How To Plan A Highway Journey With Children (& Hold Your Sanity)

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We’re massive followers of taking street journeys, they’re our favourite method to journey, particularly when touring with youngsters!

However when you’ve got so many alternative age teams and pursuits in your loved ones, it may be arduous understanding learn how to plan a street journey with youngsters in a means the place everyone seems to be entertained and completely happy.

family standing in front of mini van
Able to go on a street journey to Tennessee

Whereas we predict a street journey with youngsters as extremely fulfilling and memorable journey expertise, we all know it’s additionally a problem – the considered being in a confined automotive house along with your youngsters, particularly toddlers, is scary!

That’s why we’ve created this street journeys planning information, so you possibly can plan a household street journey with youngsters and protect your sanity and have a tremendous journey!

Ideas For Planning A Highway Journey With Children

caravan and truck parked on the side of the road

Planning is hard, we get it. Once we left for our 18 month street journey round Australia in 2013, Kalyra was six and Savannah – our extremely energetic youngster – was two.

quarter-hour into that journey and he or she began throwing Vegemite sandwiches at my head whereas attempting to flee the automotive seat and screaming at us.

Though it began out manic, it wasn’t lengthy earlier than we may drive 6 hours straight and have her take pleasure in it.

We’ve been doing full-time household journey ever since, and even spent 12 months street tripping america after our epic Australia street journey.

Under are a few of the high ideas we realized from our two lengthy street journeys, and a number of other smaller street journeys, to assist ensure you don’t make the identical errors as we did and have an fulfilling time!

1. Begin By Asking Your self These Questions

a little girl in a hot spring
Umpqua Scorching Springs, Oregon

Each street journey is totally different, and the planning will differ relying on the reply to those questions:

  • What kind of street journey expertise are you in search of?
  • Who’s going on the street journey?
  • What sort of automotive are you driving?
  • Are you wanting a heat local weather or a wintry vacation spot for a change?
  • When are you obtainable to go and for a way lengthy?
  • What sort of actions do you wish to do?
  • How a lot stuff do you could journey with?

These questions are designed that can assist you plan the kind of street journey you’re embarking on and can show you how to plan your locations.

After getting answered these questions, you’ve got the foundations of your plan, and you can begin understanding the remainder from there.

2. Do Thorough Analysis, However Depart Wiggle Room

woman hangin gout of car taking photo of lost coast coastline in california
The Misplaced Coast California

The perfect street journey is an organized one, however depart some wiggle room for flexibility.

You can be so grateful you took the time to plan and analysis earlier than leaving house so when you’re on your loved ones trip you possibly can chill out and luxuriate in it.

Planning on the go takes loads of time and could be such a headache. Prior to now when touring full-time, planning on the go on a regular basis turns into a nightmare, particularly determining the place to eat!

I really like happening a household journey with all the things deliberate out.

Nevertheless, we do advocate leaving room in your street journey itinerary for spontaneous journey and quirky roadside points of interest, like this one we present in New England (America’s Stonehenge)

Use your favourite journey planning web sites to determine the very best issues to see and do in your street journey vacation spot, together with locations to cease alongside the way in which.

3. Enhance the Effectivity of Your Automobile

car on side of road looking at views in Capitol Reef NP
Capitol Reef Nationwide Park

A straightforward method to save prices of gas in your street journey is to make sure your automotive is absolutely serviced and is optimised for effectivity.

  • Drive on the appropriate velocity
  • Verify the strain of your automotive tires
  • Use the best oil to extend mile utilization
  • Watch your baggage – the heavier the automotive the extra gas you’ll use
  • Pack inside your automotive not on high
  • Use Google maps / in-car GPS to remain out of site visitors jams

Fill the automotive up with fuel and your purse with money. You don’t wish to get caught in the course of nowhere with neither.

Don’t let your gas degree get down into the purple zone, at all times hold it topped up.

4. Spend Extra Time in Fewer Locations

the colors of broome - red dust, green shrub, turquoise water, blue sky
Broome Western Australia

Don’t attempt to go too loopy and see all the things. That’s a certain recipe for burnout and funds blowout.

Select to spend extra time in fewer locations so it can save you on gas and snatch extra lodging bargains, like keep 5 nights get one free.

Our 5 weeks in Broome, Western Australia was an excellent break from always shifting on our Australian street journey.

