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ROAD TRIP PLANNING TIPS!

Four sleeps to go!

Does anyone else find the official countdown to a family holiday just as exciting as the holiday itself?! We certainly do! As we get ready to embark on a 3000km round trip from Queensland down to Jindabyne in New South Wales, the excitement levels are at an all-time high and the echoes of ‘how many more sleeps to go?’ are getting louder and louder.

We’re gearing up to set off bright and early on Monday morning where we’ll depart the Gold Coast, head down the coastline and eventually into Jindabyne, where we’ll base ourselves for a week long snow trip – gearing up to tackle the slopes of Perisher, so our kids can see and play in the snow for the very first time!

An Aussie road trip has become a bit of a rite of passage for young families and with three kids within nineteen  months of age (six year old twins and a seven year old), I love to set ourselves up for success!

From food, to games, stop overs to sneaky workouts (so mummy and daddy can keep their sanity), here are a few of our road trip planning tips!

*Get the car sorted!

We love to ensure everyone is comfortable, has enough foot room and the bags are packed away with plenty of space left (super easy in our new Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, but more on that later!) – so we always pack the car the day before and get it ready for long trips including the maintenance of the cars and the use of radi8 wheels to make sure the car is ready for long trips . Water bottles, phone chargers, games, scooters, tissues, rubbish bags, gold stars (yes, incentives still work in the car with kids!) first aid kit – the list goes in! The twins are still in car seats, and 10 hour long stints are a long time in a booster – so my little seat *hack* is to pop a mini sheepskin on top of their seats for extra comfort. We always pack the car day before – no exceptions!

*A fed family is a happy family!

In addition to ‘are we there yet’, I’m gearing up for the ‘I’m the hungry’ cues! Snacks are one of my favourite things to prepare and we take a mini esky to store them in! I love to nourish the family with as many clean, wholefoods as I can – particularly when we’re on the road together. The last thing we want with a long driving stint,are refined sugar highs! Healthy snacks are a must!

Some of our favourite snacks are hazelnut bliss balls, sunshine ginger cookies (great for relieving car sickness too!), wholefood sesame balls, banana muffins, wholemeal wraps and fruit! Check out some recipes below for some inspo!

*Game on!

Growing up as a kid, some of my fondest memories are just being with my family on the road, laughing, playing games, singing and playing eye spy! In this day and age, I truly believe one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is love, but also connection, presence and fun! So we’ll be rotating eye spy with ‘spotto’ (first one to see a green car / a wind mill etc!) and 20 questions – about our great Australian backdrop!

*Schedule and plan your stops

We always map out our trips and schedule stops in advance. Not only is this safer for us, but while rotating drivers and ensuring we’re always fresh and energised on the road, it let’s the kids blow off some steam! The kids scooters are quite compact these days, so we always pack them under our car seats! We stop every four hours or so the kids can have a scoot, kick the soccer ball and enjoy a snack and break. We don’t “rush” these stops. We set aside 30 mins so everyone can get some fresh air, enjoy a bit of time out (and yes, mummy and daddy can sneak in a quick 10 minute workout so  we can also refuel and replenish! See my favourite park workout below!)

*Utilise your GPS

Instead of being asked “are we there yet” 986 times, check in with the GPS every few hours so the whole family can hear the trip update! It’s also great to check in with Siri every so often and ask about fun facts in the area you’re driving through!

*Audio books

Prior to the trip, we download a couple of kids audio books for the family to listen to. With three kids so close in age, their tastes are fairly similar and we can choose an age appropriate book to suit all three! When the kids fall asleep, we often switch it over to our favourite podcasts.

*Singing competitions

We have solo competitions, duo’s and the ‘girls versus the boys’ in our singing competitions and let’s just say, they can get fiercely competitive and the time flies by! We download road trip playlists and include a mix of the kids favourite tunes, golden oldies (the Sound of Music never gets old on a road trip), family rock n roll and then some quieter, more relaxing tunes to finish off (and encourage *rest* time).

*Old school gadgets (as a last resort)

My husband and I both hassled our parents for some of our old school games and they came up with the goods! A digital connect four, Uno and Tetris are winners and we love seeing our kids playing some of our favourite games on the battery operated consoles!

Family holiday diary

On the evening before our trip – that *final sleep* before the family holiday, we give each of our kids a special diary and pen. Every day, they have to take 10 minutes of quiet time to write in it about what they did that day. They’re welcome to do that in the car and on one of our rest stops too!

ROAD TRIP RECIPES!

The recipe is really quick to whip up, and there are no hidden nasties. Simply store in an air tight container for your road trip!

Ginger sunshine cookies – makes 18 small cookies.

Ingredients:

_ 1 cup blanched almond meal

_ ¼ cup desiccated coconut

_ ¼ cup raw honey

_ 2 tbsp melted organic butter, macadamia oil or coconut oil

_ zest 1 lemon

_ 1 generous tsp real vanilla bean paste or extract

– 1 tsp ground ginger

Method:

1. Melt honey and butter together. 2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. 3. Roll dough into small balls and place on a tray lined with non-stick paper. Press down gently with fingertips.2

2. Alternatively roll the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper and use your favourite cookie cutters.

3. Bake at 170°C for 10-15 minutes, taking care not to burn.

Hazelnut Bliss Balls

 Makes 10-12 balls

 Ingredients:

  • 3 cups hazelnuts (450g)
  • 1.5 cups pitted dates
  • Dash organic vanilla essence
  • 3-4 tablespoons raw cacao, to taste
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1-2 cups extra coconut for rolling

Method:

  1. Add all ingredients to processor and blitz until combined.
  2. Roll into small balls, coat in extra coconut.

 Tips:

  • You can omit the coconut oil for a softer ball.
  • For an extra hit of chocolate, you can also include a piece of dark chocolate in the centre of the ball. Simply place this in when you are rolling the balls.

StayStrongMummy & Daddy road trip workout!

This great little workout can be done anywhere, any time while the kids have a kick with the soccer ball around you! This session is featured in the StayStrongMummy Fitness Plan book, but shortened to suit a road trip stop over! (Remember, the BOOT of your car makes a perfect workout bench!)

WORKOUT

*20 seconds work, 10 secs rest. 20 secs break between rounds! Download the Tabata Timer on your phone for a self timer and blast some fun music through your car’s audio system!

3 x rounds

*Alternate jump lunge

*Push ups

*Jump squat

*Dips (use the boot of your car for a bench!)

*Mountain Climbers

I’ll be sharing all about our 3000km round road trip with you over the next week! Some jump over to my IG page @StayStrongMummy – I’ll be giving you a sneak peek at our favourite stop offs and locations along the way!

*I have been proud partner of Mitsubishi Motors Australia (Outlander) for four years. Our latest set of wheels can be viewed here: https://www.mitsubishi-motors.com.au/vehicles/outlander-phev