We have travelled extensively around Australia on many road trips with our four kids at various ages. The secret to successful road trips with kids is to plan ahead and not go too far for the amount of time you have. Allow some time at each place to explore the town, and take into account that everything takes longer with kids! Its also great to allow a rest day in between a busy day. We generally plan one sightseeing day, followed by one quiet day. It is possible to have a fantastic time in the car driving to your next destination.
- Rest Stops
Choose rest stops with a toilet, but also with a playground, footy oval or somewhere the kids can run around and burn off energy, even if its only for 10 minutes.
Plan travel times around the kids nap times, and never stop for a break if anyone is asleep! It makes for a much more relaxing drive if you can drive over a time when you know your chlid is going to sleep for a few hours.
- Map it out
Make a map of your trip so kids can be involved and help plan the stops. School age kids love to follow a map, and keep a journal of where you are going
The crucial step to happiness in the car! Pack a variety of snacks, treats and healthy food to last the journey. We also prefer not to stop for food, instead eating in the car as this helps pass the time quickly. When the kids are older, they love a lunchbox packed for the day for them to eat when they choose to.
- First Aid
Carry a good first aid kit in the car, and also a plastic container/bucket if someone is prone to car sickness.
- Play games
A great way to pass the time is to play games. A favourite of our kids are Scavenger Hunts, where they have to find everything on the list. This can take hours to complete. Another favourite, is guessing the song on the radio.
- Printable sheets
My kids love a clipboard each and a pile of mazes, dot to dots, , colouring sheets, crosswords etc, that I print out from the internet.
If all else fails, try a DVD for an hour or so of peace!
Practice makes perfect! The more your kids get used to road trips the better they are at travel.