Long Car Trips with Children

Long Car Trips with Children

I’ve been so busy getting into the routine of groups and all the new things that go with a new school year, I haven’t written about our trip to Cardiff at the beginning of September.

My Grandparents live in Cardiff and whilst Damian had some leave from work, we decided to head over for a couple of nights. We didn’t have any real fixed plans, other than to spend some time with my Grandparents and to take the children to Cardiff Castle.

cardiff castle

I’ve done many journeys to and from Cardiff and some have been terrible – hitting traffic at every turn and it taking an inordinate amount of time! That sort of journey is frustrating as an adult, let alone for a four, a three and a one year old, so in a bid to minimise the chance of things going wrong should we be caught in traffic etc we did a few simple things.

Plan the journey

This was an easy one for us – we know the route quite well so we knew the motorway junctions and the areas where traffic can be bad. My parents had made the journey a day or too earlier so they’d told us about some planned roadworks and the route they’d taken to minimise the delay. We also made sure the boring things like petrol and oil were checked as well as the tyre pressure. We have also recently had an MOT and servicing (via Kwik Fit servicing) so knew that all was OK with the car too. Having done the journey in an old dodgy car I do appreciate my newer, more reliable car these days.

car trip with children

Pack accessible items

We made sure we had a case in the boot of the car with all our clothes in, but also a bag to hand with nappies for Mr H, drinks, snacks and a few other bits. There’s nothing worse than hearing the moans of I’m hungry! We had some simple things like Malt loaf, brioche and we later picked up some jelly babies at a service station (it’s amazing how the bribe of a jelly baby can keep small children quiet!).

We also let the children have their fave soft toys in the car to play with, as well as giving them an i-spy book each. We love these books and the ones that Mr D and Miss E have are I-spy every vehicle on the road and i-spy on a car journey. These books kept them entertained there and back! Worth every single penny.

Rest Stops

In the past, Damian and I would, most likely, have just driven the journey in one go, not bothering to stop unless the weather was particularly bad and making driving tiring. But now, the children need that break; a chance to pop to the loo, stretch legs and just not be in the car. We made a stop after a few hours and made sure the children went to the loo and had drinks as well as an opportunity to run around a bit.

We popped into a shop to get a bite to eat before heading back to the car. We stopped for about 30-40 mins I think. It’s worth planning where you’ll stop if you can; there are a couple of service stations that I prefer to stop at on the route to Cardiff as I know they’re well stocked with shops/eateries etc.

Allow sleep

Whilst I’m never a huge fan of the children sleeping for a long period in the day – it can make bedtime awful – I was keen for them to sleep some of the journey. I knew they’d have a busy couple of days plus it makes the journey pass quicker! I think all three of them slept at various stages on the way there, and certainly on the way back they did for a long stretch.

Our journey went quite well, we hit a small amount of traffic on the way there, but nothing too ba and the journey home was perfect. The children did really well, only getting restless towards the end but I can’t blame the for that. I hope to share a bit more about our time in Cardiff when I get chance as we had a lovely time.

car trip with childrenThis is a collaborative post



  1. Pat
    20th September 2017 / 20:47

    Those i Spy books look fab.

  2. Lisa (Travel Loving Family)
    21st September 2017 / 14:42

    We are big fans of the iSpy books too;) They are great for entertaining little ones

  3. 21st September 2017 / 19:28

    Fab tips! Always pays to plan ahead with little ones. I always make sure the ipads are charged up before anything else! 🙂 x

  4. 22nd September 2017 / 14:47

    We go to London quite regularly with the kids and we drive. Once the trip is planned with breaks and entertainment, the kids are happy.

  5. 22nd September 2017 / 19:52

    My children have always been on long car journeys since they were babies so I’m quite lucky in that they travel well and understand that we will be in the car for some time.

  6. 22nd September 2017 / 22:36

    I know exactly what you mean by jelly baby bribes. On our recent USA road trip we used the same tactic to bribe BattleKid to be good until our next stop and it worked. We did lots of driving with lots of stops and it’s amazing how far 3 jelly babies will stretch between stops!

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