From making lasting memories with your family to exploring new surroundings, a family road trip provides the perfect chance to reconnect and spend quality time with one another. There are many positives to packing up and hitting the road with your brood, with the flexibility in timing being one standout. You can be out the door and in the car whenever you want, make stops along the way and really enjoy the moment, without the feeling of being rushed.
With that being said, travelling with kids and being in the car for long periods at a time can often come with quite a bit of planning and forethought as to how to ensure everyone is happy on the road. Endless toilet stops, road trip songs and keeping your kids occupied (without straining your neck to look into the backseat) are all just a part of the journey. Read on for our favourite tips to keep the journey a calm and exciting one for the ultimate, fuss-free family road trip with the kids.
Plan ahead (with your kids in mind)
Knowing your travel route and where there’s accessible stops along the way can make the world of difference for weary, restless family members. Ensure to factor in regular rest breaks where you can stretch your legs, the kids can run around, and everyone can enjoy a bite to eat and have time for a toilet break. Sufficient stops and rest breaks not only ensure you get from point A to B smoothly, they also provide the chance to explore your surroundings.
Why not involve your kids in the planning too? An easy way to accommodate this is to pick out some places along the way (think beaches, parks, playgrounds, eateries and activities) that may be of interest and let them choose a few to include in the plan. Being included in the planning process means they get a say in part of the holiday too and will be excited to see their idea come to life.
Why not keep things flexible so if you do drive past something worth stopping off at, it won’t cause disruption to the rest of the trip. After all, the beauty of being in the car is the freedom of taking each moment as it comes.
Being in the car or on the road doesn’t mean usual routines have to be disrupted either. If your kids are younger and have naps it can be useful to plan your driving times around these, by heading off in the car right before their usual nap time and planning a rest break when they wake up. This will help limit feelings of fatigue and restlessness outside of the car so you can really maximise each stop.
If your kids are on the older side, excess energy and excitement can really build up in anticipation of each day’s adventure. It can be a good idea to burn off this energy with multiple rest stops early on, which helps create more calm in the car. If you’re driving into the night you can stick with usual routines too, with pyjamas and an audio book or sound healing being the perfect way for your kids to unwind.
Organise, organise, organise
To save you stretching into the back seat, pack a bag for each of your kids with their favourite toys and games so they can easily access these when they want. Having another bag packed with travel essentials such as sunscreen, sanitiser, wipes and first aid equipment also ensures you’re ready for anything that comes your way.
Preparing snacks ahead of time and storing these in containers or lunch boxes with compartments not only keeps them fresh for longer, it also means you can access them with ease and little to no mess. Dry foods such as rice crackers, muesli bars, fruit and nuts are always great items due to their long shelf life, alongside chopped fruit and vegetables. Apricot Delight Snack Balls and pikelets are deliciously easy snack staples to have on hand, while frittata and rice paper rolls make for simple lunches along the way.
Entertain the masses
To help pass time by in the car, pre-planning games and activities will help keep the kids occupied. In everyone’s bags you could include colouring in materials, travel friendly board games (the magnetic kind are perfect), playcards, activity books, toys and electronic devices.
To avoid any disruptions and keep everyone happy, it can be a good idea to duplicate the same activities so everyone can play whenever they want and not have to worry about sharing the toys around. The usual eye spy, memory recall and progressive storytelling games are also great hits with kids of all ages to pass the time.
Contribute to making memories
Going on a holiday is a real chance to make memories that will live on for years to come. Make the most of this special time by encouraging each child to create their own travel journal where they can write, draw and paste in memorabilia from their holiday.
You may also like to buy them something special for the trip or, even better, something from your time on the road. Whatever it is, they’ll always remember the road trip and the memories made with it from their special purchase.
Make time for yourself too
After a busy day of fun and excitement with your kids (plus time spent driving), it’s nice to be able to unwind while the kids are asleep and before you switch off for the night. You might like to prepare yourself for the next day ahead and instil some calm by listening to a meditation or reading a book, pouring yourself a cup of tea or washing away the day’s activities with your skincare routine.
Whatever it is that helps you to feel refreshed, it’s an opportune time to enjoy the moment of quiet before setting off on the road again.