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How to Road Trip with Kids? Mothers’ Top 10 Pre-Trip Thoughts

ALEXANDRA WHITTINGTON, from Stay At Home Mums, found a million thoughts went through her mind before, and during, a road trip from Brisbane to Sydney with her three-year-old daughter Magnolia and six-year-old son Oscar. Here are some of them.

alexandra with magnolia and oscar
Alexandra with Magnolia and Oscar

I recently had the bright – nay, crazy – idea to take my little tribe on a 10-hour road trip, which actually turned out to be a 15-hour road trip, to see our family. As I started to plan, I began to question my sanity and wonder if I was leading my family into a Griswold family trip from hell. These are some of the things that went through my mind.

1. This is going to be so fun! Ten hours of family bonding time

Oh wait, I guess we’ll have to stop for toilet breaks, so maybe 11 hours, oh and food, and petrol, there might be traffic and road works. Thirteen… 13 hours of family bonding time. I wonder if that Jetstar sale is still on?

2. Nope, this is going to be great! It will be a great road trip from Brisbane to Sydney

Super fun, we can play games, and sing. Actually, maybe I should buy Magnolia some headphones for her iPad so that I don’t have to listen to Ryan’s Toy Reviews on repeat for 13 hours. Better yet, I should buy myself some noise cancelling headphones so that I don’t have to listen to anything for 13 hours.

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3. What other activities can my kids do in the car other than an iPad? Colouring in?

Hmm … coloured markers without lids floating around on the floor? No thanks. Barbies? Maybe – as long as there are no markers for her to do their ‘make-up’ with, and she’ll no doubt lose all the accessories. Cars! That’s a good one – no mess, no accessories. But what will she drive them on? Why didn’t I buy one of those overpriced car tray tables when I saw them advertised on Instagram? iPad it is then!

4. A car tray table would have been really good for snacks too!

What can I buy that won’t create any mess? Ha! I crack myself up, snacks that don’t make a mess, what a dream. I’ll have to buy one of those spill-proof drink bottles too.

5. Should I limit the liquid intake for my kids during our road trip?

She better not have too much water though, or we’ll have to stop every five minutes. Why did I think beginning toilet training a week before our road trip was a good idea? Oh, well, can’t go back now … or can I? Surely going back to nappies for one more day won’t set us back too much? Fourteen hours it is.

6. I am going to need A LOT of coffee. 

I wonder where I should stop. Google shows me all the places to get coffee on the highway between here and Sydney. Wow, not a lot of options. What are the reviews like? This is hard work. Why can’t someone just make me a list? I should start a list! All the Best Places to Stop for Coffee from Brisbane to Sydney. Should I start a blog? It could be all about family road trips, and coffee … It might go viral and attract sponsors and then I could get a free car!

7. Should I download an entertaining podcast to listen while heading to Sydney?

I bet there’s a podcast about starting a blog. I should find one for the trip. I should download the latest episode of Australian True Crime while I’m at it. Is it inappropriate to listen to true crime with a toddler in the car? Hmmm, I doubt I’ll even get to listen to it anyway, between Frozen, Frozen Two, the crying, and the Trolls soundtrack.

8. Will my kids sleep most of their time?

Maybe they will sleep most of the way and I’ll get to listen to whatever I like and there will be half as many breaks so we will get there in no time at all. Does Phenergan make kids sleep? Oh my God, that’s a terrible thought! Who am I?

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9. Should we stop at the tourist attractions on the way?

It would be pretty cute to get a photo of them in front of the Big Banana, but that will add an hour to the trip … so 15 hours then. Maybe we should break it up into two days and stay at a hotel? Or three days and hire a camper van? My in-laws live halfway so we could stay there for a night. Fifteen hours straight it is!

10. I don’t know why I was getting so stressed

I just need to focus on the fact that it’s 15 hours of uninterrupted quality time with my family. Oh my God, the drive home! I haven’t even thought about that. I might just check flights one more time.

The after road trip verdict

Well in the end we all survived, fuelled by coffee, lots of belly laughs and minimal toilet-related accidents! It was certainly a very long trip, but I would absolutely do it again.


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Plantation Island MREC May24

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