Road trips with kids: 7 essential tips

10 Jul 2020

“Are we there yet?”, come the cries from the backseat when you’re only just pulling out from the Grand Plaza parking lot. Safe to say when it comes to taking kids for a big all-day road trip it takes some planning. Here are 7 essentials to keep them busy.

Snacks, snacks, snacks
Food is a great way to entertain and distract kids. If they’re stuffing their faces, they can’t be complaining at the same time. It’s easy to avoid fast food junk and sugar highs if you portion and pack your own healthy snacks like nuts, seeds, crackers, cheese and fruit. Target sells these small plastic containers that will eliminate fights between siblings.

Pack entertainment
Banish backseat boredom with offline games – no mobile phone reception required. There are classic games like ‘I Spy…’ but after 15 minutes they’ll surely want something more. Big W has a huge range of games. Look for backseat appropriate titles like Connect Four and a Rubiks Cube. Or head to QBD to hunt out a Where’s Wally title and a few colouring-in books. Crayola makes a range of mess-free colouring activities you can pick up at Big W. These kits don’t leave marks on your car seats or children. Magic!

Pack toilet paper...
Look, kids can be unpredictable but of course they need to pee right when you’re driving in the middle of absolute nowhere with no public bathrooms in sight. Best drop into one of the department stores Target, Big W or Kmart and stock up on tissues and hand sanitiser.

...And other emergency essentials
Like bug spray, a plastic liner or car bin, wet wipes, extra snacks, blankets and a first aid kit. Pick up a big plastic tub from Dollars & Sense to keep in your car boot. Fill it with the aforementioned essentials plus some easy entertainment like colouring books and pencils and you won’t have to think twice when prepping for family road trips. Terry White Chemmart and Priceline Pharmacy sell first aid kits for your car too.

Always take a beach bag
Kids are drawn to water like a moth to a flame, so avoid any tantrums by making sure there’s a beach bag in the boot. Inside should be a towel, swimmers, sunscreen, hat and a spare pair of clothes. Best & Less and Kmart are great stores to find swimwear for kids, plus all the accessories you could need. 

Make regular stops
Plan your road trip to include regular stops at spots kids will enjoy like playgrounds, beaches and lakes where they can run around, blow off steam and burn energy. Educational museums, galleries and wildlife parks are great stops, as are cafes for that all important bathroom stop.

And don’t forget music!
Whether or not you include the Frozen soundtrack is entirely up to your clan.