5. Search for Lodging Offers

small stone village on hill with views of tuscany countryside and rolling hills
Tenuta di Mensanello

Lodging is one among your largest vacation bills. Be smart about the place you select to remain – primarily it’s only a mattress to sleep in as you can be so busy exploring.

  • Contemplate apartments, guest houses, vacation rentals and even hostel stays.
  • Tenting will at all times be your most cost-effective possibility.
  • Staying longer in a single place normally means cheaper value.
  • Seek for lodging offers that provide perks like free nights, free breakfast, free wi-fi and even excursions.

Our Tuscan farm keep on our Italy street journey was magical. Very reasonably priced, with gorgeous views, and enjoyable experiences like cooking courses and wine tasting.

6. Provide and Prepare dinner Your Personal Meals

man and child cooking bbq on deck
Grilling on the deck of our condo in Tasmania

Always consuming out can kill your funds and depart much less so that you can spend on the true reminiscence making actions.

One of the best ways to do that is:

  • Take a packed / picnic lunch out with you for the day
  • Have pre-filled bottles of water.
  • Purchase all of your snacks on the grocery retailer..
  • Camp and prepare dinner over the campfire.
  • Hire flats and suites with kitchenettes.

7. Do the FREE or Low-cost Stuff – Make Nature Your Buddy

people hiking on mountains in yosemite
Mountaineering in Yosemite Nationwide Park

Do as many actions as you possibly can open air, most of which might be free or low cost and offers you completely happy, carefree recollections.

  • Pack your personal gear to make use of like tennis rackets, snorkels, surf boards, seaside video games, bikes
  • Get pleasure from coastal path walks
  • Go mountaineering in nationwide parks
  • Spend the day at seashores
  • Do self-guided metropolis walks and excursions
  • Chill out round your campsite
  • Get a national parks pass
  • Attend museums or vacationer websites on free days or when they’re discounted.
  • Stroll as a lot as you possibly can. Keep in lodging that permits for this to avoid wasting on driving.
  • Discover native markets
  • Strolling round city taking pictures
  • Bike experience
  • Climb a neighborhood mountain with views of a metropolis or shoreline

8. Share The Driving

woman standing outside car on Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park
Skyline Drive, Shenandoah NP, Virginia

Driving is probably the most exhausting a part of a street journey, so ensure you share the driving with somebody so everybody will get a break.

Get an excellent evening’s sleep the night earlier than departure and take a lot of breaks. Get out and stretch the legs, seize some lunch, and have a espresso each two hours.

Bear in mind this slogan…Cease – Revive – Survive.

9. Drive Protected

car on road leading to Uluru
On the street to Uluru in Outback Australia

Follow the street guidelines and don’t drink and drive EVER! In fact, this appears apparent, however we’re not simply speaking about alcohol, however ingesting water or espresso as nicely.

All it takes is in your child to scream within the again seat whilst you’re taking a sip for an accident to occur.

Whether it is moist or low mild, put your headlights on and drive slower. Don’t rush or take any pointless dangers.

The purpose of a street journey is to take it gradual and take within the surroundings, so don’t drive too quick in a rush to get to your subsequent vacation spot.

In case you are driving in rural areas be very cautious of wildlife. Drive slowly for those who see any round, honk your horn and flash your lights.

Let the navigator (your co-pilot) take management of instructions, DJ’ing and any cellphone stuff, so you possibly can hold your eyes centered on the street.

How you can Plan a Price range for Your Household Highway Journey

car on side of road next to new england fall foliage
A New England street journey within the fall

Determining how a lot cash you need to spend in your entire household street journey is significant in figuring out the place you’re going to go and for a way lengthy.

Take into consideration what your whole funds could be, after which break it down into the key segments of the journey.

How a lot are you keen and in a position to spend on these requirements:

  • Lodging
  • Gas
  • Meals
  • Actions
  • Purchasing / Leisure
  • Journey Insurance coverage

As soon as you recognize what you might be comfy spending each day, divide that greenback quantity into your whole funds obtainable and that offers you a tough concept of the quantity of days you possibly can journey for.

Make a funds for the next necessities:


house boat on a lake
Our cool houseboat rental in Florida

We like to start out by utilizing websites reminiscent of Bear in mind when touring by automotive you’ve got extra versatile choices.

