17 Jul 2017

10 Things You Need on a Road Trip with Kids

We recently went on a road trip from the north west of England up into the Scottish Highlands. We have successfully travelled long haul with our child, and we have been on a train with him on more than one occasion. This was our first time driving long distances as a family. 

A six hour journey along beautiful northern roads, where cruise control is of no use and you need your wits about you to handle the road, teaches you a lot about preparing for road trips with children.

Here is what I have learned about going on a road trip with kids.

10 Things You Need on a Road Trip with Kids

1.      Make sure the car is in good working order. Last thing you need is a breakdown in the middle of nowhere with a child in the backseat.

2.      Fill up on fuel at every available opportunity, that is well before the low-fuel indicator starts flashing. This is especially true when you leave motorways behind and start driving along picturesque routes, when filling stations become less frequent and further apart. Again, for the reason mentioned above.

3.      Have the number of your car breakdown service at hand, just in case.

4.      Most modern cars have phone charging portals and inbuilt navigation systems. If you are driving an older car (we do), and rely on your mobile phone for directions, then make sure it is fully charged when you leave. Carry a portable charger as back-up. I cannot stress how important this is. It could mean the difference between arriving at your destination or driving around lost.  

5.      Plan rest stops along your route so that you are stopping at least every couple of hours, depending on your favourite food and drink outlets. But be prepared to stop more frequently. There is always someone in the car that needs the toilet urgently!

6.      Have lots of food, drink and wipes available inside the car. Keep it all where you can easily reach it, so you can hand it out without having to stop the car. This is assuming you are not driving the car and someone else is. If you are driving, enlist the help of a responsible co-passenger to hand out the food and drink.

7.      Plan for in-car entertainment. I am not a fan of screens, but if it works for you, go ahead and use it. We prefer listening to music or stories, playing simple games like ‘I spy’ or counting red cars, or simply chatting about what we see through our windows as we drive along.

8.      Another option is to get the kids to pack a little backpack with portable games, puzzles and activity books that they can play with on the journey. Make sure there are no noisy toys, as they can be a distraction when driving.

9.      Kids can get hot, cold, sleepy, tired and generally grumpy on a long road trip. Bedtime might suffer, but if they feel like a snooze on the journey, let them go ahead with it. A little neck support like this Yondi will ensure they stay comfortable while they nap in their car seats.

10.  Allow yourself time to stop every so often at a roadside parking space to admire your surroundings. That is what really makes a road trip. And when you are driving through somewhere as breathtakingly beautiful as Glencoe, you just can’t help it!

Have you been on a road trip with kids? What are your top tips to ensure a happy journey?

Disclosure: Collaborative post

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