Are we there yet? I need a wee! Common chants when travelling with young children that strike fear in our hearts as parents

However there are a number of things you can do when travelling with children that can make long journeys more manageable… and even fun!


  • When travelling with children aim to keep travel times to a minimum, where possible. A train journey will allow people to move around and may be more pleasant than the same length of time in a car.
  • Consider travelling overnight, so that your child sleeps on most of the journey
  • Plan to have regular breaks if you are driving. Every two hours if possible.
  • If your child is prone to travel sickness they should sit where they can look out of the front windscreen of the car, focus on the road far ahead and not read or do an activity that involves them looking down. The best travel sickness tablets we have used are Stugeron 15, for adults and children over 5. Children over 3 can have ‘Joy rides’
  • Make sure that it will be comfortable for your child to sleep. Invest in travel pillows or sausage-shaped bead pillows, so that your child can nod off in peace. And have soft fleece blankets handy for them to snuggle up and keep warm
  • If you are in the car, and your child finds the seat-belt uncomfortable you can get fur covers for seatbelts, elephant ear head supports or car seats designed with comfort in mind. Try them out and find out which is best for your child well in advance
  • Plan to take plenty of water, drinks and snacks. Make sure you have a suitable travel beaker if you need one.
  • Have tissues, kitchen roll and wet wipes handy and a few large plastic bags without holes for any travel-sickness. Plastic bags are also useful as travel bins and nappy sacks.  A change of clothes stashed under the seat is a useful emergency measure. (honestly, you may think this is a bit extreme but I have needed to use them on several occasions)
  • A first aid kit with a few sachets of paracetamol or Neurofen elixir. We always had a small device to suck out insect stings (Aspivenin) insect repellent and some insect bite and sting relief cream.
  • With toddlers, you will need to plan regular toilet breaks, have a portable potty in the car or have a toddler who will still wee into a pull-up nappy. Older boys may be willing to wee into a plastic bottle, and for girls there is a device called a SheWee or a Wee She. However most girls would need complete privacy if they were to use one. It would be easier to have planned stops and just use them in an emergency.
  • If your children are older, tell them all about the route. Take a map and point out places of interest along the way. Get them involved in map-reading or calculating an estimated time of arrival. Take the opportunity to talk or tell stories. If you can,  tell a fantasy story that includes the names of each of the children in the car

Keeping Children amused

Where possible take along:

A travel bag

It is good to have a travel bag for each child with a selection of things that they enjoy and a few snacks and drinks for the journey. The bag could contain:

  • Hand-held electronic game, game boy, Nintendo DS or similar (borrow one if your child does not have one- for travelling these are worth relaxing the rules for)
  • A portable CD player,
  • I-touch, I-pad or similar device to play music and games
  • Books (Where’s Wally or a really good story book is great for older children)
  • Colouring books and coloured pencils or crayons
  • Paper and pens or magnetic drawing board
  • A pack of cards
  • Travel games
  • Favourite cuddly toy
  • Favourite toy
  • Some small toys such as figures or cars that will appeal to your child
  • A book of simple games, puzzles, word-finder or Sudoku, depending on the age of your child
  • Sunglasses (if sunny) or hat
  • Age appropriate magazines

Do you have any ideas of your own I could add to the list? Or have any of these ideas worked for you?

The author:

Elizabeth O’Shea is a parenting specialist child behaviour expert and one of the leading parenting experts in the UK.

Need help now? Ready to explore whether investing in some tailor-made parenting sessions would be right for you and your family? Book your FREE 20-minute call with Elizabeth here