5 Essential Tips when Roadtripping with Kids

This is a paid post for RACV sponsored by Nuffnang

We are a roadtripping kind of family. Even before kids, my husband and I have always opted for long drives, taking in a corner of the state we haven’t seen before, and occasionally driving interstate.

Our first roadtrip with kids was to Apollo Bay when Tom was just 5 months old. It was a bit of a shock. The packing, the unpacking, the packing again. There was constipation, lactulose to relieve it and poo explosions on the Great Ocean Road that resulted in Tom’s first dip in the sea…

Tom at the beach

Over time we got smart with our travels and having children didn’t deter us. Yes we have our moments of me sitting in the middle of the backseat, tickling and playing peekaboo to stop Jeremy from screaming at us in that very last leg of a trip. Yes we have littered the floor of our car with food as we struggled to keep them content. But mostly our roadtrips are happy ones.

Tom with balloons

We go to Mildura semi-regularly to visit family. It’s around a 4 hour trip one way and I have to say we have that absolutely nailed and we haven’t stopped more than once on each trip since Tom was a newborn. Here’s why.

1. We are organised with food, drink and entertainment

The night before I prepare a cool bag with sandwiches, fruit and snacks. I always add a special treat like biscuits in case there are times of desperation on the trip! This bag sits in my footwell the whole trip, but generally we try to save the lunch until we stop somewhere.

2. Leave just before a nap time

Tom (3 years) doesn’t sleep as much on a trip anymore, but generally I try to be organised and have the kids up early so at least Jeremy is tired enough for a morning nap. Tom is more likely to nod off after lunch time. Of course, simultaneous naps are bliss.

jeremy sleepy3. Check the car

Yes, I’m way more stubborn about this than my husband! Check the tyres, oil and coolant before you leave. That’s no guarantee that anything won’t go wrong though. We’ve been stranded at some of the worst times! Once I remember it was 4:30pm, we had about an hour and a half to go and 2 children that were ready for a 5pm dinner. It was also 40 degrees! Luckily, we have had RACV emergency roadside insurance for over 10 years between us. There’s no way anyone else could have come to us where we were, and even if they could, the reliability factor would always be a problem.

4. Plan for a playground stop

When we went to Adelaide last year we googled our trip and made sure we stopped places with a change room and some kind of playground. Any playground that is new to the kids is always exciting. It’s the perfect place to stop, let them have a play and then they get back in the car refreshed – and may even fall asleep again if you’re lucky.

5. Roll with it

Sometimes those last legs of a journey with a baby screaming in the back have been really hard. Our kids travel exceedingly well, but neither of them travelled well as newborns. Ours were always prone to wind pain on long trips, possibly due to being so still in a car seat for prolonged times and having shorter feeds along the way. Infacol was our friend or having someone sit in the back seat to make it bearable for the driver. The important thing is to stay calm, allow time to stop if it gets too much and know the end is in sight and it is so worth it!

tom and steve glenelg


With everything else going on you don’t want to risk a highly stressful, avoidable roadside emergency these school holidays, RACV Emergency Roadside Assistance is ‘Heaps More Helpful’ than what you think. So, be sure to put this on your to-do list before the holidays.  Head to the link to watch some hilarious videos as well!

What essential tips would you share regarding road tripping with kids?

One thought on “5 Essential Tips when Roadtripping with Kids

  • As they grow older be sure to pack lots of things for them to do while travelling, and get them involved in the planning of where to go and what to do there and on the way.

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