Dukes Pass in Scotland

Thinking of a road trip with kids this year? Family road trips are my favourite type of family travel. From being able to set off whenever we like to stop along the way I find them great for family travel. The freedom that road trips offer outweigh the downsides to road trips with kids. That being said I have put together with the help of other bloggers the top pros and cons for road tripping with kids.

I also have a great post on surviving road trips with children too if you are looking for some extra reading.

Ups & Downs For Road Trips With Kids

Pros To Road Trips With Kids

UK Motorway
Picture Credit: Janet from Falcondale Life

Something Different

When you go on a family holiday by plane then you don’t get to see your surroundings as you travel. However, a road trip with kids you are guaranteed to see the scenery as you drive along (okay, unless you drive in the dark!)

Sarah from Just Buttons said – We travelled to an island in Scotland when my boy was 9 months old and it was great. It did involve more stops at service stations but it was nice to go somewhere which didn’t involve flights.

Cath from Passports and Adventures said – They are a great adventure even with young kids. You see so much more of a country from the road.

Quality Time Together

Just like a plane a family road trip means you are all in the same place. However, on a plane you can be split up if there is more than 3 of you. So just being able to sit in the car all together, chatting away and spending some quality time together is a great way to start your family holiday.  Emma from Our Fairytale Adventure said We drove to Copenhagen and back last year with our two young children. We had so much fun on our little adventure, exploring new places and spending quality time together.

family on a road trip
Picture Credit: Louise from Pink Pear Bear

New Places To Visit

Do you know what are fun things to do on a road trip for kids? Play areas or places to go on a road trip that you can stop at and stretch their legs along the way. It is the simple things in life that keep the kids entertained on long journeys. Veronica from My Parenting Journey agrees and says  I try to research an interesting destination along the way so we can cross it off the list. It gives my kids something to look forward to. Victoria from Lylia Rose said the pros are definitely getting out of the house, going on an adventure, seeing somewhere new.

Take What You Want

One of the major positives for is being able to take lots of road trip supplies with us. I have quite a big family car which makes the perfect road trip car for us. This means if I want to take the kids bikes with us or if I want to take all our food and road trip essentials then we can do. I also have a trailer that I attach to the car if we are doing a road trip with the dogs. There are endless possibilities.

What to bring on a road trip – Self Catering

Picture Credit: Katy from Otis and Us

Snack and Eat What You Want, When You Want

I don’t know about you but my boys love their food. As my boys are gluten and milk free, eating on a plane can be difficult especially at meal times. With a road trip, I can have all their snacks handy, so I can pass them to them when needed. I can also stop and have picnics and restock if needed.

Stop When You Want

Just like above, if we run out of anything or need to go for a toilet break, then I can find somewhere suitable to stop. We have done long road trips with toddlers and even when my boys were babies, and I found the ability to stop when we want a game-changer for family travel.

Emma from Me and B Make Tea said we’ve done long trips up to Yorkshire. The main thing i’d say is to plan. We always stop off along the m1 where we know there is a softplay just off the motorway. It breaks up the journey well and, it means B got to run around and stretch his legs, and he’d sleep for the next 4 hour stint!

and Louise from Pink Pear Bear said we do loads of long road trips in our camper Wilma and have got it down to a fine art! We plan in breaks where they can run around for half an hour, we give them activity packs and we also have mini DVD players for the last bits when they are getting a bit fed up.

trailer full of family items for a road trip

You Make The Decisions

What makes the best road trips with kids is the fact that you make the decisions. No rushing to the airport 2 hours before your flight for check in. So sitting at departures waiting for your flight to depart. The best family road trips for us our ones where you leave the house relaxed and looking forward to your adventure. Katy from Otis and Us agreed and said road trips allow for you to travel at your own speed, with no set departure or arrival times.

Plane or Boat – What We Prefer

Save Money

I have found personally that taking my car on a road trip to somewhere in Europe or just staying in the UK, is cheaper to do that flying. Especially if we are visiting France, Belgium, Holland etc. The cost of flying can be so expensive nowadays and doesn’t help if you have a large family.

french toll station

Good Old Fashioned Fun

When you are in the car you need some good old fashioned travel games for kids to keep them entertained. I remember as a child playing I Spy and other fun road trip games for kids. Becky from A Beautiful Space said road trips can be great for good old fashioned fun, chatting, singing, word games and lots and lots of togetherness without distraction. While Sarah at Boo Roo and Tigger Too enjoys listening to music as well as the traditional games “We have travelled on long car journeys since each of my children were babies. My mum lives a six-hour drive away so they are used to the long periods in the car. It is a chance for us to reconnect with traditional games such as i-spy, spot the Eddie Stobbart lorry etc. As well as listen to music and the children can read and play with toys in the back.

In car entertainment for toddlers and kids


Cons To Road Tripping With Kids

two children on a road trip

It Can Take Time

I have driven to the South of France before from Scotland. It took us 2 overnight stops (one on the ferry and one in a hotel) before we reached the Ardeche. However, if we had flown over then we would have made it within the day. So you have to make sure you plan for everything from motorway delays to breakdowns. Kelly-Anne from Mimi Rose and Me said be prepared for anything and everything. A meltdown, a nap, a moan, a hungry little one. Always have a bag of snacks at hand, never travel with a hangry toddler!!!

You Have To Do All The Car Prep

There is a lot of road trip preparation to do. You need to make sure your car is ready for long journeys. Check the tire pressure, check the oil etc. If you fly then you don’t have to deal with any of this preparation.

UK Motorway
Picture Credit: Janet from Falcondale Life

Fuel Costs & Breakdown Cover

On such a long road journey, you are bound to have to fill up with fuel. Depending on where you go will depend on just how much you have to spend. Remote places sometimes have the most expensive fuel costs so you have to make sure you factor these costs into your holiday budget. On top of fuel costs, you also need to make sure you have breakdown cover, so matter where you are you are covered in case the worst happens and you get stuck at the side of the road.

Car Sickness & Fighting

One of the major road trip cons is if your children get car sick or if they don’t like being in the car. I remember on our first road trip to France with my youngest he cried and cried until I sat in the back with him. For such a long drive it was a major downer as it was very uncomfortable between two car seats and I got cramp a number of times on that journey!

Victoria from Lylia Rose said for her the cons of a road trip with kids would be the children getting bored in the car, being travel sick or fighting with each other.

Sat Nav Car

Janet from Falcondale Life said long road journeys were a complete disaster when our kids were young. They hated every minute and made it very clear to us! My eldest was just beside herself. My youngest was travel sick. It was so bad that we spent years barely visiting my parents or eldest sister (4 hours drive in different directions). I was so sad about this for years. Once they were older i.e. mid-primary school, we began to make up for lost time. We have done many 7 hour drives on holiday and love to go away by car.

There you have it, the pros and cons of road trips with kids. All in all, for us the pros outweigh the cons and I really do prefer a road trip with kids to flying with kids. Do you have any pros or cons to add to our list? Let me know in the comments below!

The ultimate pros and cons to road trips with kids | Family Road Trips with kids

About Author

I have always had an interest in travel and now I have My two boys I want them to see more than just the UK. I hope to give advice and tips to other parents who are anxious about travelling with their children.

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  1. While it is true that road tripping with your children comes with a lot of baggage (excuse the pun), I do agree with you Sam; the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Sure, parents do have to deal with the occasional car sickness, occasional fighting among the children sitting in the back seats, and the often annoying preparation before the road trip even begins. However, being able to bond with your children while traveling provides great memories and priceless experiences. That alone makes it worth the hassle in my opinion. Thank you Sam for writing such an interesting post!

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