Tips for Travelling with Kids in The Land Down Under

I love taking kids travelling and exploring. They are so eager to see and experience new things and it's watching their faces light up when they see a lizard on the side of the road or a kangaroo heading into the scrub.

We have travelled thousands of kilometres with our own children since they were all small babies and to be honest, we haven't had that much hassle. As long as we followed most of the points below, the kids, my husband and I really didn't have that much trouble with long distances in the car. In fact, we all actually enjoy it!

Below I have included some Tips for Travelling with Kids.

Plan the Trip

How are you going to spend the time in the car. The games to be played, talking about the places you will see, the things you might see, the places you will stop at, snacks, drinks and the things to take with you in the car.
Even planning the trip itself with the kids is great, the kids can get really excited about the holiday and even the road trip. Maybe give them a simplified version of the itinerary - this can help them be involved in the trip and it can also teach them a lot too.

Public Toilet List

This list is priceless when travelling with kids. It shows Public Toilet Lists for all States and Territories in The Land Down Under.

General Checklist for the Car

Snacks and Treats (nothing that will melt and don't forget the driver)

  • Surprise lollies and/or surprise toys
  • Wet Washcloth or disposable wet wipes
  • Small Pillow and Blanket
  • First Aid Kit
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Bottle of Water (each person)
  • Toilet Stop (toilet paper and small trowel for un-scheduled stops)
  • Jumper or Coat
  • Hat
  • Ball or Frisbee
  • Any medication that is routinely taken

Make Each Child Their Own Special Travel Pack

These packs can keep kids entertained for days and they have somewhere to keeps all their 'treasures' in.
Get the kids involved in making them - helps build the excitement for the trip.

  • Cheap Backpack (easy for the kids to look after and carry themselves and often have a pocket to hold drink bottles)
  • Packet of Pencils
  • Grey Lead Pencils
  • Pencil Sharpener (keep away from small children)
  • Reading Books
  • Writing Paper
  • Drawing Paper
  • Activity Sheets or Book - see print out games on this website
  • Small Snack
  • Drink Bottle
  • Let the kids add their favourite hand held games, music on ipods etc. as well
  • Don't forget your kids favourite toy or cuddly teddy!

Keep With You Away from the Kids

Take lots of snacks and make up some surprise parcels.
You can easily make up snack packs at home (dried fruit, nuts, pretzels, fruit etc).
The surprise parcels can be made up from any paper at home to wrap up some snacks and a cheap toy (Mc Donalds Happy Meal Toys can be purchased separately for around $2 without the need to buy a Happy Meal). The kids love these types of things and can keep the excitement of the travel going for the kids; they don't realize how long they have been in the car when they are kept busy.

Don't Take

Where possible, don't take food that can melt, squash or even go bad in the heat. Texta's and crayons should also be left at home as they can melt and leak in the car.

Stop, Revive and Stay Alive

Every 2 hours you should 'Stop to Revive and Stay Alive'. This is also true when travelling with kids. Stop every couple of hours to let the kids have a run, a stretch and a play. It doesn't have to be for very long, just long enough to wear off some of their built up energy. Remember, it's not just the destination that's the holiday, it's the journey there too.

Take Time To Smell The Roses

Take the time to stop with the kids and have a look at the creek on the side of the road, play in the park with the old tractor in it, even stop and check some of the strange things that you can find when you travel.

Every trip you take is an adventure - especially to kids. Kids can learn so much when they travel, but only if they are allowed to 'stop and smell the roses'. Often, unexpected things can and do happen when you travel and can very well be the most remembered part of the journey.

Travel Sickness

Sometimes reading, playing electronic games, winding roads, being too hot, not having enough to drink or not being able to get out and stretch your legs in the fresh air can all lead to Travel Sickness. Some people can only sit in the front of a car or bus when travelling, especially on winding roads. Most people already have found out if they have Travel Sickness and talking to your doctor or pharmacist before travelling can help with this.

Toilet Breaks

Whenever you are in range of a toilet - at the petrol stations, parks or where ever you stop for a lunch or dinner break, make use of the toilets! It is very frustrating to only back on the road and within 10 - 15 minutes, someone needs the toilet and quite often, there is not another toilet handy for kilometres!
Public Toilet Lists can give you a hand at times like this. Have a look at this site, print out the sections that apply to where you will be travelling and take it with you.

Sun Fun

Don't under estimate the Australian sun or summer. 'Slip, Slop, Slap'. Even driving in the car in summer your kids can get sunburnt. The sun's rays coming through the glass window's is intensified, similar to the sun through a magnifying glass. Take care with anyone sitting in the sun in a vehicle. The sun coming in through the back windows onto the back of the neck and head can cause dehydration, headaches and vomiting if left unchecked. Shade screens for windows and plenty of water in the car is always a good idea.

In the great outdoors of 'The Land Down Under', make sure everyone drinks plenty of water - soft drinks, cordials and juice do not replace fluids in the body like water will. Stay in the shade when you can, slip on a shirt, slop on sun screen and slap on a hat. The midday sun and even into the late afternoon is when the UV rays are at their strongest.
Remember too, that you can get wind burn and even on cloudy days in summer, you can still get burned!

Memory Maker

A scrap book of memories are great fun to make. All you need is a scrap book, a pencil and some sticky tape and away you go.

Keep any brochures of places you have been during the day, small maps, post cards, photos, ticket stubs, etc, anything you can think of while travelling. Of an evening when the travel is finished for the day, your kids can write in their Memory Book what they enjoyed best about the day or even didn't like, whatever they want and stick the brochures, postcards, etc. into the Memory Book on the same page. If they do this every day or every couple of days, when the holiday is finished, they can show friends, relatives, grandparents and have fun going over your holiday again.
My own kids have made several of these over the years and we love going back through them, especially the kids!


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