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Travel Tips: Navigating long car journeys with kids

Aren’t holidays with kids fun? What about car journeys? Slightly challenging? Here at Banjo HQ, we’ve experienced a few long car journeys with our little ones and preparation is key! We’ve put together a few of our travelling tips that we hope will help get you through the traffic jams.

Give yourself lots of extra time.

Double, or even triple your estimation of how long everything will take. Everything takes longer with kids so, don’t think that car journeys will ever be different. 

Want to get straight there or, make a day of it?

Start your holiday early by making your journey part of the trip. There are plenty of great attractions (from historic houses to theme parks) to stop off along the way and give you and the kids a little break from the car.

Alternatively, if you’re more interested in getting to your destination as soon as possible (or there’s nothing much to see on the way!) then consider the most direct route and then you’ll be in the car (hopefully!) for the shortest amount of time.

Night or daytime driving? 

Some of us at Banjo HQ think driving through the night is better as roads are quieter and it means your little ones can sleep through the journey, waking up rested and refreshed at your destination. Having an easy pizza dinner (where they can eat the pizza in the car wrapped up too!) and pop them in their pjs with blankets, means they are more likely to have a better night’s sleep and you won’t be stuck in so much traffic.  If you would rather drive during the day, leave as early as you can and plan your route around any events during the day that may cause congestion.

Check your car! 

It is always worth doing a quick car check to ensure your car is in a good condition, as you don’t want to be breaking down with the kids halfway through the trip.

Food, glorious food!

Snacks, snacks, snacks! Make sure you have packed plenty, with extra drinks and maybe more fun food for them to eat. Store dry snacks in plastic containers and avoid anything that’s likely to make a mess, such as ice-lollies or yogurts. Maybe get them to pack their lunch boxes before you leave too so it makes the trip extra special too.

Backpacks packed with books/activity books/stickers

Let each child take their own activity pack, or if they are too young, pack it for them. Kids can do a lot with simple colour crayons and blank paper. We love this lap tray that they can use to draw, write and use their imagination as much as they want! 

Screen time

This is a long, probably dull journey for children so allow them some screen time to make the time go faster. Remember the chargers and headphones (if needed!) and make sure you’ve downloaded anything they may need to watch/play.

Check out RAC’s guide to the best apps for kids before you set off. And if you don’t fancy your latest tech getting ruined by sticky fingers, invest in a cover, case or even use a clear plastic food bag as a last resort.


Everyone loves a surprise. They shake things up a bit. Wrap a small toy or sticker book and a pretty bow. They’ll love it.

Practical stuff to take

We think a rubbish bag, towel/wipes, a ball/frisbee (to tire the kids out during rest stops!) and a first aid kit tends to get missed off the list but, definitely good to pack if you have the space. 

Car games!

Eye spy, number plates counting.. There are so many games you can play but check out this blog with lots of other games to play on car journeys

Have a singalong!

Download some playlists, get singing together and make the time go that little bit faster. Try audiobooks too! The Harry Potter books are a favourite here at Banjo HQ.

We hope these tips help – happy travels! 

Love from, Banjo HQ x