Our guide to planning the ultimate family road trip

To the open road and beyond

Freedom, spontaneity, escapism. American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said ‘it’s not the destination, it’s the journey’. Quests across continents, journeys of self-discovery, the thrill of the unknown. Presented heavily in film, literature, and art, embarking on a road trip is a concept that calls to our need to explore and connect.

For those seeking this unrivalled sense of freedom, a family road trip is just the ticket. There’s the opportunity to explore mesmerizing landscapes and to connect with your loved ones. You get to choose which routes to take – and along the way you get to catch glimpses of breath-taking places that you wouldn’t usually see. This is all about the joy of travelling through, not over.

With so many routes, highways, and byways to choose from, planning a family road trip can be slightly overwhelming. But that’s where we come in. As luxury travel experts, we’ve made our way along everything from the winding desert passes of Namibia to the legendary byways of the Emerald Isle. We’ve travelled from the historic harbor towns of the East coast to the sun-soaked beaches of the West, journeying beside majestic mountains, ancient redwood forests, and thundering waterfalls. And you can too.

In this detailed guide, which covers the best family road trips, we’ll give you the lowdown on everything from road trip essentials for kids to the most epic family road trip ideas. Just keep scrolling.

Road tripping in US
family on beach

Why go on a family road trip

Family road trips don’t merely take you from place to place, they take you on a deeper journey and through the other side – connecting you with the culture, design, and flavor of these places along the way. But that’s not all. This type of family trip also offers an unrivalled chance for connection and intimacy. To play car games, sing along to your favorite soundtracks on the stereo, and to marvel at the beautiful ever-changing surroundings – windows down, spirits high.

Down here on the ground, foot on the gas, you see and connect so much more than when you simply soar above it all. With much more flexibility than time-bound flights, ferries and trains, you’ll embrace a more relaxed, easy-going approach to travelling. More quality time, less airport time. This is one of the best vacations for kids.

Canoe in Canada with the family
multigenerational family road trip by the beach

Why our family trips are different

A Black Tomato family road trip isn’t just any family road trip. It’s unique and bespoke – and completely unforgettable. Building each trip from the ground up, with care, attention to detail, and thoughtfulness, we’ll choreograph your trip so that it works for everyone – from the little ones to the parents and grandparents.

No one family is the same. And we believe no family road trip should be either. But planning a trip that pleases and works for everyone can be a pretty daunting task (and hard work). And that’s where we come in. As luxury travel experts, and families ourselves, we understand that travelling as a family requires a delicate calibration. So, when you start designing your family trip with us, we’ll make sure that it suits everyone at every moment – taking away any hint of stress or uncertainty and saving you precious time and energy. Niggling out those finer details, setting aside time for bedtime and downtime both, and planning the most remarkable of crescendos. We’ve got your back.

Your family are the most important people in the world – and we’ll ensure they get the epic family trip they deserve. Designed completely around their dreams and passions (and yours, of course). Just say the word and we’ll make it happen.

teenager with map for family road trip

How we plan a family road trip

Forming life-long relationships with our travelers and their families is one of the best things about our work. Like the other trusted specialists in your life, we’re in this for the long-haul. We really get to know you and your loved ones, so we can keep planning unforgettable family trips totally tailored to your dreams and passions. Not just today, but also tomorrow – and far into the future.

Now, for how it works. When you enquire, our luxury Travel Experts will listen to your family road trip ideas and really get to know you and your family – learning all about your passions and personalities. Taking all this into account, they will then offer inspiration and start designing a totally unique trip based on these conversations with you. From dinosaur-obsessed nine-year-olds to adults who’d like a little bit of downtime, we’ll choreograph your trip so that it works for everyone all the time.

road to torres del paine chile
teenagers on a road trip

Family road trip ideas

The following family road trip ideas exist to provide that all-important spark of inspiration (and excitement). This is just to get the ball rolling, to start bringing your dream family road trip to life. From California and New Zealand to Namibia and Argentina, we’ll create your adventure around whichever destination you desire. And of course, if you’d prefer for us to take any (or all) of the driving off your hands and arrange private transfers instead, then we’ll do that too. Just say the word.

