Road tripping with kids: Five things to keep in mind

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After a year of lockdowns, border closures, a newborn, sleepless nights, sibling squabbles and a full-on routine, we were all in need of a break. While the idea of a weekend getaway sounded appealing, I was a bit apprehensive about the logistics, having never travelled with two kids in tow. My 4-year-old and 16-month-old have completely different needs and routines, and frankly it is sometimes challenging to keep things running smoothly at home in a familiar environment, let alone in a foreign holiday home.

Nevertheless, with my sanity at an all-time low, I was willing to give it a go. We decided on Jervis Bay, on the south coast of NSW. It was the perfect tonic to be in nature, waking up to the sound of the sea and wildlife around us. Here are some tips that helped make the trip a pleasant one for all of us.

Take breaks during the drive

We ensured that we had time for one pit stop on our 3-hour journey. We left in time for the tot’s afternoon nap and by the time she woke up, we were ready to make a stop at McDonalds, which was a win for all of us. Timing was key and working around the children’s routine ensured a smooth journey for us all. Similarly on the way back we made a couple of stops along the way in Berry and Wollongong, and ensured all naps were in the car.

Be well equipped

When in doubt, just pack it!  Toys, snacks, travel cots, books, bottles, favourite pyjamas, you name it, we packed it. While it goes against the age-old advice of travelling light, having the tot’s favourite soft toy around when she is having a meltdown is a godsend. Healthy snacks and a tailor-made music playlist in the car were vital for the journey, with our 4-year-old also enjoying some free audio books from Audible while the little one was napping.

Road trip preparations with a trunk full of luggage.
Road trip preparations with a trunk full of luggage. Source: Canva

Travel slowly

Before having children, we would pack out our travel itineraries to maximise the places we could visit. That plan quickly went out the window after having our firstborn, and now with two, we travel completely differently. We have a rough plan of one or two places to visit in the day with ample time scheduled for meals and naps. Going with the flow and travelling slowly has allowed us to enjoy time with the family and not be stressed about getting to the next place. The kids pick up on the vibe and if we are chill and having a good time, so are they!

Be prepared for anything

There is never a dull moment with young children around, so just learn to embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the journey, even if you are late to the destination or unable to tick everything off your list. The kids will remember the time spent together as a family, and the best memories are always those unexpected detours in your travels.

Lastly, remember you are ALL on holiday

It’s OK to let the kids stay up a little later, enjoy some sugary treats or watch one more episode of Peppa Pig.  As parents we tend to sometimes take life a little too seriously, and even the smallest of breaks is the perfect reminder to take a step back, let your hair down and enjoy yourself.

Mum and bub having fun with junk food.
Mum and bub having fun with junk food. Source: Canva

READ ALSO: 4 perfect spots in NSW to go fruit picking with your family


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Nidhi Joshi
Nidhi Joshi
Freelance writer with a passion for travel, food, culture, motherhood and lifestyle journalism.

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