It’s June already and hasn’t time flown since we all heard that a Royal baby is on the way? William and Kate’s new arrival is expected next month so our thoughts have been turning to choosing new cars for young families. We wonder if they’ll consider a funky Fiat 500L or a sleek and practical Ford Focus Estate Edge?
We caught up with our friend Emma Button, who is Editor of blog, Parentwheels.co.uk. She knows a thing or two about cars and travelling with children so we asked her for her top tips on choosing the best family cars.
Emma, how did you come to create a blog about family cars and motoring?
I already wrote a blog, mellowmummy.co.uk, and Parentwheels was dreamt up while I was at a big blogging event at Butlins. There were a number of blogging mums and dads there who all had an interest in cars but I noticed that the features that all the parents were raving about in their cars were all parent-friendly features rather than torque or horsepower!
I felt that ParentWheels would be a great place for people to share their family-friendly motoring tips and experiences with other new parents.
From your experience and that of your readers, what do you think is the most important consideration when choosing family cars?
Can I fit my buggy in the car?
For lots of new parents it never even crosses their mind when they buy either a new car or a new pram whether their pushchair will actually fit in the boot of the car – for many parents, these are the two most expensive things they will ever purchase other than a house! I’ve seen people in car parks having to use a screwdriver to remove the wheels from a buggy just to fold it small enough to fit in the boot. If you are looking at buying a new or second-hand car, don’t be afraid to take your pushchair with you and ask to try and fit it in the boot before you commit to buy.
When going on a long journey in the car with the kids, what is the one item that you wouldn’t leave home without?
Having travelled 2200 miles with a baby and a potty training toddler last summer, I would say that an emergency nappy/vomit/toilet kit was probably the most important thing to pack. Urgh.
What are your three top tips for travelling with children this summer?
Plan your route – Make sure you know exactly where you are going and how long it will take; on a long journey, an unplanned detour is always unwelcome. Before you travel, plan how frequently you think you will want to take a break and check your route for suitable comfort stops and, if you need them, overnight breaks. We use Google Maps to plot the distance and travelling time between our stop-offs as it is very easy to add in post codes and to drag and drop your proposed route to take in extra sights.
Take frequent stops – Frequent, long stops are an opportunity for your children to get out of the car and run off some energy. Last summer we allowed for a 15 minute break for toilet stops and at least an hour for mealtimes. At every stop we tried to ensure that we got some fresh air and a short stroll. We also took a travel potty with us in case we were unable to find somewhere appropriate to stop!
Make the most of your luggage space –. Choose wisely what you want to take with you because boot space is at a premium. If you are taking a pushchair or travel cot make sure to choose compact lightweight alternatives to save space. If you are travelling to a resort or hotel, consider ordering baby and toddler products to be delivered to your destination in advance in order to save valuable luggage room.