California: redwood forests, magic kingdoms, and Dim Sum

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: California is an excellent place for US family vacations. A classic ‘must do’ destination due to its exciting range of sprawling cities and breathtaking national parks, California is an ideal place for a road trip with kids. Cruise along Highway One as you hum along to The Beach Boys and watch the sunset in the wing mirror. Catch sight of migrating whales from a private zodiac boat in Big Sur. Or fly over the wine-scented Napa Valley by hot air balloon. Or all three.

First up, San Francisco. This golden-gated city is a hilly metropolis filled with a dazzling array of architectural styles (from Queen Anne to Shingle and Art Deco) and home to the oldest Chinatown in North America. This particular Chinatown was originally made up of thousands of ‘hand laundries’ and only a few restaurants, all run by Chinese immigrants who had been drawn to California to try their fortune with the California Gold Rush. Taking you through this mile-long maze of karaoke bars, lantern-lined temples, and traditional eateries, we’ll show you where to get the best Dim Sum in town. Soft-shelled moon cakes, shrimps soaked in peanut sauce, fluffy BBQ pork bao buns. Take your pick.

A little out of town, get back to nature in Muir Woods – a sprawling cluster of ancient redwood forests. Named in honor of conservationist, John Muir, this park became a National Monument in 1908. The concept of national parks in the west stemmed from the desire to protect the vast, untouched landscapes from westward development. Preserved and beautiful, you’ll explore this breathtaking expanse of wilderness. Following trails between the towering trees, you’ll hike to much-loved spots like Bohemian Grove and Redwood Creek before soaking up hillside views of the glittering Pacific Ocean and Mount Tamalpais. Here, you’ll find a spot of tranquility, and an abundance of green.

Big Sur road trip in California
san francisco golden gate bridge in california

Finally, to wrap up your San Francisco stop on your family road trip, we’d recommend a boat trip to Alcatraz. Named ‘the island of the pelicans’ due to its once large colonies of this brown seabird, these residents soon made way for criminals as this lonely island became the site of one of the most famous prisons in North America. Eerie yet fascinating, this place will give you goosebumps.

Now, if you’re seeking nature that will take your breath away, we’ve got you covered there too. Home to a splendid array of national parks, California is just the ticket. Here, the hills are very much alive – with wildflowers, that is. Among the many is the monumental Yosemite (a land of towering granite carved by glaciers and immense waterfalls that plummet into vast valleys), and the aptly-named Sequoia (home to over 8,000 giant sequoia trees that are best admired in therapeutic silence). Heading to the coast, with the ocean crashing on the rocks to your right and wild landscapes stretching afar on your left, you’ll discover Big Sur – one of the most beautiful patches of coastline in the US.

Next up, the City of Angels. Or Los Angeles, as it’s also known. Perfect for combining with San Francisco for a longer family road trip or as a base for visiting the further afield Grand Canyon, this is one to add to the list. Between ticking off the magic kingdom (at Disney California Adventure) and cruising south on the iconic Highway One, spend the next few days exploring the world of Hollywood in style. The avenue of stars. Check. The Rodeo Drive. Check. The Hollywood sign. Well, you get the idea.

Lighthouse nantucket east coast
whale breaching east coast usa

East coast family road trips

The East Coast offers up a real feast for travelers, with seaside stops, historic harbor towns, and sleepy golden beaches. It’s enough to keep those ‘are we there yets’ at bay. Here, a road trip with kids is a meandering journey of oyster shucking, humpback whale chasing, and laid-back coastal living. Sound inviting? You’ve come to the right place.

