Just like most South Africans we love a good road trip… and the first question folks ask when we talk about road tripping is: “How on earth do you go road tripping with eight kids?” Well we have a brand new and fabulous Road Tripping Guide book to South Africa GiveAway, brought to you by MapStudio, to one of our lucky readers… stop by and leave a comment at the end of this post if you would like to enter. It is a fabulous book and the perfect roadtripping guide to South Africa.
Se7en + 1 Tips for Road Tripping with Kids.
- Travel Light: With se7en+1 kids, whatever car we use it is going to be a squash and a squeeze… we really travel light. The great thing about road traveling is that everyone you meet is new – it doesn’t matter if you wash and wear your clothes again and again as you travel. So we take the clothes we are in and a change of clothes and tend to rinse and wash clothes overnight.
- Avoid the Obvious Tourist Traps: Wherever there is a large and fancy curio stall with associated shops and play centres, stop and have a browse, but be warned you are being charged tourist prices. The truth is, wherever there is a large touristy looking centre, 200m away you will find a smaller and maybe less glamorous farm-stall at far more reasonable prices.
- Leave the Endless Snacks: I remember road tripping with friends as a small child and their mom spending the two days prior the trip preparing “pad-kos.” I usually take a batch of brownies… for desperate times and family tradition. There are always places to eat along the way. Avoid fast-food chains at major spots along the way the cost adds up really quickly. Look for spots that locals eat and if you can’t find any then head for the local super-market and grab some rolls and a block of cheese, to tide you over.
- the Journey is the Activity: We don’t take activity books or car games. Kids really can just hop in the car and go… the thing about traveling with kids is that everything is so different to the run-of-the-mill-day-in-the-life. I think folks might underestimate kids ability to just enjoy the ride. Our kids are quite keen and eager to see all that is new along the road. There is no need for live entertainment… there is so much to see… even if you are driving across the “Valley of Desolation” in the middle of the Karoo… there is an unusual beauty and plenty of windmills to count.
- Leave the Special Entertainment: My kids don’t know that people watch movies in cars – they would be horrified to hear that folk choose to miss the ever changing scenery… even if the scenery is truck after truck after truck. Not to mention, do everyone a huge favour and leave the kids music at home, only the strongest parents can stomach endless hours of “little bo peep”. Rather pick a theme, your favourite music from high school and play on… it will pick you up when the going gets tough, all the while providing your children with amazing insights into your past.
- Make Your Stops Count: Plan your trip, but not overly. Make sure you know where the great landmarks are on your trip and take the time to stop and explore. And landmarks don’t have to be national landmarks or heritage sites… I have very fond childhood memories of a kink in the road where we would pull over and a short walk would lead to a fabulous spot beside a river for a swim and a picnic. While it is good to plan often you cannot plan for the best events… a cool green tree that everybody wants to climb may well be the “memory maker” for this trip.
- Get the Rest You Need: Remember this is your holiday, step out of the “got to do everything on the list and now” mode of everyday life and stop and smell the roses. Make sure you have plenty of breaks to stretch legs and enjoy all that is different to home…
- A Guide Book: We usually take a guide book and a local wildlife book… and read it along the way as we go. It is one thing to read a guide book at home and get a feel for your adventure… and quite another when you are on the road immersed in the sites and sounds. There is a whole lot more to a guide book than where to stay and what to eat… a good guide book is packed with snippets of information, local history and tales and can really bring a place to life.
And the se7en + 1th tip:
Road Tripping South Africa, the Book.
Meet the Guidebook Road Tripping South Africa, off the beaten track detours, brought to you by Map Studio. This book has been sitting on our coffee table the last two weeks and we love it. The irony that it arrived about the time that our trusty steed and ancient kombi breathed it’s last… So while we are car-less we have been dreaming…
The book contains twenty of South Africa’s favourite road tripping regions and while their routes will get you from A to B this book is not about getting from A to B at all. This book is all about the journey, where to stop, where to rest, where to spot landmarks, where to make memories. I love that they have used a collection of authors to write about each trip… each writer bringing their own expertise to a certain route.
I noticed all the routes have been marked on our wall map… there is someone in our family that is keen on road tripping… there are regional road trips like the West Coast road trip or the Cederberg road trip and then there are historical road trips, the Great Trek road trip for instance. There are activity road trips… a Surfing Road Trip, very similar to one I took as a student in the olden days when I was young. We may pass on the “Golf Road Trip” but other than that we are pretty much packed and ready to go on any of these trips… who needs a reason, just go already.
The book is large format it has to be to accommodate grand scale maps, and soft cover, which means it doesn’t way a ton, you could toss it in your backpack and be good to go. It is jam packed with beautiful photographs and tons of useful tips and recommendations. Each of the twenty road trips comes with a large and detailed map, a list of appropriate places to stop and visit and suggestions of place to stay overnight. There are contact details for a number of local places of interest: B&B’s, nature reserves, museums, restaurants, interesting local industry and tours. There is also a section of websites – providing links to regional areas and places of special interest on the route. And a fabulous little feature to love, a list of good reads recommended for each road trip… who wouldn’t want to pack a good book for a week away. This book is a valuable resource, that the authors have managed to pack with so much information. This is not your average guide book by any means and we won’t be leaving home with out it!!!
We have a copy of Road Tripping South Africa to GiveAway. This GiveAway works in the usual way: Leave a comment, tell us a road tripping memory it can be anywhere in the world… Comment before the end of 3 March 2014, and we will draw and publish the winners after that. I won’t respond to your comments as I do on our other posts because I don’t want to be included in our own giveaway.
Our GiveAways are open to everyone: If you have won a GiveAway before never fear – enter away. If you live on the far side of the world – enter away. Postage takes forever from here but eventually it should get to you! Good luck and happy commenting.
We would like to thank MapStudio who supplied us with two copies of this book, one to review and one to GiveAway. We were not paid for the review and the opinions expressed in it are as usual, entirely our own.