Travel tips

Keeping Kids Busy on Road Trips

Last updated 3rd January 2017

Jetlag and Mayhem blogger Nicola Burke isn’t just an expert on long flights, she knows how to keep the kids busy on road trips too.


Keep kids entertained in the car with stickers, colouring, snacks, iPads and games of ‘eye spy’. You can even book a hire car with built in DVD player.

There are so many places to break up long car journeys, from a tourist hot spot to a shopping mall. Seek inspiration on where to stop through browsing the leaflet stand in a motel lobby or get chatting to locals. 

Originally from London, Nicola Burke has been living in Asia for the last nine years. Drawing from her experience of jetsetting around the globe with her own two young children (the good and the bad), you can find her top tips from packing lists to flight reviews at


With young kids, it’s hard to be spontaneous so I plan most of the route in advance on a spreadsheet. I book hotels, note down driving distances and pick attractions/restaurants to stop at. Typically we stay two to three nights and keep journeys under four hours (best done during nap time).

Don’t pack too much luggage. You’ll be carrying your bags in and out of hotels and with kids underfoot, best not to have too many items.



There are so many resources available to help plan your driving route from Tripadvisor to guidebooks and maps in your local library.



Book a hire car that will fit your family and luggage comfortably but not so big you can’t park it!  Parking in major cities can be expensive so you might decide to pick up the hire car a few days into your trip.  It also tends to be cheaper to pick up in town rather than at an airport.

Pay extra for a sat nav. I also print off routes in advance using MapQuest or Google Maps.

Picking up the hire car can be a painfully slow process. Bring books/toys to keep the kids entertained.


Every year we pick a US state at random, pack up the kids and head off on a road trip adventure.  With two kids under four, it might seem like a daunting prospect but with careful planning, it’s the holiday of a lifetime.