For the ultimate family road trip here, we’d start off in Boston. A city of historical red brick buildings and educational renown, no trip here is complete without an amble through the leafy grounds of Harvard University, students and professors swapping notes and sipping coffee. But that’s only the start of it. Following the Freedom Trail through the historic heart of the city, we’ll take you back in time to the American Revolution and beyond. Packed with skyscrapers and bordering the Atlantic Ocean, Boston is also an excitingly alternative place for seaside adventures. Sailing past the historic coastal towns of the North Shore, alongside seasoned lobstermen you’ll learn to haul lobsters off the back of a boat – your dinner, freshly caught.

Sandy beaches, white-red lighthouses, and lobster rolls – this is Cape Cod and Nantucket island. Your next stop. After driving through streets filled with Cod style architecture (think classic American beach house), you’ll pull over for paddle boarding, kayaking adventures, and beach picnics. The perfect spot? Chatham Harbor. Watch as your kids’ faces light up as they spot whales breaching the waves from your picnic blanket. It’s seaside magic.

Now for the main event. With granite islands and rich maritime history, Maine is a patch of rugged coastline that is not to be missed. Our favorite way to explore? By lobster boat. Hop aboard a traditional wooden Downeast-style lobster boat, on the only tour that offers this, to gain an understanding of lobster ecology and its importance to the local economy. Feet back on land, and on the gas, you’ll drive through the lush forests of Acadia National Park. In the Fall? Spectacular. Keep your eyes peeled for moose on the roadside, tucked between colorful bursts of red, orange, and ochre.

Whistler, Canada
Bears in British Columbia

Canada: mountains, grizzly bears, and whitewater rafting

This is it. The end of the ‘are we there yet’ moans and the start of the ‘can we stay longer’ pleas. A road trip through western Canada is one of our favorite family travel experiences. From Banff down to Jasper and onto Whistler and Vancouver, we’ll take you to the perfect spot to see humpbacks breaching the Pacific waves before showing you how to track grizzly bears through Vancouver Island’s forests. For incredible wildlife (and the greatest adventures), look no further. Simply sit back, relax, and watch endless scenery roll past the windows. Until you get out to explore, that is.

Lake Louise, renowned for its milky blue waters and the towering mountains that surround it, is beautiful and enchanting – even more so, we find, when viewed from your private terrace at the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. A grand castle-style hotel encircled by dense pine forest and overlooking a tranquil glacial lake, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into the pages of your very own fairytale.

The picturesque landscapes here are made to be explored, and explore you shall. Whether that be by ruby-red canoe, on horseback, or by helicopter. Or all three. After staying here for a spell, it’s time to hit the road. Back in the car, cruising past the soaring peaks of the Rockies, your journey north will be one of dazzling heights and rugged, rocky beauty.

Swapping the lakes of Banff for the pines of Jasper, you’re in for one of the world’s best drives – The Icefield Parkway. Marked by rough-and-tumble mountains, glacier-fed lakes, lush alpine meadows, and gushing rivers, you’ll be itching to pull up and explore. But that’s not all. Home to caribou, wolves, mountain goats, bears, and moose, you’ll find something to keep the kids entertained every step of the way. ‘I spy’ never felt so easy. And, depending on how energetic the kids are feeling, why not scale the mighty peaks that surround you. Just pull up, lace up your boots, and get going.

canada killer whale
canada road trip mountains

Moving on up, you’re the next stop on your family road trip is Whistler. Home to mountains of adventure, you’ll find powdered steeps and plummeting waterfalls at every twist and turn. Here, chalet-style towns reside in the shadow of the snow-dusted peaks of Blackcomb valley and skiing and snowboarding are the order of the day. But we’ll take you away from the crowds and to the waters instead. For adrenaline-seekers, there’s whitewater rafting down the Cheakamus River. For families wanting a more genteel pace, we’ll arrange for you to pick up the paddle and head out on a canoeing adventure with a private guide. Just say the word and our luxury Travel Experts will make it happen.

