Eurostar: Entertaining children on the ski train
Daniel Elkan, Founder of Snowcarbon, a website dedicated to helping skiers travel to resorts by train from the UK, said, "It's great to see children are able to keep themselves so entertained on train journeys. You can walk up and down carriages seeing them playing games, scribbling away, ensconced in making things and gazing out at the ever-changing scenery. It’s a great time for families to engage, especially if you are all sat around table seats."
This film, with children interviewed at random on the Eurostar Ski Train, tells the story in their own words...
Flying to Geneva, Lyon, Grenoble, Chambéry Or Turin: Entertaining children on flights
Flying to the Alps can be a mini-adventure in itself, especially for young travellers. Sainsbury's say, "being prepared and keeping children occupied is bound to make the experience more enjoyable for you as well" and so they’ve created this helpful infographic:
If you're planning where to go for your winter family break, and know you want to fly, it might be worth considering ski resorts close to Geneva Airport so that the transfer time is minimal.
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