Traveling with children – the car journey

The success of taking a trip away for a few days is solely reliant upon me having built a kit of useful traveling pieces, honed to perfection after more than 3 years now of visiting European cities with at least one child. When Emmie was born we were adamant that her presence wouldn’t affect our frequent breaks and up to a point, it hasn’t. What has changed though is the fact that I have to identify, pack and lug a whole load of stuff now that initially makes my life so much harder, but without it we’d be returning home before we’d even arrived.

It feels slightly out of season to be writing a post like this, May or June might have been more timely and appropriate, however as we edge towards Christmas, I’m sure many of you will be traveling cross-country to see family and friends so I hope it will be useful.

Living where we do, we often drive to our destination. The Brit in me baulks at anything over 2 hours but the American in my husband doesn’t consider anything under 5 hours a real car journey. Before we’ve even left the driveway, there’s normally a screech for “Dora”, “Mary Poppins” or “Tinkerbell” that is accompanied by “I need my games, Mummy, games please”. We use an iPad for this because it’s just what we’ve always had and if you cut me open I’d bleed Apple. I was certain that there’d be no deals on Steve Jobs’ products because, well, it’s Apple but to my utter surprise I found an online exclusive.


The Leap Pad2 Explorer is just £29.00 from £49.00 at Toys R Us (reserve online only) although it doesn’t play films or TV shows.

The 16GB WiFi iPad for £299.00 rather than £319.00 at Currys

The 16GB Acer Iconia is now £79.00 down from £89.00 at Tesco

If like me, you get all anxiety-ridden at the first beat of the tinkly noise emanating from the back seat then headphones are also a must.


These Sony ones are £10.27 from £19.45 at Amazon

The JVC Tinyphones Headphones now £12.49 was £14.49 at Currys

I absolutely adore these John Lewis Tech Fairisle Dot Hear Muffs now £4.50 was £15.00

Finally it really, really isn’t the season now for Cool Bags but they are essential for our road trips. Two children, well three if you count my co-pilot, in a car for hours on end means snacks need to be at the ready. I bought mine when we lived in Swindon (or the edge of the Cotswolds as I liked to call it!) at the biggest Asda in the world but right now Robert Dyas has a few reduced, as does World of Camping and Blacks.


Tomorrow I’ve got a great list of sight-seeing absolute must-haves. Honestly, you really need all of them. They stop me from losing the plot and allow me to maintain some semblance of sanity and normality whilst checking out the tourist traps.