For the perfect end to the perfect family road trip, you’ll head to downtown Vancouver. Amid the buzz of this mountain-ringed west coast seaport, we’ll take you on a private city cycling tour through historic Gastown, where art galleries hide in Victorian buildings and vintage lampposts line the cobbled streets. Grab a bite with some porchetta sandwiches or salmon candy (a local delicacy) and you’ll be well away.

If it’s nature you’re craving, there’s no place better than Vancouver Island. Perched overlooking the wilds of the Pacific Ocean, walk barefoot across silky sands in tucked away coves and head into the woods and along the shore to track grizzly bears in the wild. Our top tip? Set off at low tide. This is prime time for rock crab hunting, so you’ll be sure to spot some grizzlies on the lookout for a seafood feast. Hearing the call of the sea, we’ll then take you aboard a private zodiac. Your mission? To scour the coast for grey, humpback, and killer whales. Getting up close and personal with these majestic creatures will certainly be one to tell the grandkids – unless they’re already there with you of course.

Whether you’re seeking wilderness and wildlife or cities encircled by mountains, Canada has it all. Just buckle up and enjoy the ride.

helicopter ride to milford sound in new zealand south island
Lake Tekapo, South Island, New Zealand

New Zealand’s South Island: volcanoes, Maori, and the rarest dolphin

Of jaw-dropping mountains and fantastical hobbit pastures, New Zealand is the sort of place where you pause to catch your breath, only to lose it all over again. You could arguably spend a lifetime (or several) uncovering its dazzling range of grand open landscapes, but certain destinations steal the show. And for good reason. With natural thrills and adrenaline-fueled pursuits on every leg of your journey, we’ll show you the freedom of the great open road.

Queenstown, the ‘adventure capital of the world’, is home to breath-taking natural marvels. Among them, Milford Sound and Lake Wakatipu. The former, a mesmerizing fjord flanked by steep cliffs and thick rainforest, you’ll explore by helicopter. Taking to the skies, you and your loved ones will soar over its inky blend of fresh glacial water and seawater, bypassing the waterfalls that cascade down the cragged rockfaces. Now, for your landing site. Touching down on a glacier, you’ll get a close-up view of its blue and green ice falls and crevices. And a glass of bubbles. Back in Queenstown, it won’t be long until you embark on your next adventure. This time, by hot air balloon. As you float over the glistening waters of Lake Wakatipu, you’ll spot familiar filming spots from Lord of the Rings, specifically Lothlorien – the ancient forest of Middle Earth. The perfect way to kickstart your family road trip in New Zealand.

Driving down the crater of an extinct volcano (one of two such landforms located on the Banks Peninsula), you’ll arrive at your next destination – Akaroa. Canterbury’s oldest town, this small seaside spot is home to historic, French-styled buildings – and the world’s rarest dolphin. Distinguished by their rounded dorsal fin and black, grey, and white coloration, the Hector’s dolphin are extremely rare. The rarest in the world, in fact. And we’ll take you swimming right alongside them. Just dive in.

kaikoura new zealand south island
marlborough sounds new zealand south island

Swapping one small coastal town for another, you’ll then head North to Kaikoura. Meaning ‘to eat crayfish’ in te reo, the town’s name showcases not only its Maori history, but also its proximity to the Pacific Ocean where red rock lobsters hide in rocky reefs. Whether there’s history buffs or wildlife enthusiasts amongst your clan, this family road trip will keep everyone happy. Where majestic Sperm Whales breach the waves and acrobatic Dusky dolphins leap and flip, we’ll take you on a private helicopter flight to seek out the rich marine life that fills these waters. After watching these gentle creatures from the air, you’ll head inland to soar over the remains of Maori fortifications before touching down and experiencing the intimacy and warmth of Maori hospitality. Hearing the stories of their ancestors, breaking bread. It’s an experience not soon to be forgotten. If at all.

