Taking the family on a road trip can be a great getaway and a 4WD adventure with off-road aspects to it is a fun way to embark on a holiday that will be memorable for all the right reasons. It can also help to impart your love of the great outdoors to your kids.

Why Take Your Kids on Off-Road Adventures?

Travelling with kids on adventures in the Outback is a great way to bond as a family and create lasting memories. It helps foster a love of travelling and it gives your kids unique new experiences. They get to see their beautiful and diverse country and learn invaluable lessons along the way. Kids also benefit by learning patience, becoming more adaptable, and they can experience different landscapes, ecosystems, environments, and even climates. They can learn map skills, discover their own adventurous spirit and feed their curiosity. It is also a great way to build on family relationships and bonds.

If you’re thinking about an extended trip which may mean that the kids will miss some school, don’t forget they can incorporate some of their schoolwork into practical life skills:

  • Geography – read the map and get them learning to navigate
  • Maths – calculate fuel consumption or how many kilometers you’re travelling each day
  • English – write a family blog or send postcards to friends back home

There’s nothing better than applying some of their education into real life scenarios.

Travel Safety with Kids

4WD-ing can truly be a fantastic family affair – but the key to having a great time is to plan ahead and make safety your top priority. You need to understand that 4WD-ing has its own set of challenges and hazards and that having kids along for the ride requires an extra level of care and attention.

Let’s face it: kids are naturally curious. They need a bit more supervision than normal when they’re in the great outdoors, and you need to consider some things specifically when you’re going on any road trip, but even more so with kids:

  • Driver Safety: driving off-road always requires adherence to traffic laws. Everyone must wear seatbelts even when travelling in the most remote areas. Younger children must be restrained properly in their car seats. All body parts must be kept within the vehicle while travelling and adventure 4WD-ing, so keep kids’ windows rolled up – this also prevents scratches from vegetation and bugs and dust from entering the 4WD.Always check the area around your vehicle prior to starting your vehicle as kids can be difficult to see. The driver should always be the last person out of the vehicle and the first one in, just in case it rolls unexpectedly. Also, keep kids well away from the vehicle during activities like winching.
  • Personal Safety: Be very aware that kids can easily get lost, especially in the bush. Kids should be given a device for signalling – this includes a whistle worn around the neck, and a mini torch. Even the youngest kids should know their own names and their parents’ names, and ideally, their address and phone number for a parent. Teach kids not to wander off and to stay with their sibling or buddy. Make it clear which areas are “out-of-bounds”. Every child should also have his or her own water bottle. If you’re in the bush, remember a warm jacket, sun protection, a hat, insect repellent, and closed in shoes. It’s also a good idea to dress kids in bright colours so they can be easily seen in the bush or when swimming.
  • More Safety Tips:
    • Plan your trip to include stops for facilities and time out for the kids to run and play. Try not to spend all day driving from A to B and avoid driving at night.
    • Make kids aware of potential hazards like ant nests, snakes, mine shafts, cliffs, other vehicles, spiders, etc.
    • Plan ahead to have plenty of fresh water, snacks, etc.
    • During challenging parts of the trip (both off-road and in heavy city traffic), the kids need to be quiet and calm.
    • Take plenty of rest stops.

Keeping Kids Entertained on a Road Trip

Not all parts of a road trip are fun for passengers, especially kids. Keeping them happy and entertained is essential! Some ideas include:

  • Puzzles – including dot-to-dot and crossword puzzles. Or you could take travel jigsaws.
  • Driving Games – for example, Eye Spy, Twenty Questions, Count the Cars, or even card games.
  • Have a story-telling contest or a joke-telling competition.
  • Play music from everyone’s playlists. Have a singalong!
  • If your kids don’t suffer from travel sickness, they could use a tablet or smartphone for entertainment. But keep in mind, there’s a big world to see out there and time away from digital devices can be a great thing during a family holiday.

ARB’s website has a Kid’s Corner page with printable games and puzzles that are ideal for a road trip – including colouring in, crosswords, mazes, dot-to-dots, spot the difference, and word searches.

Visit ARB Maroochydore

If you’re planning a road trip with the kids, your first stop should be ARB Maroochydore! Owners Nick & Lara, who have many years of personal experience road-tripping around Australia with their son, are very proud to welcome you and share their expertise when it comes to all aspects of 4WD and adventuring – and they have the know-how to get your trip with the family off to a great start.

Contact us via our contact form, call us on (07) 5475 4011 or visit ARB Maroochydore in person six days per week. We look forward to meeting you!