How to prepare for driving abroad with your kids

While there are countless ways to travel on your family holiday, none offer the freedom of driving. You can travel at your own pace, stop off wherever you fancy along the way, set the temperature to whatever you want, and play your own music.

driving with kids

However, kids and long car journeys famously don’t mix. If you’re planning a driving holiday abroad with your whole family, there are a few things you need to know before you set off if you want the trip to go off without a hitch.

So, read on to make sure you and your nearest and dearest to have the best possible driving holiday abroad.

Get used to the ‘wrong’ side of the road

As any parent knows, kids are heavily influenced by their parents’ mood. If you and your partner are stressed out and flustered, your kids are going to pick up on this and become agitated as well.

So, to make sure your holiday goes as smoothly as possible, it’s important to prepare yourself for your time on foreign roads so you can take mishaps in your stride. Depending on where you’re heading to, your biggest source of stress may well be getting used to driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road.

If you don’t acclimatise to driving in the right-hand lane when you’re on foreign soil, you’ll be stressed whenever you travel. Your kids are likely to pick up on this, so it’s important to rid yourself of these nerves as quickly as possible for the best possible trip. Luckily, that’s easy if you follow these simple tips.

In its guide to adjusting to driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, Lookers recommends that you remain calm and focussed above all else, paying special attention during roundabouts and left-hand turns. One parent should take responsibility for entertaining the kids, leaving the other to focus 100% of their attention on driving. After a few days, you’re sure to feel more confident on the roads and be able to relax a bit more.

Plan plenty of stops

If you want to ensure you have a hassle-free car journey with the kids, it’s important to plan plenty of stops along the way. This applies to any long journey, but especially on your summer holiday abroad when the car can get incredibly hot and stuffy. Making frequent stops will also give you the chance to explore parts of your destination you otherwise wouldn’t get to see.

So, ahead of your trip, plan your route on Google Maps and look for nearby attractions you can stop at to get some fresh air and stretch your legs. Aim to break up the journey with a short stop every few hours to give your whole family a chance to rest and recuperate for the next leg of your journey. This will make the trip longer, but it’ll help keep your kids calm and give you a chance to see the sights of your destination.

Stock up on healthy snacks

An empty stomach is often the real cause of a tantrum so, if you want to make even the longest of car journeys go smoothly, it’s a good idea to bring plenty of snacks along for the ride.

However, not all snacks were created equal, and giving your littles ones their favourite sugary treat might well make the situation even worse. So, stock up on healthy snacks like fruit, nuts, and cereal bars before you take off on your driving holiday abroad to keep your kids happy throughout your travels. If you want some inspiration for on-the-go healthy snacks, take a look at BBC Good Food’s kid’s snacks recipes.


So, there you have it: everything you need to know to prepare for driving abroad with your kids. Follow these tips and your next family driving holiday is sure you go as smoothly as possible.

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