Tips for long car journeys with children

None of us have been on very long car journeys with children over the last 12 months due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. However, with every jab that goes into an arm somewhere, we get one step closer to the world opening up again.

With that will come our ability to move around more and therefore drive further than school or the local supermarket. Road trips will become possible again…soon.

My children have always travelled really well in the car, but I was thinking about it the other day and wondering if they will struggle with a road trip, having not been any great distance in the car for so long. I can’t decide if it will be a huge novelty for them and they will consider it an adventure, or if it will be a total nightmare.

Here, are a few tips to help ease children back into long car journeys. Remember to check your car tyres before you set off on a long trip and make sure your insurance is suitable. Why not check if you would benefit from car day insurance before you travel?

Plan your breaks along the way

One of the things I do when we are travelling a long way by car with the children is to plan out where we will stop. Obviously you can always just pull over in an emergency and there are services for toilet stops etc, but I prefer to plan out stops where we can all stretch our legs.

I look for woods and country parks that we could stop and have a walk, or a picnic, or places of interest along the way. This way, the breaks become part of the trip and the experience.

Take a look at your route and look for stops every 1h30-2h, depending on the age of your children. If you google “things to do with kids in…”, or, “family walks near…” you should get a reasonable list of places to choose from.

Decent stops mean exercise and fresh air, which generally keeps the mood high.

Play traditional and made up games

A great way to pass the time on a long car journey is by playing traditional car games like eye spy. This can pass a good 30-45 minutes usually for us and it’s great with little children as it’s a good way to practice letters.

We also play tons of made up games in the car. For example, everyone picks a colour and then they have to spot cars in that colour. The first one to twenty is the winner and then everyone changes colour. Before you know it, you’ve driven another fifty miles and it’s time for a break.

We also assign everyone a letter and they have to spot 10 things outside starting with that letter. All these games help to pass the time and keep small people happy.

Charge the devices

If you are planning on letting children watch devices in the car along the way, make sure everything is fully charged in advance. There is nothing more frustrating for everyone when you discover a device with 10% battery left and you are only 20 minutes into a 7 hour journey! Be your future friend.

Snacks, snacks, snacks

When travelling with children any distance in the car, ALWAYS pack snacks. Don’t rely on being able to stop and pick up their favourite things. One thing I sometimes do is to pack each child their own lunchbox, so I’m not constantly passing snacks backwards and forwards. This has only been possible now they are a bit older and more independent, this is harder for small children as they need help opening things anyway.

Rubbish bag

In hand with the snacks needs to be a rubbish bag. There is nothing worse on a long car journey than sitting surrounded by rubbish from kids snacks. I normally take two carrier bags with us. One I put things that can be recycled and one I put other rubbish. You can normally get rid of these easily at service stations along the way.

Do you have any of your own tips to share? Happy travelling!

This is a collaborative article.

4 comments

  1. We drove from the north down to London once with a 6 year old and two year old twins. It is a must to plan where your stops will be as they will need to have a run around and get some fresh air so you need to find somewhere safe.

  2. I thunk I must have driven my parents mad as a children in the back seat! However, I now find that “I Spy” is a good distraction on long car journeys.

  3. Great tips! We always make sure we take so much stuff to keep them occupied although they always used to just fall asleep 😂

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