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    Top tips for driving on family holidays

    Whether or not you're planning something of a road trip, a car can be a godsend during family holidays. So, it's well worth considering hiring a car for the duration of your break, especially if you're keen to have total of freedom when it comes to where you go and when you go there.But hiring a car isn't the only piece of the puzzle. After all, it's common knowledge that young children quickly tire of long journeys, while the prospect of driving overseas can make some motorists anxious. So, just how do you make sure that having your own wheels abroad is as big an advantage as it can be? We have compiled a list of top tips to help make sure your family holiday on the road is a real success.

    Familiarise yourself with the rules of the road

    Before you consider details like how to keep the kids happy while you're in the car, you need to focus on the fundamentals. Whenever you plan to drive overseas, it's really important that you do plenty of research into the rules of the road in the place you're visiting.Crucial differences, such as driving on the right hand side of the road rather than the left, are hard to miss, but it's also worth looking up things like road etiquette (flashing your headlights, for example, can mean very different things in different countries!), parking laws, and what you're legally required to carry in the car.

    Hire an appropriate car

    The next thing on your list should be to make sure you hire an appropriate car. Things to consider of course include the size of your family, but also how much luggage you'll be carrying and what you'll be using it for. Will you be undertaking a proper road trip, for example, driving for the bulk of your holiday, or will you simply be making short trips to theme parks and other attractions? If in doubt, your car hire company should be able to offer plenty of advice on what would suit you best.

    Plan your route - and an alternative

    Next, you should plan your route - or routes, as the case may be. The first thing to do is simply find the best way to get from A to B, and then to select an alternative route as well. This way, you're covered if there are problems on your first itinerary.Once you've done this, you can start thinking about rest stops. As well as looking for things like service stations, it is worth keeping your eyes peeled for small attractions en route that the kids might like - especially on longer journeys. A great way to break up sizeable stints in the car, attractions like this give kids the chance to stretch their legs and burn off some energy, not to mention making the trip feel much more pleasant overall.

    Share the driving

    As well as taking regular rest stops, it's a good idea for parents to share the driving if possible. Doing so can help to reduce tiredness and simply make the journey more pleasant for you both. If one of you is more confident driving on foreign roads than the other, you can always arrange for one person to do the bulk of the driving, or to tackle the trickier parts of the route - another reason to plan ahead!

    Pack plenty of entertainment

    As you would expect, it is also sensible to pack plenty of entertainment for the children - though remember not to go overboard. After all, carrying so much that they have no wiggle room in the back seat isn't likely to make for happy travellers! Tablet computers and kindles take up very little room and offer a really wide range of things for kids to do, so these can be a lifesaver. Just remember to pack several sets of headphones if you're planning on bringing more than one tablet so that the kids can watch or play different things, otherwise you're in for a very noisy car!Alternatively, you could pack things like books and puzzle books, or play some good old fashioned car games like I Spy. Another thing the whole family can enjoy is a family-friendly audiobook.

    Get the kids involved in navigation

    It's also worth considering getting the kids involved in the navigation, as if they're a bit more engaged in the drive itself, they might be slower to tire of it. While you might not actually want them to direct you (you may find yourself at the nearest sweet shop if they do!), it can be fun to help them follow your journey, such as by printing them a route map and asking them to cross off the towns you pass.

    Always carry printed maps

    And speaking of printed maps, they're not just for the children to play with. While it's always tempting to rely on satnavs, these can go wrong, so make sure you carry paper maps with you at all times. You might not need them, but it's always better to be safe than sorry!

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