You’ll be able to e book lodging a little bit additional out of the costliest areas. You’ll be able to simply drive out and in.

Tenting is a superb possibility and search for some distinctive properties like our houseboat rental in Florida and our big villa in Orlando for a big group of vacationers.

VRBO is an effective way to search out these.


lady haning out of car in the outback
Outback Queensland

You will have to work out mileage getting there and again and in addition consider driving when at your journey vacation spot.

If you happen to do resolve to e book lodging additional out of town facilities, consider prices of gas to drive to main locations in addition to parking.

Typically, it could be cheaper to remain in lodging nearer to city for these causes.


family having a picnic in the bush beside car
Highway journey picnics assist save some huge cash + surroundings magic!

Will you be cooking in an condo or campsite? Will you be consuming out? You will have to consider prices for each meal together with snacks.

In case you are cooking at house suppose by way of your ordinary procuring funds, if consuming out consider $10-$20 per individual per meal. $5-$10 for youths.

With street journeys you possibly can carry extra grocery gadgets, and transport in coolers, which may prevent some huge cash on consuming out.


Determine what you wish to do and what the fee might be for every exercise at your chosen vacation spot. Strive to slot in as many free issues as you possibly can. Cater to all pursuits.

Mountaineering, paddle boarding, and kayaking are a few of our favourite issues to do after we journey. Take a look at our mountaineering ideas with youngsters


Forest River Hemisphere travel trailer
An RV journey could be costly

Contemplate any further prices you could have in offering gear in your journey. You might have to purchase tenting gear, garments and so on. Consider the price of a car service and potential upkeep.

Now you’ve got your tough prices you might be in a greater place on deciding the place to go and for a way lengthy.

You’ll be able to then reply these questions:

  • How a lot cash will you want in your desired street journey vacation spot?
  • How a lot do you’ve got in financial savings now?
  • How a lot do you could put away every week?
  • The place is that cash going to return from?

Selecting the Excellent Highway Journey Locations

car driving on a winding path up a mountain
Forrest Gump Curve at Grandather Mountain, NC

Okay, so that you don’t have to decide on the right street journey vacation spot, as excellent doesn’t existl!

However right here’s how yow will discover street journey locations that greatest go well with you and your loved ones.

Relying in your funds and the kind of experiences you wish to have, take into account this:

  • Make an inventory of locations you wish to go and why?
  • What sort of vacation/ trip will it present?
  • What actions are you able to do?
  • Kinds of lodging choices?

Undergo the checklist with whoever you might be street tripping with, focus on professionals and cons of every vacation spot and vote.

Quantity them in desire. Don’t utterly cancel a vacation spot out as a result of you could have to alter when you think about elements reminiscent of funds and availability,

How you can Plan a Highway Journey on Google Maps

Plan a road trip on Google Maps - cool trip planning tool

My favourite street journey planning instrument is My Locations on Google Maps. All you want is a Google account.

I put together it on my laptop and it syncs with the Google maps app. It’s also possible to share it with anybody else touring with you.

I really like how one can plan your routes and street journey locations to go to, together with lodging, locations to eat, factors of curiosity, fuel stations, relaxation stops for lavatory breaks, and anything to assist with easy street journey planning.

It’s straightforward to do, tremendous colourful and can get your excited and impressed in your journey and hold you organized whereas on it.

The extra organized you might be earlier than you go in your street journey with youngsters, the higher your journey might be.

It’s additionally a good suggestion to deliver a paper map simply in case your cellphone dies although!

Word: It’s barely totally different to the everyday Google Maps, so I created a video to indicate how one can plan a street journey this manner:

How you can Put together Your Automobile for Your Highway Journey

f250 on side of road on artists drive death valley
Artists Drive, Demise Valley Nationwide Park

Security, like journey insurance coverage, might be probably the most boring journey matters. However, it’s really one an important.

Except our automotive is model new, we at all times make certain now we have put it in for a service earlier than we go on a street journey. It’s a trouble and will value some cash, however it’s higher to pay for the prevention slightly than the treatment.

