Thinking of a road trip with kids this year? Family road trips are our favourite type of family travel. From being able to set off whenever we like to stopping along the way we find them great for family travel. The freedom that road trips offer outweigh the downsides to road trips with kids. That being said we have put together with the help of other bloggers the top pros and cons for road tripping with kids.
We also have a great post on surviving road trips with children too if you are looking for some extra reading.
Ups & Downs For Road Trips With Kids
Pros To Road Trips With Kids
When you go on a family holiday by plane then you don’t get to see your surroundings as you travel. However, a road trip with kids you are guaranteed to see the scenery as you drive along (okay, unless you drive in the dark!)
Sarah from Just Buttons said – We travelled to an island in Scotland when my boy was 9 months old and it was great. It did involve more stops at service stations but it was nice to go somewhere which didn’t involve flights.
Cath from Battle Mum said – They are a great adventure even with young kids. You see so much more of a country from the road.
Quality Time Together
Just like a plane a family road trip means you are all in the same place. However, on a plane you can be split up if there is more than 3 of you. So just being able to sit in the car all together, chatting away and spending some quality time together is a great way to start your family holiday. Emma from Our Fairytale Adventure said We drove to Copenhagen and back last year with our two young children. We had so much fun on our little adventure, exploring new places and spending quality time together.
New Places To Visit
Do you know what are fun things to do on a road trip for kids? Play areas or places to go on a road trip that you can stop at and stretch their legs along the way. It is the simple things in life that keep the kids entertained on long journeys. Veronica from My Parenting Journey agrees and says I try to research an interesting destination along the way so we can cross it off the list. It gives my kids something to look forward to. Victoria from Lylia Rose said the pros are definitely getting out of the house, going on an adventure, seeing somewhere new.
Take What You Want
One of the major positives for is being able to take lots of road trip supplies with us. We have quite a big family car which makes the perfect road trip car for us. This means if we want to take the kids bikes with us or if we want to take all our food and road trip essentials then we can do. We also have a trailer that we attach to the car if we are doing a road trip with the dogs. There are endless possibilities.
Snack and Eat What You Want, When You Want
I don’t know about you but our boys love their food. As our boys are gluten and milk free, eating on a plane can be difficult especially at meal times. With a road trip we can have all their snacks handy, so we can pass them to them when needed. We can also stop and have picnics and restock if needed.
Stop When You Want
Just like above, if we run out of anything or need to go for a toilet break, then we can find somewhere suitable to stop. We have done long road trips with toddlers and even when our boys were babies, and we found the ability to stop when we want a game changer for family travel.
Emma from Me and B Make Tea said we’ve done long trips up to Yorkshire. The main thing i’d say is to plan. We always stop off along the m1 where we know there is a softplay just off the motorway. It breaks up the journey well and, it means B got to run around and stretch his legs, and he’d sleep for the next 4 hour stint!
and Louise from Pink Pear Bear said we do loads of long road trips in our camper Wilma and have got it down to a fine art! We plan in breaks where they can run around for half an hour, we give them activity packs and we also have mini DVD players for the last bits when they are getting a bit fed up.
You Make The Decisions
What makes the best road trips with kids is the fact that you make the decisions. No rushing to the airport 2 hours before your flight for check in. So sitting at departures waiting for your flight to depart. The best family road trips for us our ones where you leave the house relaxed and looking forward to your adventure. Katy from Otis and Us agreed and said road trips allow for you to travel at your own speed, with no set departure or arrival times.
We have found personally that taking our car on a road trip to somewhere in Europe or just staying in the UK, is cheaper to do that flying. Especially if we are visiting France, Belgium, Holland etc. The cost of flying can be so expensive nowadays and doesn’t help if you have a large family.
Good Old Fashioned Fun
When you are in the car you need some good old fashioned travel games for kids to keep them entertained. I remember as a child playing I Spy and other fun road trip games for kids. Becky from A Beautiful Space said road trips can be great for good old fashioned fun, chatting, singing, word games and lots and lots of togetherness without distraction. While Sarah at Boo Roo and Tigger Too enjoys listening to music as well as the traditional games “We have travelled on long car journeys since each of my children were babies. My mum lives a six-hour drive away so they are used to the long periods in the car. It is a chance for us to reconnect with traditional games such as i-spy, spot the Eddie Stobbart lorry etc. As well as listen to music and the children can read and play with toys in the back.
Cons To Road Tripping With Kids
It Can Take Time
We have driven to the South of France before from Scotland. It took us 2 overnight stops (one on the ferry and one in a hotel) before we reached the Ardeche. However, if we had flown over then we would have made it within the day. So you have to make sure you plan for everything from motorway delays to breakdowns. Kelly-Anne from Mimi Rose and Me said be prepared for anything and everything. A meltdown, a nap, a moan, a hungry little one. Always have a bag of snacks at hand, never travel with a hangry toddler!!!
You Have To Do All The Car Prep
There is a lot of road trip preparation to do. You need to make sure you car is ready for long journeys. Check the tire pressure, check the oil etc. If you fly then you don’t have to deal with any of this preparation. Although this is my husbands task to do if we go on a long car journey with our boys. It’s one less thing for me to deal with.
Fuel Costs & Breakdown Cover
On such a long road journey, you are bound to have to fill up with fuel. Depending on where you go will depend on just how much you have to spend. Remote places sometimes have the most expensive fuel costs so you have to make sure you factor these costs into your holiday budget. On top of fuel costs, you also need to make sure you have breakdown cover, so matter where you are you are covered in case the worst happens and you get stuck at the side of the road.
Car Sickness & Fighting
One of the major road trip cons is if your children get car sick or if they don’t like being in the car. I remember on our first road trip to France with our youngest he cried and cried until I sat in the back with him. For such a long drive it was a major downer as it was very uncomfortable between two car seats and I got cramp a number of times on that journey!
Victoria from Lylia Rose said for her the cons of a road trip with kids would be the children getting bored in the car, being travel sick or fighting with each other.
Janet from Falcondale Life said long road journeys were a complete disaster when our kids were young. They hated every minute and made it very clear to us! My eldest was just beside herself. My youngest was travel sick. It was so bad that we spent years barely visiting my parents or eldest sister (4 hours drive in different directions). I was so sad about this for years. Once they were older i.e. mid-primary school, we began to make up for lost time. We have done many 7 hour drives on holiday and love to go away by car.
There you have it, the pros and cons of road trips with kids. All in all for us the pros outweigh the cons and we really do prefer a road trip with kids to flying with kids. Do you have any pros or cons to add to our list? Let us know in the comments below!