Now, for your final pit stop. Marlborough Sounds. A breathtaking network of sunken river valleys, bush-coated hills, and tucked-away bays, these snake-like waterways are filled with the dazzling blue waters of the Pacific. As you cruise along the Queen Charlotte Sound (just one of four Sounds that make up these ancient valleys), you’ll visit a King Salmon farm before setting sail to Tio Point Oysters where you’ll sample salmon and oysters paired perfectly with Marlborough’s Sauvignon Blanc. Simply watch the scenery unfold before you and sample the freshest local delicacies around. This seafood odyssey will make for a perfect end to your family trip to New Zealand.

Namibia's landscapes
desert adapted giraffe in Namibia

Namibia: shipwrecks, stars, and desert-adapted giraffe

Better suited for a family road trip with older kids, Namibia promises an epic desert driving adventure. Home to the highest sand dunes in the world, it boasts an 80 million-year-old desert that sweeps in glorious folds across the western coast. Venturing across every terrain and passing by wild elephant traffic, the best way to see this mystifying land has to be behind the wheel of a 4×4. Shipwrecks, stars, rehabilitated cheetahs. It’s all here.

First up, breakfast. Sat amongst the towering, burnt orange dunes of Sossusvlei, you’ll start the day (and your family trip) with Namibian dates, tiny yellow eembe fruit, and traditional pearl millet porridge. Some much needed fuel for the day ahead. Clambering across the Namib Sand Sea to Deadvlei, you’ll seek the iconic gnarled camelthorn trees that dot this white clay pan. Scorched black by the sun, this ancient forest makes for a remarkably unique landscape. One you’ll explore thoroughly. But it is not only by daylight that this remote part of Namibia really shines. Located in one of the country’s emptiest areas, the NamibRand Nature Park’s Gold Standard Dark Sky Reserve is a sight to behold. As darkness settles, a blanket of stars illuminates the sand-dusted surrounds. The Milky Way, a midnight blue sky. It’s dazzling.

For something a little different, make the drive towards civilization – specifically, the city of Swakopmund. German colonial architecture, beaches bordering the Atlantic, local craft breweries. Strolling through this city feels more like walking along Germany’s northern coast rather than an African city at the edge of the Namib desert. It’s somewhat bizarre, but certainly worth a visit. Here, you can descend down dunes by sandboard, kayak with fur seals, and explore the surrounding landscapes by quadbike. Even take the plunge with a tandem skydive above the coast. Looking for unbridled adventure and the best beer in Namibia? You’ve found it.

namibia road trip drive in the desert
shipwreck on skeleton coast in namibia

Heading back out into the desert wilds, you’ll soon find yourself in a place known to the indigenous San people as ‘The Land God Made in Anger’. Or the Skeleton Coast, as it’s also known. A captivating yet treacherous stretch of coastline, it has claimed the lives of many sailors and explorers over the years. Here, rough seas are shrouded in fog, rocky shallows lie beneath the crash and rumble of waves, and immense sand dunes tower over the wild Atlantic. Shipwrecks lie scattered along the shore – great bulks of wood and rust partially smothered in sand. It’s spooky and surreal. Driving in an open 4×4, you’ll pass remnants of campsites that once belonged to the San people of Namibia, scattered between the wrecks and the crashing Atlantic waves. But that’s not all. Deep in this vast desert, adventurers snake across the steepest slopes by sandboard, leaving twisting trails in their wake. Want to join them? Just say the word and our luxury Travel Experts will make it happen.

For the ultimate finale to your family road trip, embark on the quintessential safari experience with a Namibian twist. Taking a break from putting your foot on the pedal, you’ll head out on game drives at dawn and dusk, spotting lion, zebra, giraffe, rhino, and elephant.

