How to have a successful family road trip.

Here are all of our family road trip tips and tricks to getting the most out of your long car journeys with your kids.

Road trips are awesome!

They are a great way to explore lots of different places in a relatively short time – from epic journeys across whole countries and continents to driving along the coast of your own country.

More and more people are choosing to stay in their own countries on ‘Staycation’ and planning to head out on long road trips.

But how can you make sure you have the best family road trip experience?

Keep reading!

We give you our top tips and tricks to getting the most out of long car journeys with your kids.


How to have a successful family road trip...

How to have a great family road trip


Plan your route carefully

Use your Sat Nav or Google Maps to plan your route carefully.

Take time looking at all the route options, adjusting them to see how long it will take you.

You can then use choose to add stops to the route to allow for toilet breaks and sightseeing spots if there are places you particularly want to see on the way.

Allow time for traffic and other hold ups

Things rarely go perfectly to plan.

Add in contingency time just in case you need it.

Better to get to your destination early than to be late.

Check over the vehicle

It’s important to check everything is okay with your vehicle before you set off.

Be sure to check…

  • Water levels
  • Tyres and pressures
  • Brake pads
  • Wiper fluid (if you have room put a spare bottle of washer fluid in the car in case you run out)
  • If you have jump leads
  • That you have copies of all documentation you may need – driving license, insurance certificate etc

If you don’t already have it, sign up for roadside assistance and make sure it is valid for the places you are travelling to. This will give you peace of mind.

Clean the vehicle inside and out

Starting off with a clean car somehow makes the journey seem a little bit less stressful.

Depending on how long your journey is going to be we recommend cleaning out any rubbish/mess generated by your kids every day.

Chances are your car is already packed full so don’t add to the chaos with food wrappers and crumbs!

Yes, we may have a little OCD on this front!

Be prepared for emergencies

Have ziplock bags handy to use as travel sickness bags. If the worst happens you can seal it up and then throw it in the first available bin.

Better still if you know your children are prone to car sickness get some age appropriate travel sickness medication from the pharmacy and give it to them before you set off.

You should always pack a first aid kit, even if it just has the basic supplies!

We love this travel first aid kit:

Pack plenty of snacks

Snacks – you can NEVER have enough snacks!

You do NOT want to run out.

Take at least double the amount you think you will need.

It’s a good idea to pack a lot of healthy snacks. Don’t be tempted to stock up on a ton of sugar-loaded unhealthy foods. Trust me you will regret it!

Great snacks choices are:

  • Sandwiches
  • Rice Crackers
  • Breadsticks
  • Raisins and other dried fruit
  • Vegetable sticks
And remember to pack plenty of drinks for everyone too.
Take a handheld vacuum cleaner

If you can fit one in we would 100% recommend taking a handheld vacuum cleaner with you.

Great for cleaning up the mess from those breadsticks and rice crackers as well as sand and grass from the adventures you may have.

And yes, as above we are perhaps a little bit obsessive over cleanliness but hey I’m sure we’re not the only ones!

Regular stops

How many stops should you make on a road trip?

This will depend on how long your road trip is and the nature of it.

For example if you’re going from A-B with no sight seeing breaks on the way or you already planned to stop a few times to take some photos/explore a particular location. The age of your children will make a difference too.

The UK Highway Code advises taking breaks of 15 mins minimum every 2 hours. If you have a baby then this is the maximum amount of time you should leave between making stops and we’d recommend stopping for a little longer than you otherwise might.

Make plenty of regular stops and not just at petrol stations or for toilet breaks.

Your kids will welcome the chance to stretch their legs and run around. The fresh air will do everyone good too.

Everyone will get back in the car feeling refreshed and ready for the next stint.

Raising Holmes Road Trip Food Stop
Bring a travel potty for young children

If you have young children under the age of 4 definitely pack a travel potty.

It will be much less stressful than having to find a roadside toilet or holding them up behind a bush!

Pack plenty of wipes too.

Talk to your children

This is the perfect opportunity to talk to your children.

In the car they have your undivided attention and they should respond really well to questions and happily chat to you (we cannot vouch for teens!).

Talk about where you’re going and ask them what they are looking forward to the most.

Let them ask you any questions they like and give them the best answers you can! They may learn something and you might find it entertaining!

Play car games to pass the time

Playing games during your trip will help pass the time and keep your children happy and engaged.

 Our 3 favourite car games are:

  •  Hum that tune
  • The number(license) plate game
  • Having a singalong to our favourite music
Be respectful

Wherever you are make sure you and your children are respectful to the locals.

Do not drop and leave litter behind – pick it up and dispose of it properly.

Talk to people – you can find out a lot about the local area by having a quick chat!

To help alleviate the boredom download your FREE Family Travel Printables to pack into your children’s backpacks.

Perfect for those keeping them busy on long journeys.


Don't forget to plan for your pets

Whether they are coming on the trip with you or not you need to make sure you have the right arrangements for them.

You may need to make more frequent stops and when you do stop you may have to find places that are dog/animal friendly.

Don't run out of fuel

This is one of the reasons why it is so important to plan your stops.

Take mileage into account when adding in fuel stops and be sure to keep an eye on that fuel needle!

Don't put your feet on the dashboard!

Putting your feet up on the dash in a moving vehicle is incredibly dangerous.

As tempting as it can be DO NOT do it.

Also do not allow your children to put their feet up high either.

If you were to crash your knees will literally go straight through your face, not nice at all. Sorry for the graphic imagery but sometimes we need to know the reality to stop us doing something.

Just don’t.

Don't forget your in-car phone charger

Especially if you are relying on your phone to navigate you on your route!

Don't drive tired

This is probably the most important thing.

Driving when tired is very dangerous and can have disastrous consequences.

Either take turns to drive or stop and recharge your batteries. Even take the time to have a nap if you feel like you need it.

So there you have it...

Our top tips for a successful family road trip.
We hope you have the best road trip and the whole family has a great time!

Do you have any other tried and tested tips for family road trips that we haven’t mentioned?

Let us know in the comments below!


If you enjoyed our family road trip tips, please share this post on social media or forward to a friend!

Find out more...

Find out how to Turn your family travel goals into a reality

And How to make the most of your family vacation BEFORE you go

Find out how you can travel more sustainably as a family:

What is sustainable family travel?

18 easy ways to travel more sustainably as a family

See all family travel tips – Family Travel

See all sustainable travel posts – Sustainable Travel

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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Sara

    This is so helpful! We have 2 kids under 3 and want to take a road Trip in the next few years 🙂 I love the travel potty and portable vacuum idea!

    1. Raising Holmes

      Great! We’re so glad you found helpful. Have fun planning your road trip!

  2. K WP

    I am planning a road trip shortly…This will come in so handy…Such an informative post…Thank you so much for sharing…

    1. Raising Holmes

      Fantastic! Have a great time on your road trip, it really is a great way to travel and explore.

  3. Jen

    Interesting post wow lovely

  4. Emma

    Great tips! That hoover idea is fab! We’ve done one big road trip and could definitely have done with taking one!

    1. Raising Holmes

      It is definitely worth taking one next time! Hope you had a fantastic road trip!

  5. Karalee

    I have a 4-year-old daughter & recently we went on vacation with my boyfriend’s dad and brother. The city we went to was 3 hours away, but with traffic, it was a lot longer…having snacks & making regular stops is definitely a must on longer road trips. My daughter also likes playing I Spy.

  6. Manish Ambaliya

    Amazing! I know nothing about traveling all over the country, what a wonderful looking place to explore.

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