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10 things that always happen on a family road trip


And you thought you could prepare for it…

Smiling family taking a road tripWe all love our children. But, let’s be honest, being stuck in the car with them on family road trips can really test us.

No matter how many technological distractions they have, there’s always havoc to be wreaked.

Here are some family journey incidents we’re sure you’re all familiar with:

1. You'll never leave on time

Things never go according to your well-planned schedule when kids are in the picture.

If you’re lucky, you’ll have everything ready to go, key in the ignition, kids in tow… And BAM! You’ll remember you’re missing something important.  

Failing that, you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll be returning in the next ten minutes, either for your teenager’s phone charger or your toddler’s favourite teddy.

Oh, and how could we forget the inevitable argument of who locked the front door... and then the realisation that nobody did.

2. The most expensive toilet trip of your life

Despite spending the last 10 minutes before you left the house encouraging everyone to go to the toilet, unsurprisingly 20 minutes into your journey someone needs to go.

You’ll spend the next 10 minutes negotiating on when you can stop at the earliest convenience, and avoiding an embarrassing accident.

When you finally manage to stop, which is likely to be at a service station, everyone forgets about their desperation and browses in the over-inflated shops for snacks, drinks and magazines.

3. The drop & twist

So, you’re driving, and your child drops their beloved toy for the 4th time.

You yank the seatbelt for some room, you thrust the air and twist in the most unflattering manner, as you reach down into the abyss that is the footwell behind you.

And all of this is carried out while driving. Plus of course you’ll be performing this trick all over again in 10 minutes’ time.

Who said parents weren’t skilful?

4. Now that's what I call Disney

If we’re all being totally honest, at first, Frozen was a guilty pleasure soundtrack to listen and sing along to in the car.

Now, some years later and the 1,000th time of blasting Let It Go to keep the kids ‘quiet’, we bet it’s starting to grind on you just a bit.

Especially when you stop at traffic lights, with the windows down, and unknowingly find yourself acting out Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

At least the driver in the car next to you found it amusing.

5. Refereeing

At some point on this never-ending journey you’ll end up being a referee.

Trivial squabbling you can deal with, but when it turns into screaming and thumping you’re having none of it.

When authority doesn’t work, your only option is bribery. We’ve all been there!

6. Are we there yet?

Kids have no concept of time. Whether it's 10 minutes into the journey or 3 hours, you’ll insistently get asked if you’re nearly there and how long is left.

Unfortunately there’s no way to avoid this, unless you want to make it into a game – think up some devilish forfeits for the next person to ask the dreaded question!

7. The threat

You’ll threaten to stop the car, turn it around, and head home numerous times during your journey.

You try to be the peacekeeper, and this normally buys you about 30 minutes of good behaviour.

Of course you have no intention of actually turning around. That would only prolong the agony of having to endure the horror all over again.

8. Someone will let loose

It’s unavoidable. You’re trapped in a car for endless hours, fizzy drinks are flowing, the snacks are now just a memory. All of a sudden you’re hit with an all-too-familiar smell.

Of course, no one will admit to the crime, and you spend the next five minutes throwing around accusations, then end up with the same three possibilities as usual:
1. It was surrounding farmland.
2. It was car fumes.
3. Someone’s a fibber.

9. Breaking point

You can only play eye-spy and cheese on wheels for so long. After a while the car games will go sour.

With the endless arguing, the continuous music, and never-ending questions – it all gets too much and you give in.

Anything goes by this point in the journey. All of your own gadgets are forfeited to the back seats and any snacks you were saving for the latter part of the journey are surrendered.

We call this 'the breaking point'.

10. You remember there’s a return journey

And finally, as the commotion abates and you reach your destination, you’re hit with the realisation that you have to get home. All this chaos will have to happen again.

You analyse all the things that went wrong, and start planning how you will do things differently on the way home.

By this point you’re all exhausted from the last few hours’ events, but you’ve made it to your destination!


Nothing says family-togetherness like a road trip. You may not think it at the time, but you will look back on these memories fondly.

But you won't envy your kids as they embark on their own family journeys.


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