Now, for your lodgings. Two of our favorite places to stay during a family road trip to Namibia have to be Hoanib Valley Camp and Okonjima Luxury Bush Camp. The former, a collection of six luxurious tents decorated with geometric patterns and private verandas, lies between towering mountains and sweeping desert. The latter, originally a family farmhouse tucked away in the Omboroko Moutains, now boasts beautiful thatched chalets and villas with spectacular views across the plains. Both have a key focus on sustainability. Hoanib Valley Camp is entirely solar powered and you can spend your days alongside researchers tracking endangered rhinos and monitoring desert-adapted giraffes. At Okonjima Luxury Bush Camp, you’ll have the chance to work alongside the AfriCat Foundation, helping to rehabilitate cheetahs, wild dogs, hyenas, and leopards. Between wildlife encounters and taking a dip in your private plunge pool, you’ll dine on a feast of local delicacies. Around the campfire, beneath the stars.

coastal causeway in ireland
Dunluce castle in ireland

Ireland: giants, castles, and Leprechaun whisperers

For a family road trip idea that’s very malleable around schedules, this is it. The perfect blend of adventure, magic, and history, Ireland is one of the best destinations for a road trip with kids. A land steeped in myths and legends, the Emerald Isle instantly becomes a classroom for curious minds to latch onto as you encounter local characters. A farmer and his sheepdog, a fossil hunter, a real-life Leprechaun whisperer. You’ll meet them all. Between resting your head in castles at night and exploring mysterious, rock-tiered bridges crafted by giants, there’s never a dull moment here.

Dublin, Ireland’s trendy capital, is where your adventure begins. Taking to the water, you’ll glide along the River Liffey by kayak for an alternative perspective – drifting past riverbanks lined with red-brick eateries and shops and paddling alongside The Jeanie Johnston (a towering famine ship replica moored along the quays). Feet back on the ground, it’s time to explore the city’s most storied and iconic sites. Through the eyes of one of its most innovative writers – James Joyce. On this captivating Field Trip class (one of our curated, educational family experiences), you’ll gain an understanding of the spaces and places that appeared in and shaped his writing. From the Museum of Literature of Ireland – where you’ll find interactive exhibits, landscaped gardens, and glowing slanted scribbles from notebooks and manuscripts projected across vast canvases – to the National Library with its striking collection of artefacts and audio and visual recordings. Future novelists, poets, and literary critics, you’ve come to the right place.

Driving north, you’ll head to the Cooley Peninsula – a region of hills, forests, sweeping beaches, and cragged cliffs that jut into the Irish sea. Your mission? To seek the Leprechauns that call this coastal haven home. Or so the legend goes. Joining a real-life Leprechaun Whisperer (yes, you read that correctly), you’ll go in search of these folkloric creatures through the medieval village of Carlingford. Here, ruins blend into houses and pubs deck the walls with real Leprechaun memorabilia.

First erected by salmon fishermen in 1755, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is suspended almost 30 meters above sea level and clings (somewhat precariously) to the cliffs that tower over the Atlantic below. Testing your nerve, you’ll make your way across this creaky crossing before meeting an expert geologist. Fossil hunts, remote glens, tiny fishing villages. It’s all part of the fun.

falconry in ireland
Giant's causeway sunset in ireland

When on a road trip with kids in Ireland, one place not to be missed is Giant’s Causeway. Encircled by jagged cliffs and spattered with the salt spray of the North Atlantic Ocean, 40,000 interlocking basalt columns made of hexagonal shapes lead out to sea before disappearing beneath the waves. Geographically, this hypnotic landform is the result of an ancient volcanic eruption – molten rock that has cracked and cooled over 60 million years. But there is also a legend. Of ancient giants and fearsome rivalry. We’ll show you the tales – one step, and stone, at a time.

Leaving the sea-battered home of Irish giants behind, you’ll begin making your way south to the walled city of Derry. Along the way, stop off at the oldest whiskey distillery in Ireland and raise a toast to your time in Co. Antrim (one for the grownups). The last walled city to be built in Europe, walk beside 16th century canons and through the iconic historic gates that guard the old town as you discover Derry’s tumultuous past. With a local guide, you’ll also explore Derry’s emerging (and very tantalizing) food scene – wagyu beef burgers, Baja pickled cauliflower, and monkfish ceviche. Take your pick.

