‘What price will you pay for peace in the car this summer?’
I was a bit puzzled. What could they be talking about? Occasionally DJ and I argue over the choice of music to be played in the car – he enjoys death metal whereas I prefer something a bit less reminiscent of dust bin lids being smashed together. Neither of us like being talked to while we’re trying to get onto the motorway or negotiate large roundabouts either, but that’s about it.
Then, as I read on, it dawned on me that the Post Office was referring to keeping the kids quiet on long summer journeys so that parents can drive in peace. Of course – that made more sense. Friends tell me how difficult it can be to occupy the children so that they can concentrate on driving. And, according to the PO, parents could spend up to £800 this summer trying to keep their kids amused en route to their holiday destination.
The Post Office lists what it calls the “typical kids’ travel items” necessary nowadays to keep Mum and Dad from losing it and abandoning the kids at the nearest motorway service station:
Typical kids’ travel items (one child):
2 7” headrest screens and DVD player – £144.97
The Simpsons Season 12 DVD box set – £28.98
Nintendo DSi – £132.12
MarioKart DS – £22.99
Travel Hungry Hippos game – £4.39
Ipod video – £169.99
Harry Potter story CD – £34.99
Haribo Tangfastics – £1.32
Evian 750ml – £0.76
Neck pillow – £6.95
Total: £547.46 (Source = Post Office – prices quoted from Amazon and Tesco)
For a two child family, the Post Office works the cost out as £781.59 (two times everything apart from the Travel Hungry Hippos game and Simpson’s DVD). It warns parents not to leave car windows open and items lying around as an invitation to thieves, and to ensure they are properly insured.
Am I missing something? Since when did all these expensive electronic items constitute ‘typical kids travel items’? Don’t get me wrong. I recognise that technology can be a wonderful thing. One of my friends swears by his in-car DVD system, which he says keeps his kids occupied and allows him to drive in peace and safety. Fair enough. It wouldn’t have worked for me when I was a kid because I get car sick if I read or watch TV as I travel. I have to stare straight ahead out of the window.
But what happened to a bag of sweets and a game of I-Spy to keep the kids amused? And what’s wrong with a bottle of old fashioned tap water? Surely just one of these entertainment items is more than enough to keep the children amused?
Will you be splashing out on in-car entertainment this summer? Is it money well spent? Got any frugal tips for keeping the kids quiet as you travel? I’d love to hear about them. Leave a message and let me know.
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