Summer road trips with the family are a classic Australian holiday. But scorching heat, tight spaces and bickering siblings can spell disaster in a matter of seconds. Before you embark on your next long car ride make sure you’ve ticked all these boxes first.
Map it out
Predetermine where you’ll be taking rest stops and how many will be needed. One every 2-4 hours is recommended, depending on the total length of the journey. Have a look for toilets and entertainment nearby like kids playgrounds.
Get the kids to help
Paediatric Occupational Therapist Debbie Hopper finds that including your children in the trip planning makes it easier when you embark.
“Involve your children in the planning. When children have a solid understanding of where you are going, how long you are there, what you will be doing, they will feel psychologically safe.”
Debbie provides plenty more great tips for travelling with kids and long car trips on her blog. Or follow on Facebook and Twitter.
Decide on a travel time
Some parents prefer to start early in the morning so the kids are already asleep for the start of the journey. Others find it easier to start in the afternoon and drive well into the kids bedtimes. Either way at least half the trip will be spent with awake, lively kids so choose the best driving time for your own energy levels to handle it.
- A safe car seat is essential for your toddler. Double check it has been installed securely before use or pick one up from MyDeal baby equipment if you’re unprepared.
- Keep one bag of might-need items separate from the rest of the luggage so you aren’t unpacking the boot every time you need something such as towels, sun protection or spare clothes in case of food or toileting messes.
- Be car sick ready: lots of children get motion sickness so have a bag/bucket and wet wipes on hand for them
- Basic survival kit: Australia is a wide and empty country in parts. If you’re taking an extra long road trip across the country then make sure you have a torch, spare tire, plenty of water and emergency assistance up to date. The last thing you want is to end up stuck in the middle of nowhere for hours on end. But if it happens at least now you’ll be prepared.
Caroline Fenton from Avidiva suggests these toys and games to keep your kids entertained all the way:
“Pack a selection of engaging toys that you can talk to them about! Flashcards are a wonderful way to interact with your little ones (without having to keep turning round to pick up toys thrown on the floor!). You can even try to link them to the journey, an eye spy game, or encourage them to tell stories.”
Find out more on Facebook and Instagram.
Packing healthy, easy to eat snacks will help keep little mouths from crying out at the first rumble of hunger. Full hands and munching mouths also lead to quiet and content kids, at least for an hour or so. Healthy kid favourites could be popcorn, rice crackers, sandwiches, grapes or muesli bars. Taking a Christmas drive? Make it festive with some family-friendly holiday recipes.
Now that car trips are easy your kids will be singing ‘I’ve been everywhere man’. Pack the car and hit the road because there’s plenty of Australia to explore.