Top 10 Tips For Happy Car Travel With Kids

Car journeys with kids can be a bit of an endurance test! But not if you are prepared. As a mum of two very active boys I have travelled many hours with them since they were very little. Here are my top 10 tips for happy car travel with kids:

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#1.  First things first – Be Prepared for the Worst


No matter what ages the kids, there is nothing worse than not having what you need if a child is sick or unwell when on the road.

Always pack a change of clothes, nappies, some antiseptic wipes, a couple of rubbish bags and a basic first aid kit with paracetamol, ibuprofen etc.

I also tend to put a washcloth stored in a re-sealable plastic bag for each person with a quartered lemon for extra zing and freshness.

You may also find Dealing with childhood accidents & illnesses useful

#2. For Babies and Younger Kids

Install a child view mirror so you can keep an eye on them. Don’t forget the sunshades on the rear and side windows so the sun won’t irritate them on the road.

#3. Comfort for Little Ones

kids in carWith car seats make sure the appropriate head supports are in place for when they are napping. I also discovered a trick of tying different baby toys to pieces of string onto the car seats so that toys could be easily retrieved when inevitably flung out several times during the journey!

Recommended Read : Survive the Drive with these 7 Useful Tips

#4. Comfort for Older Kids

Cushions, neck supports and seat belt adjusters make car journeys more comfortable and safer for children too big for car seats.

I encourage my kids to take their pillow with them on long journeys as a familiar comfort.

#5.  Be Organised


Hang one of those back seat seat organisers on the driver or passenger seat and fill with toys, games and drinks that the kids can easily access.

You might find 10 Incredibly Useful Parenting Hacks for the Car useful

 #6. Entertainment

Audio books and music CDs will help to keep the kids happy and content. I find these particularly good if you have children of a similar age and can ensure you enjoy something as a family while you drive.

#7.  Entertainment for Older Kids

kids in car technology

Handheld consoles like the Nintendo DS, DVD players and tablet computers are an easy way of keeping children happy on car journeys, as they can watch their favourite shows or play games as you travel.

Just remember to pack several sets of headphones if you have more than one child, otherwise you could find the car gets quite noisy.

We have a splitter that we use for when 2 children want to share the same device, e.g. listen to the same music device, you can plug 2 headphones into it.

Image via coventrytelegraph

#8.  Car Games

Play lots of fun car games. Examples of good easy games are:

  • Eye-spy (with very flexible rules)
  • Who can spot a red/blue/green car/combine harvester, tractor etc.
  • Count the bridges
  • Can you get any other passengers to wave back?

You might enjoy 30 Fun Games for Car Journeys and 30 Car Ride Games for Kids aged 8-12 years

#9. Take Regular Stops

Stop every two hours to take a break. Apart from avoiding driver fatigue, it’s inevitable that everyone gets restless after a while. This allows everyone to stretch their legs and get some fresh air. It also breaks the journey.

You might also enjoy Top tips for Travel with Kids

#10. Pack some healthy snacks

lunch box

There’s something about long car journeys that tends to make everyone feel slightly peckish, so pack some healthy snacks that you know your kids love.

If you’ll be travelling over a meal time, why not prepare a picnic and find a grassy spot to stop and enjoy a fun lunch before continuing your journey?

You might also like Healthy Snack Ideas

You have reached your destination! Do you have any other ideas on how to survive a long car journey? Why not share some of your tips now in the comments below.

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Louise Kerrigan is a busy mum of 2 boys and one of our Mykidstime content team. She's an avid foreign traveller, and does confess to devouring the odd bar of Toblerone.