Listed here are some pre-road journey security ideas if you wish to carry out them your self:

  • Verify brake pads, break lights, headlights and blinkers.
  • Verify automotive tires (verify the tread and tire strain to be secure and enhance fuel mileage).
  • Verify your windscreen wiper blades.
  • High up the water degree.
  • Verify your engine coolant degree and high up.
  • Fill the windscreen washer fluid.
  • Verify your oil degree and alter if wanted.
  • Get some kind of roadside help (Within the USA, there’s AAA, and in Australia we used NRMA). I can not inform you what number of instances now we have used them up to now. It’s good peace of thoughts. Your automotive make could have their very own roadside help plan – now we have one with our Ford F250 within the US.
  • Verify that your insurance coverage and registration is updated, in addition to your drivers license.

Emergency Equipment

All the time good to have within the automotive for peace of thoughts:

  • A spare tire and instruments to alter it with
  • A torch
  • Heat blankets
  • Water
  • A completely charged cellphone
  • Hazard triangle

We’ve had to make use of these a number of instances with flat tires. It may be tremendous scary, in case you are altering a tire on a busy motorway or freeway with automobiles whizzing by.

Defend your self as a lot as potential and hold the children within the automotive and secure.

Pre-Departure Highway Journey Ideas

f250 on side of road in zion national park
Zion Nationwide Park, Utah

It’s a good suggestion to have your primary route deliberate on maps / navigation system. It’s enjoyable for everybody to comply with alongside and have a normal understanding of the locations you’ll be visiting.

Useful ideas:

  • Plan in your stops alongside the way in which and set up any lodging.
  • E-book any lodging.
  • Have your car serviced and verify for security.
  • Purchase all wanted gear.
  • Create street journey guidelines to make sure everybody will get alongside (You’ll be able to entry our free household planning toolkit that helps you do that!)
  • Have your toll street e-tickets / cash prepared.
  • Have a final minute guidelines of issues that have to be accomplished the day earlier than or day of departure (this has saved me many instances from forgetting necessary issues).
  • Double verify your maps or navigation system is able to go. Obtain a replica of your maps simply in case. You’ll lose web greater than you understand.
  • Cost all electronics and pack your spare batteries

Making ready Your Residence Earlier than A Highway Journey

A truck is parked in front of a house
Our new rental house in Raleigh

There are apparent and never so apparent issues to maintain earlier than leaving your house.

  • Schedule computerized fee of all of your payments.
  • Cease your mail or have a trusted supply accumulate it for you.
  • Clear out your fridge and cabinet of something that will go off.
  • Prepare for the care of any pets and your garden/backyard.
  • Depart a set of keys with somebody trusted. You simply by no means know what may occur if you are gone and who may must entry your home that can assist you. You may additionally want them to water your vegetation!
  • Let your financial institution know that you can be on a street journey and for a way lengthy. This will likely assist stop them from freezing your bank card in the event that they see prices coming via from uncommon locations.

What to Pack for a Highway Journey with Children

A car parked on a beach
Fortunate Bay, Esperance WA

I believe the primary query individuals have is what to deliver on a street journey?

Strive to not stress an excessive amount of with regard to packing. Bear in mind, you possibly can virtually actually purchase something in a while the street.

As soon as packed undergo it once more and lower it down by a 3rd. Hold doing that till you actually do have simply the street journey necessities. Take much less and wash extra.

When packing up garments and toys, take into account the next:

  • Know the climate of the vacation spot you might be visiting as this may assist cut back over-packing. Planning your journey via one season or local weather at all times works greatest.
  • Know the actions you can be doing so you possibly can pack appropriately. You don’t wish to flip as much as your abseiling journey with out your sneakers.
  • Know the kinds of lodging you can be staying at. In case you are tenting you’re going to must pack much more gear. In case you are staying in motels you gained’t must take issues like towels, hair dryers or linen.
  • Pack good in order that any important gadgets you could want are simply accessible whereas on the street (not in your trunk).