Across the border, you’ll wind your way through the sea stacks and rugged wilds of Co. Donegal. Home to Europe’s tallest sea cliffs – the Slieve League – here, quartzite slopes plunge into the Atlantic Ocean from a sheer drop of 2,000ft. It’s up to you how far (and high) you go. Our route of choice? Cosán an Oilithrigh, or Pilgrim’s Path – a four-kilometer ancient hiking trail that takes you through horseshoe-shaped valleys, waterfalls, and mountains. But whichever trail you choose, the views are sure to take your breath away. In the best possible way.

Journeying within the shadow of Ben Bulben Mountain – a flat-topped rock formation coated in lush green – you’ll stop off at a sheep farm to meet a local farmer and his sheepdog, watching them herd sheep and learning the tricks of the trade as you go. Your final destination? Ashford Castle. Reminiscent of an Irish fairytale, this 800-year-old castle (and now, hotel) boasts four-poster beds, silk-lined walls, and rare antiques. Set within 350 acres on the tranquil shores of Lough Corrib, there’s plenty of exploring to be done. Whether you’re discovering the magic of flying hawks at the School of Falconry, following the secret trails of fairy paths, or setting off on a traditional boating trip across the clear waters of Lough Corrib. For the little ones, there’s a Lego Butler service. For the adults, a relaxation pool in a striking bronze conservatory lit by seashell chandeliers. You’ll feel like royalty.

Luxury travel in Argentina
Bariloche hiking in argentina

Argentina: parrillas, hidden caves, and salt

Perfect for older families, a family road trip to Argentina ticks all the right boxes. Unexplored wilderness, alfresco tango, flame-fired parrillas. Between exploring the northern realms that bask in the shadow of the mighty Andes Mountains and uncovering the underground cocktail scene of Buenos Aires, you’ll sip on wine on top of salt flats and feast on the most succulent smoke-infused steak surrounded by ‘fútbol’ memorabilia.

Thriving and vibrant, Buenos Aires literally translates as ‘good airs’. You can’t argue with that. Late night milongas, rebellious street art, gaucho (‘Argentinian cowboys’) markets, and secret jazz restaurants set up in antique shops. In the country’s capital, the staccato seductive notes of tango music drifts in the air, between Spanish-style houses and parrillas (‘steakhouses’) made of brightly painted corrugated iron. Speakeasy bars are tucked away – some between small unassuming cafes, some behind refrigerator doors. Exclusive and hidden, we’ll show you the secret spots worth a whirl. Dance the night away or master the art of empanadas. The choice is yours.

cafayate road in argentina
salinas grandes salt flats in argentina

Wine and wilderness – the perfect pairing. With the scent of earth and grape, your next destination lies 1700 meters above sea level. Rolling vineyards, soaring mountains, and hidden caves. This is the wine region of Cafayate. Your first stop? Patios de Cafayate – a beautiful 19th century colonial-style mansion set within its own vineyard. Resting up, you’ll relax – between the vines and the mountains – in the hotel’s labyrinth of courtyards and gardens as you taste and learn the secrets of wine. But swirling and sipping is not all there is to do here. Nearby, across rugged terrain covered with cactus, lie the sandstone caves of Acsibi – a valley of red, orange, and ochre illuminated by the sunlight that weaves its way through countless crevices and ridges. It’s otherworldly. And profoundly beautiful.

Leaving behind the red sandstone caves of Cafayate, you’ll head to the milk-white salt flats of Jujuy. For one of the best family road trip ideas, visit the UNESCO site of Quebrada de Humahuaca – rocky, colorful slopes formed from layers upon layers of creamy white sediment mixed with deep reds and vivid greens. This natural spectacle will leave you breathless – and eager to explore. Next, to Jujuy. Argentina’s answer to the best salt flats around, the Salinas Grandes lie a staggering 4140m above sea level and extend into over 12,000 hectares of salt. Clear blues skies, vast fields of white. Between marveling at the mesmerizing panorama it creates, you’ll explore the rectangular salt basins from which the salt is dug out and enjoy a private wine-tasting experience atop the dazzlingly white terrain.

