travel

"I have 2 kids under 8. Here are the everyday travel hacks I actually swear by."

Ampol Foodary
Thanks to our brand partner, Ampol Foodary

I remember when I was growing up, my parents would say that they felt like a taxi-service, and honestly, who could blame them? From a young age my sister and I both had so many activities, sports and hobbies that required us being dropped off all over town. 

My parents never really complained, but they did seem rather exhausted by it all. 

Now that I am a parent I totally get this. I seem to be constantly driving my 2-year-old and 7-year-old from place to place – the school and kindy run, soccer, swimming lessons, play dates with friends, gymnastics lessons, and playgroup for my youngest. 

Plus lots of our friends have done a sea change in the last 12 months meaning a regular 1-2 hour trip is required to see them. 

Like my parents I don’t actually mind driving, but when there’s a fair bit of whinging and whining coming from the back, I do get a touch frustrated and find myself feeling exhausted. 

Fortunately for everyone I have mastered the art of driving with kids both long and short distances, and have developed 5 every day travel hacks that mean that car time with kids is much, much more pleasant.

Image: Supplied. 

1. Work smarter, not harder.

I feel like most parents can agree that sometimes, we're not the most... organised. After all, life just gets in the way, and between rushing here, there and everywhere, it's no surprise that sometimes we just forget to refuel.

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I find that this realisation usually settles in when we're in a bit of a time crunch.

So, the fact that the new (and free!) Ampol app allows you to pay from your car is actually life-changing. 

Basically, you enter the pump number, pump the petrol into your car, and the app registers your purchase and processes it for you onto your card. 

No getting the kids in and out of the car only to get them back in again a few minutes later.

Instead, you're back on the road in a jiffy and your ETA for karate lessons has been left entirely unaffected. 

2. Never underestimate the importance of snacks. 

For our longer beach bound trips, I have what I call the ‘snack hack’. Basically, I tell my kids that as soon as they spot an Ampol Foodary, we can stop and they can each choose a snack for the trip. 

Normally their treats of choice are one of the Foodary's yummy muffins or a piece of banana bread. Sometimes, if they've been extra good, we let them grab some Jelly snakes as well.

My husband and I always get a treat too with a huge coffee to give us some pep for the rest of the journey.

Image: Supplied. 

3. Where you can, get some time back.

As much as I love going for a big shop, I find that I can actually get some time back in our (very busy) schedule by cutting down my supermarket trips. 

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Instead of running into my local grocery shop (and battling trollies and long lines), I can easily grab a bottle of milk or a loaf of bread from the Ampol Foodary when driving home from school. That way, we're all ready for the next morning. 

4. Respect the importance of a good playlist.

Sometimes I do regret this one, but it has saved us on many a tantrum-filled day of car travel. I let them both create their own playlists of music and they take turns playing their tunes in the car. 

My favourite by a mile is my younger son’s list because it required my keen musical ear (and ability to read and program) to come to fruition. 

He insisted on some Wiggles and a couple of Play School favourites, but the rest is Beyonce, Taylor, Little Mix and other such pop queens that cause all the family to dance in our seats. 

Unfortunately, my older son has developed a penchant for the Crazy Frog songs (yes, they're still around…), and some song called ‘Turtle’ which seems to just be bad electronic beats with someone saying the word ‘turtle’ every few seconds in a distorted voice… no, I'm not kidding.

5. Remember that entertainment comes in all shapes and sizes.

When we don’t have the tunes pumping or the kids need a bit of quiet time, I have found a range of excellent kid-focused podcasts that we all love to listen to. 

There’s lots of great storytelling podcasts — we love anything from Kinderling Kids Radio, and the ABC has a whole app devoted entirely to kids' music and podcasts. 

My favourite at the moment is one from the ABC called ‘Imagine This’ which answers questions like ‘how do fish breathe underwater?’ and ‘how does our heart beat’. These are questions I don’t know the answer to, but obviously, would very much like to.

I also try to reduce screen time on our car trips because my kids have had a few vomiting incidents when watching screens. 

So instead we are all about the car game and have cultivated quite the collection. 

There’s eye-spy of course, though we do an easier colour version so the 2-year-old can join in — “I spy with my little eye something that is green”. Inevitably, of course, the answer is ‘tree’.

Work smarter, not harder during your everyday travel. Download the Ampol app now to make refuelling easier, and when life is just busy and you need an extra something to keep going, grab your essentials, snacks or treats from the Ampol Foodary.

Feature Image: Supplied/Mamamia.

Ampol Foodary
When you’re on the road, it’s the stops that help us travel far and wide. Stops are what keeps us going. They fill our bellies and stretch our legs, lift heavy eyelids and make sense of maps. They cool us down and warm us up and keep us smiling ‘til we get there. At Ampol Foodary, we’ve got every stop covered. There’s truck stops, hunger-struck stops and coffee for a buck stops. There’s pie on the go, Monday’s going slow and chocolates running low stops. There’s snack stops, kickback stops and getting the day back on track stops. And there’s milk and bread, butter and eggs and stretching out the legs stops. So when you need to keep going, Ampol Foodary is worth a stop.