A very powerful issues we advocate you are taking with you on a street journey are:

  • Open Thoughts
  • Constructive perspective
  • Good dialog
  • Persistence
  • Laughter
  • Adventurous spirit

With all of those, you might be assured to have the very best household street ever! Here’s a street journey packing checklist for you:

Pack Kids’s Leisure and Safety gadgets

  • Favorite toys
  • Favorite teddy for sleeping
  • Video games
  • Colouring books / pencils / markers / crayons
  • Studying books / audiobooks
  • iPods / iPads / different elctronics

Parental Leisure

  • Films (for passenger)
  • Music
  • DVD participant/iPad/iPod/laptop computer
  • Headphones
  • Spare batteries
  • Digicam
  • Chargers for all electronics

Meals and Drink Provides

  • Have separate containers for chilly meals, dry meals
  • Water bottles
  • Non-gooey, non-sticky, mess-free snacks (not yogurt)
  • Path combine, fruit, crackers, sandwiches in zip lock baggage
  • Spare containers / zip lock baggage for leftover meals
  • Small cooler for lengthy automotive rides

Good Clothes Decisions

Child Provides on the Prepared

  • Nappy bag filled with nappies (diapers), formulation, ready bottles, meals.
  • Child wipes
  • Blankets
  • Toys
  • Loads of dummies (pacifier) shut at hand (they’ll throw them).


  • Paper towels
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Rubbish baggage
  • Vomit bag
  • Spare bathroom paper
  • Automobile illness tablets

First Assist Equipment

A listing of things to think about:

  • adhesive dressings
  • sterile gauze bandages
  • tape
  • topical antiseptic
  • wound cleanser
  • a thermometer
  • eye drops
  • insect repellent
  • insect chew therapy
  • scissors
  • tweezers
  • security pins
  • primary painkillers
  • sunscreen
  • antibiotics
  • disinfectant
  • calamine lotion
  • antihistamine tablets
  • band aids
  • cotton swabs
  • latex gloves
  • Another private drugs
  • rehydration options
  • sunscreen

In case you are travelling abroad you might also wish to embrace:

  • syringes
  • water purification pill
  • physician’s letter / certificates for private treatment

Issues to Do within the Automobile With Children To Hold Them Entertained

what to pack for a road trip to entertain kids
Maintaining the children entertained on a street journey

What do you imply you don’t know what issues to do within the automotive once you street journey with youngsters?

Simply throw them on the tablets. That’s how we discover our sanity, am I proper?!

Haha. I don’t recommend you try this for six hours, however I do advocate it for a few of the journey. The children will find it irresistible and it’ll assist them embrace driving as this actually cool factor to do as a household the place Mum and Dad ease up on the foundations a bit and allow them to maintain themselves.

We used to like having an leisure system within the automotive so the children can watch films. We had one on our whole journey round Australia and it was a lifesaver, notably with Savannah being so younger.

Now our ladies have their very own units so not as wanted.

We advocate you’ve got your kids every pack an leisure bag for the street journey. In the event that they neglect, then they endure with boredom. Allow them to really feel the consequence of that. They’ll bear in mind subsequent time for those who do, and also you’ll not must do something for them.

Our youngsters are additionally accountable for packing their very own street journey snacks.

Listed here are another concepts for issues to do within the automotive:

  • Board video games – we like the miniature magnetic variations you will get of video games like snakes and ladders, checkers, and clue. They’re straightforward to retailer and use in a automotive.
  • Interactive street journey video games – you recognize these widespread ones like, Eye Spy or Purple Automobile, Blue Automobile (a counting recreation).
  • Coloring and studying books
  • Journal writing
  • Pill video games and flicks

Don’t neglect to speak to the children. Ask them to look out the window and speak about what you possibly can see. I as soon as performed a recreation with the women within the automotive that went for hours.

It was referred to as, “Guess Mummy’s new identify.” It was created after Savannah’s tenth whines over how bored she was and had nothing to do. I advised her that I modified my identify. It was not Mummy. And I couldn’t reply her till she guessed my new identify.

She was not bored.

Permit spontaneous video games like that to pop up. Your kids will find it irresistible and it creates a complete new household trip reminiscence.

Now Hit the Highway!

snow canyon state park utah road trip
Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

Now you understand how to plan a street journey with youngsters, all that’s left so that you can do is pack the automotive and drive away.

Put your arms within the air and provides a celebratory cheer. The arduous yards are over and you’ll chill out and luxuriate in your street journey.

Hearken to Our Recommendations on Our Podcast

On the go? Hearken to our podcast with our street journey with ideas! We share our high ideas talked about on this information in addition to tales of mishaps and enjoyable instances on the street. Press play beneath.

Household Highway Journey Ideas Video

Watch the video beneath for extra recommendations on learn how to plan a street journey with youngsters:

Extra Household Journey Ideas

The place is your favourite street journey vacation spot? Tell us within the feedback!