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5 Tips to Surviving Road Trips with Kids

Updated: Dec 29, 2019

Travelling Australia means spending a fair amount of time driving, there's no way around it. Our kids are 7, 3 and 3 and generally good travellers, until someone looks out of someones window or someone touches someone else and that someone perhaps didn't get enough sleep the night before, and then it’s WW3.



Here's what works with our tribe, most of the time....


1. Let them run!

We try and give sufficient time for kids to play and run before we leave. Not always possible but when we don’t we pay for it.


2. Food: Pack a lunch box.

Our kids love a packed lunch, well all they really want are snacks, ok let's be honest they just want lollies, it’s all about the lollies. Lolllllies.


They ask for their lunch box the minute they get in the car and I try my best to hold them out at least half an hour.


I pack things like: whole fruit, muesli bar, rice wheels / popcorn or chips, biscuits, cruskets.


I‘ve learnt to save the lollies and distribute them when the need arises. Bribery is life with kids and lollies are their currency. Works every time and can guarantee silence if necessary.


Everyone has their own water bottle and we keep extra cold drinks in the car fridge and icy poles in the car freezer. If I’m extra organised and we have a big drive ahead that day, I’ll make sandwiches and put in car fridge for a quick lunch on the go.


3. Movies

Our trip distances are counted in the number of DVD's that have to be watched to get there.


Before we left we installed a DVD player into the roof of the Jeep and bought a stack of kids movies cheaply on eBay. The kids also love the novelty of picking a DVD out to watch, we take it in turns.


If you don't have a DVD player you could use the kids devises and download TV shows / movies to watch offline.


4. Colouring in books / pens

We have a pencil case each for the kids, with their own coloured markers (washable markers for the 3yo’s is a must) and regularly pick up new colouring in books to keep things new and interesting.


5. Games

I Spy with my little eye something the colour of.....so the little ones can participate. Count the number of caravans, how big is the road train, how many cows can you see, what colour are they etc etc. These can be a good distraction for a few minutes.


The kids have iPads with age-appropriate games. Our 7yo has a number of educational apps on his ipad, a few of our favourites are ABC Mouse, Mathletics and Epic, he also likes puzzles and playing games. The girls like colouring in, shapes / counting games and the Duplo apps which can be played offline, they also love ABC Kids but but this requires data access, so it's usually used for alone / quiet time in their bunks before bed when we have Wi-Fi access.


When all else fails:

If all else fails and I’ve run out of lollies we find putting on a Sir David Attenborough documentary puts them to sleep...


Another trick is turning off the A/C and opening the windows. This helps in two ways, firstly I can’t hear them and secondly the warm air makes them sleepy, like they do on a long-haul flight.


My husband just reminded me it’s the opposite when you’re at a conference and they make the room freezing, so you don’t fall asleep!


You know what works best for your kids and no judgement.


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