School holidays are upon us and you know what that means? The kids are home until January. So pack your tents and togs and get ready for a good old fashion Aussie adventure. A road trip with kids!
Just you and the open road for hours and hours on end. And while that may seem like fun to the grown-ups in the car, the kids are less likely to be excited. Especially with no wifi.
So how do you plan the trip to minimize the drama and bulldoze the boredom? Easy. Just a bit of planning and everyone will be happy. Here are a few tips for keeping the kids happy in the car on your road trip.
Plan your journey
It’s not the destination but the journey that counts, so make sure you plan your journey well. Calculate how long it will take you to get to the end destination and figure out your total travel time, then check out what’s on the way and how long it will take to get to each of those places. Here’s a great site from our friends in the tropical north to get your excited about road trippin’.
Things to consider while ona road trip with kids are toilet, rest and snack stops, attractions along the way and how long you may want to stay at each of them, and don’t forget the overnight stops.
If you are planning on staying overnight it pays to be organised and pre-book your campsites or accommodation, school holidays are a busy time and the last thing you want is to be caught out with nowhere to stay.
While you are booking your accommodation jump online and pre-book your paid attractions too. You may find a better deal online and skip any queues. Some great places to find out about local attractions, especially natural ones are the local council and tourist centre such as the Queensland Visitor Information Centre. These guys even have an app you can download.
Give your kids the control when planning. Get them involved in the process and allow them to choose the adventures you’re going to have. Making it theirs will make them more excited about the trip.
Blog about it
While your planning your trip, encourage the kids to take the driver’s seat when it comes to documenting your big family adventure. Set up a Facebook page or a blog and get the kids to take pictures, collect brochures, write a daily journal and collect some keep sakes throughout the trip. Each night you can upload all of your images and journal entries, photograph the trinkets and share with family and friends.
Set the kids a target each day for who can write the quirkiest story or take the best picture with a specific theme.
This is a great idea given that throughout the trip devices are unlikely to have wifi, where campgrounds and hotels will.
Be smart about your packing
Ipads – check, suncream – check, snacks – check.
If you’re heading on a substantial adventure, with kids, chances are you will need to bring a lot ‘stuff’ and depending on the size of your car/ trailer, you want to be able to access your ‘stuff’ when you need it so pack smarter.
Make sure your daily snack, suncream, shoes, swimmers, towels and phone chargers are easy to access.
Some important things to remember to pack are: a medical kit, some water, a car jack, a list of phone numbers incase all electronic equipment goes dead and extra toilet paper and baby wipes. You can never have too many baby wipes.
Play games as a family
The old classics will never die. I spy with my little eye is a great game to play and depending on the age of your kids, everyone can get involved. How complicated you make the game is up to you.
Other games to consider:
Guess the song, each family member takes turns to sing and the others guess the song. The worse the singing the funnier the game
20 questions, each family member has to answer 20 questions about themselves. It is a good idea to prewrite these. Again depending on how old your kids are you can decide on the level of complication to the questions. You may discover something about your family you didn’t know. And for the little ones simple questions will suffice.
I’m going on a picnic. This is a memory game where the first player starts by saying: “I’m going on a picnic and I am bringing”, the next player repeats what the previous person has said and adds an item and so on.
Keep them fed and happy
Snacks are a great way to keep the kids happy and quiet, even if it is just for a little while. So pack plenty of snacks.
A road trip can be a great time to splurge and spoil the kids with lollies and chocolate, but keep it to a minimum as sugar will make them hyper a restless, leading to fights in the backseat…and we don’t want to have to turn this car around now do we?
Make sure you have plenty of water to drink and include some delicious healthy snacks for everyone to enjoy such as fruit, veggie ticks and popcorn (although you will regret the popcorn later down the line when you have to clean the car).
If you are a super planner and want to make snack before you go, check out this taste.com.au article for some cool and yummy ideas. Mouth watering, if you have the time to make them.
Get your car sorted before you go
Before you embark on your fun filled family adventure, make sure your logbook service is up to date, your tyres and pumped up, your fluid levels are right and you have a full tank of petrol.
The last thing you want to experience is a breakdown on the side of a hot road with bored kids. That would absolutely dampen the whole trip.
If you know you’re due for a service, book in with your trusted independent repairer who will sort you out and give you peace of mind for the upcoming trip.
If you have a caravan, get that looked over too. And remember there are new towing rules in Queensland, so be sure to know how these rules apply to you. Check out our article on towing for more information or visit the Queensland Roads website to get the scoop.
Happy Road trippin’ and we hope the kids enjoy it as much as you do.