backpack for road trip
card game on road trip

Family road trip essentials

When planning a family road trip, choosing the destinations and activities is important, but so is making sure that the trip runs smoothly. That’s where we come in. Whether you’re seeking road trip essentials for kids or adults, we’ve got you covered. Enter, The Rider. Essentially a list of the things you can’t leave home without, specifically tailored to and requested by you, The Rider is a living document that can contain almost anything you desire. Whether that be ‘things’ (like a telescope, your favorite snacks, toys, an iPad) or a piece of information (such as knowledge of allergies and intolerances or a fitness regime that you’d like to continue in a private gym at every property you stay in). Below we’ve covered the basic road trip essentials just to get you started, but when you start designing your dream family road trip with us we’ll tailor everything to your family’s specific needs. Just ask.

Have a plan

The backbone of any family road trip is to have a plan. This may seem self-explanatory, but our luxury Travel Experts will ensure that everything is planned out – from the bigger logistical planning of routes to the smaller finer details. This means that you and your loved ones can relax and focus on spending quality time together. Without the on-the-road bickering about where to stay or where to turn, all you have to do is drive and enjoy yourselves. Of course, there’s also plenty of room for spontaneity. But it’s nice to know that all you have to do at the next place is simply check-in.

packing list for family road trip
car snacks for family road trip

Prepare a packing list

Our luxury Travel Experts will do this for you, but it’s always a good idea for you to check it over and think if there’s anything you can’t imagine doing your family road trip without. Some examples of road trip essentials for kids could be a favorite toy, an iPad, or some specific snacks. For the teenagers, perhaps spare chargers for all their tech. For the adults, a book to read by the pool while the kids run off all the pent-up car energy. A disposable camera to capture unique moments, CDs to sing your heart out to, gluten-free biscuits to munch on. Your packing list will be unique to you – and your family road trip.


Means of staying entertained are a staple of any long trip, especially for a road trip with kids. Let’s keep the ‘are we there yets’ to a minimum. Whether you’re brushing up on classic car games like ‘I spy’ and ‘20 questions’ or making sure everything is charged up for the longer legs of the journey, it’s always good to have a few tricks up your sleave. During downtime at your chosen destinations, we’d recommend a pack of cards or some travel board games to get hooked on and which will soon become more than just a way to fill the breaks. When you’re not busy with all your other fun-filled activities, of course.


This may seem more like a road trip essential for kids, but this will also apply to everyone on your family trip. Whether you hit traffic or just fancy something to nibble on during longer stretches of the drive, it’s always a good idea to have a selection of snacks in the car. Your favorites, of course, but also ones you pick up from the various destinations that make up your family road trip. Irish rhubarb and custard candies, Argentinian chorizo, kiwi fruit from New Zealand. Something new, something old. Maybe even a new favorite. We’ll let you decide.

camera for family road trip
backpack for family road trip

A camera

Capturing memories is an important part of any family trip. And while this is perhaps a little old school to include on everyone’s family road trip checklist, we’d highly recommend bringing a camera. On our research trips, each of our team brings a disposable camera with them so that they can capture things in the moment and look back on them when they return home. Yes, phones are great. But cameras are equally so.

A ‘for emergencies’ backpack

Completely tailored to who is travelling, a ‘for emergencies’ backpack is yet another thing to tick off on your family road trip checklist. It could be used to keep spare clothes, a first aid kit, torches, breakdown recovery details, jumpers – you get the idea. This also means, especially on a road trip with kids, that it’s so much easier to grab and get a change of clothes if there are any accidents or spillages and you won’t have to rummage through and unpack the car to find a fresh top or sweatshirt. Naturally, our team will be on hand during your trip to help with anything. But a ‘for emergencies’ backpack is always nice to have to hand.

Ready to hit the road?

Whatever type of road trip you’re looking for, our trips cover everything mentioned here and much more.