We have covered nearly 1600 miles in the last few weeks and I could bore on and brag about the natural beauty of Cassis, the joy of French food, quirky bed and breakfasts or white knuckle walks in the mountains but you have the internet at your finger tips for an infinite number of stopover suggestions. What is, arguably, more useful are some tips on how to survive many many hours in a car with your husband, two year old and teething six month old.
- Pack efficiently. Take less than you think you need. If you leave some room in the car you can bulk buy wine and avoid a domestic in a supermarket car park. (It's ok not many people saw me have a tantrum as I tried to wedge bottles in between the car seats and my husband tried to shove them in the bin.)
-Don't bother with a roof box, we packed last minute and had to buy a roof box to fit everything in. As a result we could not park in underground secure car parks as the car was to tall. Had I been more organised I wouldn't have needed the roof rack, nor would I have travelled the first day with a washing basket of clean washing on my lap.
-Travel wash. Travel wash Travel wash. No one wants to turn their knickers inside out.
-Have a schedule but not strict ideas. If you're flexible you can go with what you fancy each day. We didn't have a plan and just looked at places on a map each day and went where the mood took us. Granted we did a few hundred extra miles but I think there fewer arguments as we all did what we wanted rather than sticking to a plan we had made weeks earlier.
- Invest in a buggy board to fit to the back of the pram. We left ours on the side of the road by accident, another casualty of overpacking, and we really missed it. They are great for tired legs and big crowds when you want your child close by.
-Download all of the hotel booking apps you can find. We got cheap last minute deals on amazing hotels because we compared prices. A couple have loyalty schemes and reward you with free nights, we saved doing that. (We used Hotel Tonight. Hotels.com. Booking.com Tripadvisor.) For tourist information I love Lonely Planet. For pre booking Totstotravel.com is family friendly.
-Always have a car picnic. Made from breakfast buffets or bought in the supermarket. Mainly to keep Myler senior happy.
-Let your husband invest in a new camera. My husband doesn't normally have the patience for my "pottering" but his camera, aka a new gadget, bought me loads of time.
-On arriving in a new town FIND A PARK we let ours run wild for a while pre and post drive. It meant they slept in the car and we could cover some miles.
-UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES ATTEMPT TO NAVIGATE. Put the sat nav on and shut up. If you want to change the settings to avoid motorways and take in scenic routes do so BEFORE setting off.
-A lot of town centres in France have pedestrianised areas, carousels and water fountains. We started taking spare clothes in the nappy bag so our eldest could splash and run around to his hearts content. He loved it and it meant he climbed back into the car happily.
-Get a loyalty card for fuel. Ps our car is low emission so don't add a comment to make me feel guilty.
Sometimes a sulking child makes a great photo.
If you book a bed and breakfast with no car park and no lift expect the husband to be unimpressed. X
If in doubt just jump.
Haunted hotel rooms are fun with hindsight, at the time they are hugely unnerving.
If they don't want to wear pants, it's easier to just go with it.