The safest way of travelling with toddlers or young kids is by car because this is where you can look after your child every step of the way and take different safety factors into consideration.

Whether you’re going on a short ride, or you’re planning a long road trip, the rules are the same and there are many ways you can make your life easier and your ride more enjoyable. Toddlers need attention and they need something to keep them occupied so you need plenty of games prepared in order to have a smooth ride.

Know when to travel

Finding the perfect time for travelling with toddlers is never easy and there are few factors you need to take into account.

First of all, it depends on the routine of your children and their eating and sleeping schedule. If your children like sleeping in the car, try to travel when they’re supposed to be sleeping and make sure they’re comfortable and safe during the ride.

In addition to that, find out when the rush hour is and try to avoid busy traffic because kids could get annoyed with all the stops you’ll be making. Many parents like travelling early in the morning or all through the night, especially if they have a long ride ahead. This might be more tiring for them, but safer and more relaxed for the children. There are many apps that will help you track the traffic, especially to find out about accidents and roadwork that can slow you down.

Take breaks

If you have a long ride, make sure you take short breaks from time to time so that everyone can get out of the car, stretch their legs, and catch some fresh air. This is especially important if kids get fussy and become too loud. A small break can boost your energy level since navigating the road and trying to calm your children at the same time can be quite challenging.

When planning your trip, check out some of the possible stops and make sure there’s something for the kids to keep them occupied. Keep in mind that you can’t leave them unintended, so plan your breaks knowing that you have to keep them by your side at all times.

Safety first

No matter where you’re going, your child needs the best possible car seat you can provide, and with so many models on the market, finding the right one can be rather hard. From different sizes and features to various colours and patterns, there’s a lot to choose from, but you need to look for a safe car seat that will fit both your car and your child.

Once you find a model that seems perfect, make sure you install it properly and check everything before hitting the road. Many children don’t like putting the seatbelt on, but this is something you must insist on and check during the ride to make sure your child didn’t take it off.

Fun for everyone

Sure, it’s always easier to bring a tablet or a phone and let your kids watch cartoons, but 8 hours of screen-time can get a bit much. Instead of that, try to think of different games you can all play and keep the atmosphere fun and happy.
For example, you can play different word games and teach your children new vocabulary. This is a great opportunity to teach them new things without them even noticing it, and if you make it a competition, they’ll enjoy it even more! Apart from that, you can play different guessing games and adjust the difficulty to your child’s age. You can find cards that show different items and teach your children about animals, food or anything else.

Prepare healthy snacks

Just because you’re on the road doesn’t mean your family should eat unhealthy food. Instead of that, prepare healthy meals and snacks, and avoid stocking up on different unhealthy items. Coordinate your road trip itinerary with your kids’ eating schedule and make sure you give them meals on time to avoid breaking their routine and having problems once you reach your destination.
Avoid snacks with sugar because this will give your kids more energy they won’t be able to spend. Instead, find recipes for food you can store in your car or in a portable refrigerator. Raw or dried fruit is always a good option because it won’t create a mess in your car, but it’s also healthy for your children.

Travelling with toddlers doesn’t have to be a bad experience. On the contrary, if you plan it right, you’ll all have the time of your life and your loved ones are going to enjoy travelling with you more than you can anticipate!

What are your top tips for travelling with toddlers or young kids? Tell us in the comments below.

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  • So long as you have plenty of healthy snacks for your children to partake of as you drive along, then you can point out features as you drive and I always found my kids just loved going for a trip. Of course that was before the days of ipads, but they learnt along the way.


  • I think you have to not be too strict with itineraries with little ones, as it’s not easy getting everyone ready for a particular time and it’s unfair to expect that at a young age, that’s from our experience anyway!


  • I did a few plane trips with toddlers, but never a long car trip. I agree it’s the best way to travel. Set your own pace, stop for leg stretching etc


  • Break your trip up. Take lots of different entertainment, my kids are little and can’t actually read yet but they will sit and ‘read’ in the car. A baking tray with toy cars that have magnets are lots of fun and mean you don’t have to keep trying to fish toys off the floor. Singing games and I spy games in doses as big as the adults can handle also keep little people entertained.


  • Travel can be manageable if planned well


  • Time to biggest part of the drive for nap times if possible.


  • I travelled from Tassie to WA several times with toddlers on my own, it can be tricky, but not impossible


  • Thank you for the tips.
    I’m hoping we can travel to Melbourne this year so will be bookmarking this!


  • When going on long road trips i always find it easy to travel at night, that way the kids can just sleep along the way


  • When we travel we always stop at the freeway rest stops with petrol and maccas. We get out and stretch our legs, have something to eat (even if just an ice cream) and use the toilet. After that we drive straight for an hour (unless we need extra toilet stops) and stop a few towns over from our accommodation to break up the journey. Never had any issues. Of course we have portable DVD players to keep them entertained on long trips


  • I had to travel late last year for medical reasons, 3 hours by car. I took my 3 year old and 1 year old with me. I bought portable DVD players to put in the car to help keep my eldest occupied, thank you Paw Patrol. We stopped about half way for a play, run around in a park and toilet for about 20 minutes which seemed to keep both of them happy. They got time out of the car while I was at my appointment and we did a little shopping before heading home again. Both slept nearly the whole way home. I was really happy with how stress free it was for us. Fingers crossed the same happens next time around.


  • Goodness me, I’m glad we’re past this stage and it’s easier to involve the kids in verbal games to pass the time.


  • Audible books are a good option as long as the parents can stand it.

    • We adore audio books, they are so engaging.


  • Good tips and right now it is also important to check all government sites for travel advice too due to Covid restrictions etc.


  • Some of this information would have been so helpful when my boys were growing up.


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