Tips and tricks to make a road trip with the kids fun

27th August 2021

There are only so many “are we there yets’ ?” that a parent can take. They say half the fun of a road trip is actually getting there, but what about the rest? I don’t know if I speak for many, but personally, road trips are among my favourite things to do.

But even with tons of patience and emotional preparation, I still lose it after the 3rd back seat brawl. Through years of trial and error, here are some tips I’ve learned to make these trips a tad bit more enjoyable, for us and for the kids! Also, check out these excellent 9 road trip ideas if you’re located in the UK.

Prepare the kids for what lies ahead

This may not always work, but you will at least have the option of “I told you so”. Discuss the upcoming trip with your kids. Explain as best as possible what it may entail, and find creative ways of defining time so that they can better understand.

Clearly point out expected behaviours and perhaps offer rewards or incentives. Do not forget about yourself in all of this.

Planning – emotionally and physically

You can never over-plan a road trip. Start off with a “to-do” list highlighting the most important things. Knowing your route, estimating the distance and time and planning your stops are essential to staying on track.

If your family is anything like mine, there is no such thing as an extra snack or bottle of water. Good quality picnic baskets like the ones at should do the trick.

The key to proper execution is in making sure everything is easily accessible. And yes, it pays to invest in decent seat covers for those accidents.

Pack Smart

A well-stocked kiddie bag with extra diapers, bottles and changes of clothes (for kids of all ages) is completely undervalued. Remember all medications as well as the extras for motion sickness or that sore leg, just in case.

Get the kids involved

I swear by this. Create excitement by having your kids pack their own activity bags.

Of course, you’d need a handle on this or you may just end up with everything short of your kitchen sink in there, but this gives the kids a sense of importance and involvement in your trip planning.

Games on the road

Reinvent the wheel if you must, but there’s no skipping this. Games on the road are the key to your sanity, albeit a little short-lived. Be creative and find ways to keep them occupied.

Remember that they have a limited attention span, and your quietest moments are during probably short-lived naps. Spend some time with them during the trip so that they don’t feel ignored.

Test runs

A maiden three-hour trip should be preceded by a shorter one just to assess the possibilities, and to get them used to spending time in the car. Follow through as you would for the actual trip.


The games are all done and you’re exhausted. Movies are a great way to keep the kids occupied. If devices are limited, offering movies as a reward for good behaviour means that the winner gets to watch their movie first, and this should eliminate unnecessary squabbles.

Night trips

If all else fails, night trips are a cheat given that the kids will sleep through most of it anyway. Be sure that the driver gets plenty of rest and be aware that more stops may be necessary.

Trips can be daunting, but just making a few tweaks can turn them into something special and memorable. Be in mind that you’re bound to forget something, and don’t be too hard on yourself. You’ve got this!