There are just so many things that can go wrong on a trip, even without factoring little ones into the equation. From spills on clothes, to hungry kids or a lack of entertainment in the car, you’re going to want to be prepared with all the right things to ensure your trip isn’t just one complaint after the next. But, never fear! Here are some tips and tricks to make your next road trip with the family a phenomenal success:
A Few Toys Never Go Amiss
If you have long stretches of driving ahead of you, some playthings are definitely in order! Some examples could include a magnadoodle, your kid’s favourite colouring book, or their favourite soft toys!
Although you probably don’t want them glued to screens, desperate times call for desperate measures, and whipping the ipad out may be just what you need for a little peace and quiet in the backseat. If you have small and easily portable games like magnetic board games or cards, and your kids are slightly older, they can amuse themselves by playing together, for those long drives in between stunning views! No matter where you’re going, having some kids play equipment on hand is always a good idea.
Have All The Right Things With You
Alana Tagliabue is an extensive traveller, and has gone with her family to a number of destinations, including Fiji, Indonesia and Malaysia, Maldives and Sri Lanka. She has three young boys aged eight, three and one. Alana chronicles this journey at the family travel blog: Family Bites Travel. Here is her advice on what you should have with you when travelling around with the family:
“1. Do not overpack but do take items you deem essential. Make a list of these essential items that might not be available at your destination, or are not to the same standard (baby food, formula, medications for example). In Asia, there are very limited baby food options. I always ensure we have a ‘food bag’ that will include some food for the kids, plus some plastic bowls and cups. You’d be surprised how many places do not have child-friendly items. Give a toddler a glass cup and try to enjoy dinner!
2. Pack ‘child safety’ items. Removable locks, door handle covers, blind cord covers etc. So that when you arrive you can quickly make the area safer. They are lightweight and make your trip so much more relaxing!
3. If you have to travel, with a carseat, buy a bag and utilize its capacity. Airlines won’t look inside. So, pack it with nappies or anything that is bulky like coats. It also protects the car seat. You can do the same with a stroller.
4. Similarly, I always take a travel cot. They’re so lightweight now, ours is only 5kg and worth its weight in gold. Prior to your trip, it is great to get your baby used to the cot during nap times. Use the same linen, then the transition to the new location is easier.”
Keep The Car Well Stocked With Snacks
Kids are notoriously whiny when they’re hungry, and that is one sound you definitely want to avoid whilst stuck in a moving vehicle with little ones! Opt for snacks that are simple and easy to pack, like sandwiches, grapes, muesli bars and the like. If you have babies, make sure you have the necessary baby products such as formula or pureed food on hand.
Other great and healthy options are apple, bananas, nuts trail mix and individual mini-yoghurt containers.
Play The Days Away
Games are a quintessential component of any holiday - road trips included! They facilitate family bonding, often need little equipment and are just so much better than staring at your electronics for hours. There are even car-specific games you can purchase, as explained by Kate Armstrong, regular contributor to KidSpace Gold Coast:
“For everyone's sanity, I've tracked down some great ideas to keep the kids amused in the car, whether you're going on a journey or just heading out for a short trip to a friends/shops/wine/coffee shop etc. Some of these could also work on a plane or train trip or when you just need them to chill out for a little bit!”
To read these great ideas by Kate, click here, and a couple are listed below:
“The alphabet game: The idea is to go through each letter of the alphabet and find something out the window beginning with the letters. First one to mark each letter of their sheet wins!
Number plate game: See who can get all the letters of the alphabet first by finding the letters, in order, on passing number plates. You can also try and make funny phrases using the letters on each plate.
Scavenger hunt: similar to bingo, come up with your own list of things to “hunt” and the first one to find everything wins!
Name that tune: put on the kids favourite cd or playlist, play a song for a couple of seconds then pause it to see who can guess the tune first.
Yes or no: Ask each other any question you like but if you answer yes or no, you're out!”
So what are you waiting for? Pack up & hit the road to show your kids the joys of road tripping. Go and explore the gorgeous drives and coasts that Australia has to offer.