One thing we get asked a whole lot is what is the best age for kids to travel Australia on a family road trip?
Our answer to anyone is: Go the very second you can!
But, of course, life’s not always as simple as that, is it? Having your children out exploring Australia at any age, is an enriching experience for the entire family, no matter the age or length of time, getting out on the road, sharing unique adventures with your kids is truly a life-changing opportunity.
That being said, here’s some of the biggest considerations for when you should head off on your big lap of Australia and our thoughts, which have changed since we originally began planning, hit the road, and then became stalled again:
How long are you planning to travel Australia, and what suits kids?
The length of time you want to head off on the road can impact the best age for your child to go on your Aussie adventure. If you’re only doing a short trip and need to move quickly in order to see a whole lot, then you’ll need to consider how well your children will travel.
For younger children, being stuck in a car seat for hours on end can be really frustrating and it’s hard to communicate as a parent that you’ll arrive soon. Young children just want to move and play.
You know how much travel time your children can cope with, and go with what suits your child. Ours were doing 5 hour car trips from the time they were born; as we’d often go and visit family. As people moved further away, that stretched into 7-8 hour car trips, but I know lots of kids who would never have coped with that (as well as some parents who would have considered a trip that long their worst nightmare).
Slow travel means you can break travel into shorter distances, making it a little easier for everyone.
How much do you want to see during your Aussie Road Trip?
If you’re wanting to take in the entire country in just a matter of months, this is likely to end up a stressful experience no matter the age of the kids. In our experience, taking quality time to see fewer things is a better recipe for family travel success!
Our first ever long trek, we knew we had 3 weeks, a hire car and a tent. We also knew we wanted to see Central Australia, and so we travelled from Darwin, through Kakadu and down the centre to Adelaide over a three week period when the kids were aged 18 months, 3 and 5. They were all good travellers and although we were moving pretty quickly, they coped well with it. That pace wouldn’t have been sustainable for longer travel, but it worked well to get a taste of adventure.
Knowing how long you’ve got, and how much you want to see, it pays to make certain areas or landmarks a priority and focus your travels around these places.
What Type of Accommodation are you Travelling With?
Is your accommodation cozy and child friendly? There are families out and about in tents, camper trailers and caravans and other options too, but your type of accommodation may affect your child’s comfort and stamina for travel.
While the Jayco Swan was a good choice, and I’d use one again for shorter trips; for us it became awkward for our children to share the queen bed together and we knew that it wasn’t going to be a viable long-term solution, and so bunks in a caravan became our goal.
Comfort definitely plays a role in how well the entire family copes with the travel process, and budget options are awesome, and great, it’s better getting out and exploring than not at all, so it shouldn’t be a deterrent but it should be a consideration for what your children will cope with.
What is your Travel Goal?
Why do you want to head off? Is it for freedom, to leave behind an unhappy job, to take a short break, do discover a new region to settle down in? Knowing your goal and what you hope to get out of the process, will help guide you when deciding if your children are at the right age to undertake that goal achieving travel with you.
Life is Meant to be an Adventure!
It doesn’t matter what you decide, how old your kids are, how far you get, how many places you do or don’t see, the entire process and journey is meant to be a wonderful adventure. It is not going to be a perfect adventure. Things will go wrong. Things will be amazing. Things will be stressful. Things will be awesome and unforgettable.
Just like most things in life, there’s never a perfect time, other than this very moment we’ve been given to make the most of the time we have.
Happy travels, comment below if you have any questions or drop us an email!