With school holidays just around the corner, one of our local mums shares her tips on what to consider when planning a road trip with kids. It can be quite overwhelming thinking about how to keep your kids entertained for long periods of time in a small space. Hopefully, we can help make your next road trip less stressful and even a bit of fun!
This is probably the most important thing to consider as it determines everything else you need for your journey. Firstly, work out how long it’s going to take you to reach your destination. Then you need to add in toilet and rest breaks, as well as when is the best time to leave to avoid any traffic delays where possible.
It’s also a good idea to let someone know when we’re leaving and when you’re planning to arrive. Once you’ve worked out how long your journey will take and what time you’re leaving, then you can work your way through the below points.
If you’re planning to leave first thing in the morning before the traffic, let the kids wear their pyjamas in the car. At the first pit stop, they can get changed if they want to. Pack their clothes in the side of their door along with their shoes. For younger kids, make sure you have a change of clothes for the journey in case there are any spillages or accidents. Make sure whatever clothes you wear in the car are comfortable!
3. First Aid Kit & Essentials
Always have band aids, wipes and antiseptic cream handy! Other things to pack with you in the car during a road trip are:
- Hand Sanitiser
- Nappy bag if travelling with babies
- Bag for your little one if they suffer from motion sickness
- Pain reliever for any sudden pains or accidents
- Thermometer – this digital forehead thermometer is handy for quick temp checks on the go
Pack a cool bag of fruit, preferably things that don’t need to be cut up during the journey, or pre-cut the fruit before you leave. Also pack a bag of dry pantry food such as nuts, muesli bars, chips, biscuits and pretzels. The only form of yoghurt that would be safe to take in the car are the squeezy pouches. They are easy to open and not too messy. Try to avoid lollies or too much sugar as you don’t want the kids bouncing around the car!
Other items to make life a little easier are:
- A rubbish bag
- Travel bowls for the little ones to keep snacks all together and to catch crumbs
- Milk and bottles for younger kids
Make sure everyone has a full bottle of water within easy reach! Ensure that snack bags are easily accessible to yourself or your kids to limit the amount of food stops you’ll need to take.
The length of your journey will determine what you need to pack in terms of keeping everyone occupied. Some ideas for car activities include:
- Favourite Toys – Encourage imaginative play by creating stories or road trips for their toys to feature in
- Play games such as I spy, Rainbow cars or spot the kangaroo/cows/sheep
- Colouring books and pencil crayons – Provide pencils, paper and colouring books for each child.
- Books – lots of books! However, this isn’t ideal for anyone who gets car sick.
- Tablets with their own headphones! Having their own headphones makes life that little bit (OK, a lot) more comfortable for everyone!
- Audiobooks – These are great for when they’ve had too much screen time and they just need to tune out. Or for those who get car sick reading a book. Audible are offering a free trial – they have a fantastic range of audiobooks and podcasts for the whole family to enjoy.
- Music – There will be some areas during your journey where the radio signal is low so make sure you have your phone charged or some CDs handy to listen to.
6. Rest Breaks
And last but by no means least, always try to work out in advance when you’re going to stop for toilet breaks. Obviously, these stops will be more frequent with younger kids. Try to schedule in time for everyone to stretch their legs and move around a little – kids really need this and it’s important to give them space away from the car, especially on long journeys. Always try to stop somewhere with a play area or grass if possible – let them run off some energy. Remember to pack a potty for younger kids too!
You might have your own things to add to this list, but I hope it helps make your planning a little easier. Happy travels!
Do you have any other tips for a stress-free road trip with kids? Let us know in the comments or join the conversation in our Facebook group. For some advice about getting your car seat professionally checked before your road trip, head to our blog.