Top tips for road-tripping with the kids

Worried about hitting the road with the kids these holidays and how you’re going to handle all the “Are we there yet?” questions? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered with some tips and strategies for minimal boredom, tears and frustration from all sides.

1. Ensure you’ve packed your car properly

This might not seem like an issue … until you need a fresh pair of shorts after your little one spilt some water all over theirs and the “closest” pair is in the boot, at the bottom of one of the suitcases, and you can’t stop to get them out because you’re on a highway.

Let your kids be close to any items of comfort, whether it’s a dummy, blanket, pillow or teddy bear.

Ensure that you have at least two changes of clothes in the car at close hand, along with nappies and sufficient wet wipes (two packs are better than one in the case of a road trip). A first aid kit is also a good idea for anything that could arise.

2. Pack the snacks

No one wants a hangry and thirsty child (or parent) on board, so make sure you have easy and no-fuss snacks like chips, crackers, biltong, dried fruit and fresh fruit pieces. Also pack some drinks such as water and juice, and ensure they’re in easy-to-drink cups to avoid spillage while driving.

3. Take regular breaks

Stop regularly on your journey to get some fresh air, stretch the legs and get a snack. Depending on where you are, some larger garage stops will have a kids’ playground or activities, so it’s worth factoring these kinds of stops in your itinerary.

“No one wants a hangry and thirsty child (or parent) on board, so make sure you have easy and no-fuss snacks like chips, crackers, biltong, dried fruit and fresh fruit pieces.”

Activities for the car

  • Create an “activity tray” with crayons, kokis, paper, colouring-in books and even puzzles, building blocks, playdough and cutters.
  • Try those good ol’ favourite games such as ‘I spy with my little eye’, ‘20 questions’, memory games and thinking of animals and objects using different letters of the alphabet. Before you leave, create a list of the things you’re likely to spot on your drive, such as highways, cows and trucks, and get your kids to check them off as you drive.
  • Throw a “party” in the car – dance or move to different types of music, or play charades, acting as different animals or people, while others guess what or who you are.
  • While you might want to steer your child away from tech on holiday, it’s not the worst thing in the world to offer your child a tablet or phone to help them get through the trip. It might mean a smoother ride for everyone, and that’s what we’re after.
  • Bring books – you can read to your younger kids, or the older ones can read themselves.
  • Talk! Yes, this might sound ridiculous because you kinda do it all the time, but here’s a chance to really connect and talk to your family uninterrupted and without too many distractions.