Preparing For A Family Car Trip

Image: Benimoto

We are heading up to Mildura at Easter to spend time with my family. Mildura is 550km north west of Melbourne. We have driven the Calder Hwy to Mildura countless times and each time we find some way of refining or improving our preparation. Here are some things that we have found very helpful:

Create a list.

I find it so much easier to pack it I sit down first and write down what we need. Laine at icklekids has great tips for getting the lists together. While your at ickle kids you should check ou her amazing range of Travel Toys.

Make children’s activity packs.

Activity packs help the children to pass the time on long journeys. I like to make a home made set of print outs set to suit each child. Each child has a print of the Spot the sign/animal/vehicle game. I have attached the word document below.

Spot The Sign Game

The children simply put a stroke near all the things that they see during a defined time period. Initially when I did this I just let it run, but found it runs out of steam if there is no purpose. So now, we agree on a time frame for observing items. We will choose one sheet at a time. Each child nominates what they think will be the most and least popular items that we spot. By setting up the game in this way, we can have a couple of sessions through out the trip and maintain the children’s interest.

I then make use of a number of online children’s sites, to print out more activities for them;



  • Spot the difference activities – as she can’t read, but can recognise numbers, I write a large number of the top of the sheets, so she knows how many differences to find.

    The world bookday site has a number of spot the differences and many other great activities for preschoolers.

School Age:

  • Word Searches – I make up my own using this site. I add into the search towns that we will be going through, the children’s names and for this trip words describing Easter.
  • Harry Potter Quizzes – Thinker has read all the Harry Potter series and I have just finished reading the first Harry Potter book to Little Rascal, sot hey will enjoy testing their knowledge.
  • Brain Teasers and Spot the Differences – A mix of these activities along with the Fascinating Fact Sheets should help get us through the trip.

Hire new audio books from the library for the children.

I collated a list of audio books which are suitable for long car trips, that might be useful if you are looking for some ideas as to what might be interesting for the children.


I like to make some home cooked biscuits or slices as a treat for everyone while driving. Food that isn’t too messy or sticky is ideal for the car. Here are some things that we like to make:

Battery Recharge

Recharge the batteries on iPods, cameras, videos and any other devices that you will be taking away with you. It is great to take photos during the journey and it is frustrating if the camera is flat. (Speaking from experience. 🙁 )

Make Ice.

We place containers of water in the freezer a few days before, to make ice. As we like to take our drinks we need a small cool with ice to keep them cool. I also find that fruit can keeps fresher in this as it stays cold.

What tips do you have to prepare for a long car trip?