I get it: the great Aussie road trip with kids in tow sounds more like wisdom teeth extraction than fun. Let’s face it, a trip to the shops with a toddler shouting demands from the backseat can be stressful let alone hours on the open road.
It really doesn’t have to be that way. I can’t tame your kids (how cool would that be?!) but I can give you my top tips for a stress free roadtrip. So here goes…
- Before you even set off on your roadtrip make sure your child’s car seat is fitted correctly. Research suggests up to 70% of car seats are fitted incorrectly. Even if you’ve put a car seat in and out a thousand times before its a good idea to refresh your memory on the correct installation. The RACQ have an awesome video to help you out:
- Make lots of stops along the way and if you’re feeling tired pull over and rest. The aim is to get there safely and enjoy the trip.
- Tell someone where you are going and let them know your approximate plans. In the event you don’t arrive at your destination or anything goes wrong, they’ll be able to raise the alarm.
- Update the contacts in your mobile phone to include an In Case of Emergency (ICE) contact. In the Ford Kuga MKII you can pair your mobile phone to the in car system so that if theres an accident severe enough to either trigger airbag deployment or shut off the fuel pump, the safety feature Emergency Assistance uses your mobile phone, to dial triple zero (000) and gives the operator your coordinates. If you have an ICE contact in your phone, Emergency Assistance also displays their details on the touchscreen in the car so people know who to call. Even if you don’t have this feature in your car, its a good idea to have an ICE contact in your phone so its clear who people should call in an emergency.
PACKING THE CAR:
Pack strategically in the car so the things that you need are within easy reach. No one wants to be digging around looking for the wipes on the side of the road. Here are some essentials I always have on hand:
- Paper Towels – Babies and toddlers are messy little creatures so pack some paper towels to mop up any spillages along the way.
- Pillows – If you are travelling at a time when your child would normally sleep, make it as comfortable for them as possible. Pack a pillow so that they can get a proper rest without straining their neck.
- Motion sickness remedies – My kids seem to get motion sickness from time to time so its always a good idea to have some natural motion sickness remedies such as ginger beer or ginger biscuits to settle their little tummies.
- Nappy change bag – adding a compact nappy change bag with everything you need makes for fuss free changes.
- Football – throw in a footy to kick around at the rest stops along the way. I guarantee the kids will love you for it!
Like anything with kids, it’s all in the planning.
- Plan around your kids sleep schedule. This means your kids are getting the naps they need and won’t be grumpy when you get to your destination.
- Build in extra travel time for stops. Kids need a lot of (unexpected) stops. Toilet breaks, breaks to stretch their legs, breaks to eat, breaks to breastfeed etc
- Building in extra travel time means you won’t be tempted to keep driving to make a certain time. It also takes the stress out of having to stop.
- Study the route and roughly figure out when you might need petrol stops along the way. Do your research and see if you can coordinate interesting points of interest along the way.
- Involve the kids in the planning as much as you can. Ask them what they’d like to see along the way or if theres a special place they’d like to stop. Getting buy on from the kids means its easier to get them loaded up in the car and headed for the next destination and they’ll really feel like they are part of the trip.
Beat the boredom with ample activities to keep your kids entertained. The last thing you wanna hear from the backseat is IM BORED!
- iPads are your best friend. I’m not recommending hours and hours playing games on the iPad but you can use them to your best advantage. Download you kids favourite movies and break up the trip by allowing limited game time.
- DVDs can keep the kids focussed for a good chunk of time and are a good way of delineating break times. For example, I say to my kids after this movie we will be pulling over at a rest stop.
- Don’t forget the headphones!! Hearing the Thomas theme song for the 50millionth time can make me feel like driving into the nearest pylon. You can thank me later.
- The Ford Kuga MKII has really cool pull down travel trays but if your car doesn’t have these then you can buy something similar HERE. With a flat surface to work on, the kids can do a tonne of in car activities.
- Colouring in books are great especially the magic colour ones that only need one pen – take a look HERE.
- Magnetic Puzzles are awesome, my boys love this Thomas and Friends one – take a look HERE
- We love 50 Things To Do on a Car Journey which comtains 50 cards each showing a game, activity or puzzle to keep children entertained on a long car journey. Check it out HERE
Snacks, snacks and more snacks. There can never be enough snacks. Ever noticed how a toddler meltdown is 100 times worse on an empty stomach? Never understimate the power of a cookie to calm down a hysterical child (or maybe it’s just my kids that are motivated by food?!).
- Pack separate lunch boxes for each child. I have found that this alleviates any in car fights between siblings.
- A mixture of fruit and veggies with a little bit of treat food can keep hunger at bay.
- Pack individual water bottles (I’m sure you’ve noticed that kids don’t like to share!!)
- Don’t forget to pack snacks for mum and dad!
Don’t forget that its all about the adventure and making memories together. Safe travels x
*FYI this post has been sponsored by Ford but all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words