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Preparing for a Family Road Trip

Road trips can be a great way to travel with family.  It gives you a chance to see more of your home country and to make the journey a part of your holiday.  It’s a way to have fun, and bond with your partner or friends away from the distractions of everyday life.  Plus, for those of us that enjoy a long drive, it’s relaxing and peaceful especially when the scenery is pretty.  But, once you’ve got kids, it isn’t as simple as just throwing everything in the car and driving.

Instead, if you take a little time to prepare for your family road trip, and you’ll have fun and reduce the stress that comes with traveling with children.  And, most importantly, avoid the chimes of “are we nearly there yet” echoing from the back seat(s).

Prepare Your Car

The last thing that you want on your road trip is to break down in the middle of nowhere with tired, hot and bored children.  It is important to make sure your vehicle is travel ready long before you set off.  We timed a car purchase with a trip a while back.  When looking we searched outside of London and found a better deal than if we had bought from a dealer or private seller in London.  We used a company like Reed Autos and made a great saving by doing this (approx £2000).  Not everyone is going to buy a car for a road trip of course.  You can take your car to Halfords for bulb/fuse changes or, your local garage to get more serious repairs made before you travel.  

It is important to perform basic car safety checks, like testing tyre air pressure, checking fluid levels and lights.  I would suggest you consider a full service if it’s been a while since the last one.

Involve the Kids

Be sure to explain that you are going on a long trip and that you can stop whenever they need to.  Give children the opportunity to choose what toys they’d like to take with them for the car journey.  Also make sure the children dress themselves in loose, comfortable clothes as it will make the journey more comfortable.  

Games to Fill the Time

There are numerous games you can play to help pass the time.  Younger children might be happy to play eye spy or to see how many red cars they can count.  Children have short attention spans as many parents will be aware.  Ipads are a life saver.  Whatever age your child(ren) an ipad is guaranteed to keep them all entertained.  Make sure you download age appropriate games before you travel and have your ipad(s) fully charged.  Older children might also enjoy making an Instagram story of your journey or taking fun snaps of things on the road.

What to Pack

It’s best to be organised with your packing rather than leave it to the last minute.  I start packing well in advance and have separate bags for snacks and drinks.  If you will be reaching your destination late then don’t forget the blankets to help keep the kiddies snug and warm.  Don’t forget to make sure there is plenty of water and snacks for all.

It helps to make sure that spare clothes, baby wipes, tablets, headphones, chargers and battery packs are easy to reach.  You might also want to pack PJs and toothbrushes at the top of your bag so that you can find them easily when you arrive and are too tired to unpack.

Plan Your Route

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Sat navs can be fantastic for long road trips.  Many cars come with them inbuilt although I do tend to have our Tom Tom at hand just in case.  For more out of the way places then an old fashioned map may come in handy.  Make sure you have an idea of where you are headed and take rest stops if needed.

Most importantly, have fun!!!

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This Post Has 34 Comments

  1. Thanks for the useful post. We do a lot of family road trips. So important to check the car. Breakdowns are a nightmare with kids

    1. They can be if you’re not prepared. Ipads and games can be a great distraction.

  2. We travel a lot and it’s always difficult to please everyone, and the kids really struggle when they are confined to the back. I tend to swap with my older son and sit in the back to keep the younger girls occupied.

    It’s definitely all in the preparation x

    1. It does make it far easier if you’re prepared.

  3. Fab tips, we’ve got a 4 hour one coming up so I will take on some of these!

    1. That’s a long one. Have a fun journey x

  4. We are going on a road trip this Summer. Thanks for the tips.

    1. No problem Michelle. Have fun!!!

  5. We go on lots and lots of roadtrips. My tip is to take a big thermos full of boiling water for coffee and tea!

    1. That’s a good idea. We normally stop off every so often but the hot water would probably save time unless the kids need the toilet.

  6. These are helpful tips – long drives with children can be really tedious if you forget entertainment and snacks.

    1. That’s soooo true. It’s best to avoid the stress.

  7. Some great tips in here! I always try to prepare the car for long journeys. Adding bottles of water, some snacks that wont go weird in the warmth, a good mix of CD’s! Caitylis x x

    1. They’re all great to have. We tend not to take any chocolate with us when it’s warm. They mess that would create doesn’t bare thinking about.

  8. Great tips. And having enough to do (and eat) on a longer journey is so important. I always make sure to have snacks x

    1. Thanks Rhian. Keeping kiddies busy is important.

  9. As parents of two kids, making sure our car is road worthy before we head on a long trip is so important for us too. Plenty of food and drinks is essential for us to keep the kids at bay and sweets and sick band if your child gets car sick easily.

    1. It makes a big difference if you properly prepare.

  10. I’d love to go on a family road trip. The ring road around Iceland is top of my wish list.

    1. That sounds like it would be a good one!!!

  11. Awesome! Road trips are so fun and I am glad that you ill find this guide useful. Happy Travel!

    1. Thanks Alexandra. Glad you liked it 🙂

  12. Oh my gosh, I cannot even imagine. We just finished a month long road trip through like 8 states and it was tireing for us old folks, Getting the kido’s on one of these trips would have been a nightmare lol, I get to stressed

    1. It can be if you don’t prepare. We don’t do particularly long trips at the moment.

  13. Snacks are always a must when it comes to long car trips for me and a battery pack to charge my phone on the ride.

    1. Battery packs are essential for phones, ipads etc.

  14. Great tips for family road trips. It’s so important and headache free when you are prepared.

    1. Yes, headache free is what we all want.

  15. These are great tips, we travel a lot by car. Stickers, snacks snd good music are essential!! Kaz

    1. Snacks are a biggie. Children always seem to get hungry 20 minutes after we leave the house if we’re not prepared lol.

  16. When we used to have long road trips as family, I was always in charge of the music and that helped pass the time! x

    1. Music is great and really helps. We make sure we have a good selection.

  17. I love a good family road trip! Me and my family always put together a good playlist and pack lots of snacks x

    1. A good playlist is essential. It can help fight the boredom if it is a long journey.

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