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Driving holidays with kids - our top 10 tips

By: staff

Date: Friday, 04. June 2010

With less disposable income available and air travel becoming increasingly complicated, more families than ever are taking to the road for their summer holidays. Although potentially greatly rewarding, taking kids on a driving holiday is not for the faint-hearted so we have put together our top 10 tips to help you on your way.

If you are looking at renting a car or driving overseas for your holiday then you should read our articles on the The International Driving Permit and Countries accepting International Driving Permit

The best driving holiday is one where the journey aims to be equally as entertaining as the destination, great scenery will help but this only goes so far with kids - the rest is up to you! It all comes down to the planning - choose a good route with lots of things to do along the way and try to make sure your car is safe and running smoothly for the trip.

  1. Destination and route - choose a destination with a scenic route for lots of stopping-off options so the holiday can start as soon as you get into the car. Driving holidays may have one or many destinations, just make sure there is plenty to do and see in between these destinations.
  2. Games - the days of 'let's see who can go to sleep first' are over, if you want to keep boredom (and thus back-seat rioting) at bay then work on your games repertoire (or arsenal - depending on your perspective). Ensure you have a variety of games at the ready - technological (see our 'iPhone apps for the driver' article) - solo (reading, coloring etc.) and family games (such as 'I spy') will all play their part.
  3. Get the car serviced - If you are embarking on a driving holiday then you are likely to be planning to cover a lot of miles. Getting the car serviced may not only save you on fuel (such as getting the engine tuned ) but may prevent your holiday enthusiasm from deflating along with your car tire 20 miles down the road from home.
  4. If renting, choose an appropriate car - tempting as the 2-door roadster may be - it's just not going to cut the mustard with 3 kids and a dog! You will also need to ensure in advance that the rental company can accommodate you with the necessary carseats for the kids.
  5. Driving abroad - If driving abroad you should read our article on the International Driving Permit.
  6. Prepare for every situation - (this means snacks, water and sick bags!). If you want to run stress-testing on both yourself and your carseat restraints then feel free to ply the kids with sugary snacks throughout the journey, otherwise, fruit and crackers are a good option. Bring lots of water and make sure you know where the toilet stops are en-route. Baby wipes and sick bags will never be without their uses on a long journey! driving holiday kids tips
  7. Ensure carseats are installed and adjusted appropriately (especially in rentals) - even if you are not opting for the sugary snacks option above you need to check that the carseat fits well into the car and the child fits well into the carseat. Use this opportunity to make any necessary adjustment to straps and seat settings [see booster seat article]. If you are doing a fly-drive and want to bring your own booster seat(s) in case of problems with the rental car company - check out this inflatable booster seat (
  8. Technology - whether it is SatNav, music playlists or an iphone app for finding the nearest toilet facilities - technology may be the only buffer between you and a back seat full of crazed children so use it wisely!
  9. Pack the car well - ensure that all luggage is well secured and there are no loose items rolling around the car - these can become dangerous flying missiles in the case of a sudden stop. When children are using toys in the back, try to teach them to play with one thing at a time and put things away in the seat-back pocket when finished (good luck with that one!)
  10. Keep focused and alert - Driving can be a tiring and stressful experience and with the addition of kids into the mix, can be a recipe for disaster. If possible, share the driving and take regular stops throughout the journey. Some of the tips above may help stave off the backseat chaos that can distract a driver from the task at hand and help you keep alert and focused.

We hope these tips make your family driving holiday run smoothly and help you to enjoy both the journey and the destination. Feel free to post your tips and feedback below.

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All Comments (2)

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tracy allen,

it is a stress driving with kids thats why I got rid on mine

Jake Aghajani,

It is a stress driving with kids!!

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