For our family of four, there’s nothing better than hitting the wide-open road for a new adventure. And now, having lived in a caravan for two-and-a-half years travelling Australia and sharing our experiences at @theblondenomads, it’s safe to say we’ve learnt a thing or two about road tripping along the way.
So, if you’re planning on taking to the road this summer, we thought we’d help you out by sharing some of those learnings. Ahead, our top 10 tips for creating the perfect road trip.
Involve the Kids in the Planning Stages
Whenever we begin planning for our next trip, we like to include the kids as much as possible. We always make sure they know where we are going and what we’re doing, so they know what to expect throughout the trip. If there is an opportunity for them to have a say in our activities, we let them make decisions, which they love.
Pack Your Own Lunches
We prefer to find a rest stop with a nice view to relax and enjoy a packed lunch rather than stopping for fast food at a busy service centre. This way, we can ensure that the kids aren’t full of unhealthy fast food and have eaten a nutritious lunch to keep their energy levels up. It’s much cheaper too.
Pack Loads of Snacks
Make sure you pack snacks, snacks, and more snacks.
After long hours of sitting down in the car, it doesn’t take long for your little people to get bored. So, the first thing they do is ask for food or drinks, right? We usually pack a lunch box of healthy food (avoiding sugary foods as much as possible) in the kids’ Thermos FUNtainer Food Jar and Drink Bottles — they’re perfect for travelling as they keep their food and drinks at the right temperature throughout the entire trip. They also have fun designs that the kids love.
We include lots of ‘time wasting’ foods in the lunch box, such as trail mix, dry cereal, popcorn, and fruit. Foods like mandarins, bananas or even a boiled egg, which we let the kids peel themselves, are fantastic as they take longer to eat. This keeps little fingers busy and their bellies satisfied.
Schedule in Bathroom Breaks and Playtime
Taking regular stops for bathroom breaks is always a great idea. We insist everyone goes to the toilet, and if you have a baby/toddler in nappies, we have learnt to change them constantly.
It is also a good time to get the kids outside to stretch their legs by stopping at a park with facilities and play equipment so they can burn all that energy before hopping back into the car.
Have Activities on Hand to Keep the Kids Busy
A quick trip to your local cheap shop is an excellent way to look for small car-friendly activities. We love mess-free craft items, e.g., colouring with water pens or ‘magic ink’ books, sticker activities, dot-to-dot, maze books or even a tiny toy.
For each road trip, we always make sure there will be some new activities that the kids haven’t done before to keep them entertained and engaged.
Sing Songs and Play Games in the Car
There are loads of songs you can sing and games you can play when sitting in the car. Our kids are just starting to listen to podcasts and audiobooks, which is a nice change for us. Some of our favourite games include:
- Memory games (repeat after me)
- Novelty songs (who stole the cookie from the cookie jar)
- Would you rather game? — the kids love this one!
Don’t Plan Too Much in One Day
Be realistic with your planning. With little ones around, it’s important to not jam too much into your day — which might mean breaking up longer drives with some overnight stays. Travelling with kids means embracing ‘slow travel’ and remembering that it’s as much about the journey as the destination.
Plan Your Drives Around Sleep Time
When the kids were little, we planned our drives around sleep time. By packing a favourite teddy and blanket, you can help encourage your little ones to take a snooze on the go. We also left a spare seat in the back between the kids, ready for one of us to jump into if necessary. If you are driving at night, pop the kids in their PJ’s, so you can transfer them straight into bed.
Limit the Tech Time
We like to make sure the kids spend a reasonable amount of time playing before turning to technology. We have a pair of DVD players on the back of our seats that allows them to watch the same movie together; this also keeps them looking forward. We prefer this over individual devices, which have them doing different things and looking down, leading to feeling car sick.
Keep the Kids in Comfy Clothes
Whether you’re on a trip to grandma’s or a road trip holiday, take some time to consider how you dress your kids. It’s no fun sitting in the car for hours in an itchy tutu or a sweaty batman outfit. Instead, dress everyone for comfort and, if needed, change when you reach your destination.