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Simple tips for road trips with kids

8 Mar 2021

The classic family road trip is an Australian rite of passage. 

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Packing up the car and hitting the open road to adventure is what family memories are made of, so it’s important to set yourself up for success.

Don’t turn your Aussie dream into a nightmare. Read our simple tips on how to get the most of taking your family on the road!

Road trips with kids australia tips for parents sedan

Plan your journey

Of course you need to know where you’re going, but go further than that by planning your rest stops, especially when it comes to the kids.

Road trips with kids australia tips for parents picnic

Plot a course that gives them a chance to explore. Look for parks with playgrounds, ovals or key attractions such as museums or Australia’s list of famous “big things.”

The giant Koala between Stawell and Horsham is a great stopover, or what about the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour!

Short and sweet is the answer

It’s not a good idea to pack too many hours behind the wheel. 

Road trips with kids australia tips for parents siblings

You might be ok to drive for 10 hours a day, but we can guarantee your kids won’t be. Make your trips shorter, whether that means adding another overnight stopover or simply not driving as far. 

Quality over quantity every time!

Schedule regular stops and be prepared

Pack a picnic, pull out an esky and relax at as many rest stops as possible.

Road trips with kids australia tips for parents backseat

While it may be tempting to power through and keep going it’s so important for everyone to get some time out of the car. Grab a footy or a soccer ball and have a kick to burn off energy while your passengers get some fresh air and you get a rest from staring at the road!

Pack healthy snacks

It might seem easier to grab snacks at any number of convenience stops along the way, but the last thing you need is children that are either a) upset that you haven’t bought them the mountains of sugar-filled lollies on offer, or b) bouncing off the walls because you have!

Road trips with kids australia tips for parents snacks

Steer them toward some healthy snacks and avoid the inevitable sugar crash. Taking the time to organise healthy snack options will pay dividends on your kids mood throughout your trip - not to mention your wallets!

Load up the glovebox

Treat your car's glove box and centre console like a tool box on any road trip. 

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Invest the time to stock it with the things you’ll need at any moment like wet wipes, hand sanitiser, band aids, rubbish bags and sunscreen. You might also consider a few "behaviour modifiers" like sugar-free chocolate or some gold star stickers.

Use your GPS

Most modern cars today will allow you to plug into Google maps or a similar tool and give you an estimated time. 

Road trips with kids australia tips for parents gps

Not only will this give you the confidence of knowing you’re going the right way, you’ll be able to answer that often asked child’s inquiry "are we there yet?” with a greater degree of accuracy, or better yet, allow them to check the progress themselves.

Bring the Entertainment

We aren’t ones to encourage the use of screens, but just like getting on a plane, there’s nothing wrong with putting on a movie or favourite TV show to distract unsettled children.

Road trips with kids australia tips for parents device

This should buy a couple of hours of peace but after that, be prepared with activities like board games kids can play, puzzles, colouring-in or sticker books. Once that fails, don’t be afraid to roll out the classics like eye-spy, ‘I went to the shops’ and any number of word games!

Be your own DJ

Road trips are a great way to take a break from the Disney tunes and introduce the kids to some of your favourites. 

Road trips with kids australia tips for parents kids backseat

Put together a playlist which combines a few of your favourite songs from your youth, with some modern tunes that the kids will know. You’ll either open up a whole new world of music to their young ears, or you might just put them to sleep!

Don’t be afraid of a gadget

Whether it’s a DVD player, iPad or handheld game, electronic devices can turn your trip from chaotic, to peace and quiet in seconds.

Road trips with kids australia tips for parents games

It’s also worth investing in headphones for each child so that you don’t have multiple kids' movies competing with each other and you don’t have to listen to whatever they’re watching!

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