with a child…I’ve never heard of anything more painful in my life. HAHA kidding. Road tripping with kids is harder than if you were to go alone, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done, it may even be fun! You just need to plan and prepare. After going on countless family road trips
, including five 10-hour trips with Alayna (from newborn to toddler), I feel like I’ve learned some tips along the way. So, here they are!
Choose the best time to drive
This would be different for everyone, but working around nap/sleeping times is the key! On my last road trip from Victoria to Sydney, I decided to mix it up and drive at night instead of during the day. We left at midnight, this idea was a game-changer for me!! The trip felt like it went so much faster as the babies slept most of the time, it didn’t take up a whole day, and we were so much happier and less stressed! After doing this, I would never go back to day trips. I would suggest working out a time that best suits you and your family and roll with it.
Give yourself a break!
Rest stops are essential, for everyone! Stopping frequently for a little runaround and the breather is so important. Even though multiple breaks could add hours to your trip, it’s worth it to let your child have some tummy time, or run around and burn all that energy they are storing! If your kids are anything like mine; crazy active and love the outdoors, this is exactly what they (and you) need every few hours.
All the entertainment!
Entertainment is a no-brainer! I usually try to buy a small toy if we are going on a long (7+ hours) car trip so that Alayna has something new and exciting to keep her entertained for 5 extra minutes. I’ll also pack her most loved toys, which at the moment is her doll, and that keeps her pretty happy.
Things like; music, ipads, portable DVD players, toys, games, books, phone apps, singing to them, playing them etc. is always handy when you’re stuck in a car!
If you can, I would leave a spare seat in the back so if you have to, one parent can sit in the back and play with them if they start to play up. Sometimes your attention is their favourite entertainment.
Snacks, snacks and more snacks!
Because when entertainment won’t work anymore, food always will!
I think I rely on food a little too much when it comes to keeping Alayna quiet (whoops!). But seriously, snacks are a life saver. I wouldn’t go on a 5-minute car trip without snacks let alone a 10-hour trip!
Packing finger food that they can eat without your help, lots of variety, something new, a favourite snack or even a little treat will always help with those long car trips.
We need to remember that our children are strapped tightly into a car seat where they can’t change position or posture the slightest bit when they get uncomfortable… Even we have more movement and comfort than them. This would be horrible, I mean talk about a sore ass! I know it’s not simple to make them comfortable but do what you can. Give them a blanket, cover the window so it’s nice and dim (they might even sleep more!), give them a teddy, give them breaks, keep those nappies dry and put them in the most comfortable clothing that they own. Try to make the experience as good as it can be for them.
Give them your attention, comfort and sympathy.
Pack your patience!
Okay, so patience isn’t something you can pack, but it is something you can try to prepare for! Do you remember when you were little, and a 1-hour trip felt like a 4-hour trip? Car trips big or small felt like they went on forever! Our children are just a big ball of energy trapped inside a car. So, play with them, take breaks, comfort them and try to understand. They are sore, bored and probably just fucking over it just as much as you are! Even if they are making the trip hell try to be understanding, patient and mindful.