Surviving a road trip with a toddler & baby

It’s now been a week since we arrived back home after our 4500+km road trip.  The holidays are over, our bags are all unpacked, new toys and books have all been put away, and we have returned to a somewhat modified routine, as Daddy has still been on holidays.

In what may seem like a strange turn of events… we not only survived our trip, but we were still speaking to each other at the end of it, and even enjoyed ourselves just a little bit!  My husband even commented that he was ‘surprised’ we were not at each other’s throats during our travels- should I be a little concerned that he thought we would be?!?!

It’s just now on this thankfully cool Sunday morning (seriously the weather in Brisbane has been crazy – even the water in our pool was hot yesterday), that I’ve had a chance to sit down and put together my top tips for car travel with kids.  By no means do I consider myself an ‘expert’ but considering we travelled 1700km each way down to Victoria with an almost two year old and a seven month old and not only did we survive, but we have said we would do it again – I figure I should share some tips on what worked for us!

  • Dry Erase Board – we had a lot of fun drawing pictures and writing our names on the boards.  The crayons were a great size for our little man to hold and draw with.  It was also an opportunity to learn about different colours and shapes that we drew.

car travel 1

  • Board Books – easy to handle/turn pages for the little ones.  You  can also pack a few of them as they don’t take up too much space.  the ones that come in a little box/suitcase are great – Just as much time was spent pointing out all the trucks/cars/diggers etc on the box the books came in as was spent on the actual reading of them.
  • Food…..  Our big boy likes to think he is eating at a buffet ALL OF THE TIME….  so having little bags filled with different foods was great fun for him.  We had grapes, strawberries, apple, dry biscuits, vegemite sandwiches and fruit bars.  Also the squeezie yoghurts were a big hit.  I also made sure to have food handy for our little man, so I could feed him whilst we were travelling.
Yes.. he is eating a paddle pop.  Bribery again at its best!

Yes.. he is eating a paddle pop. Bribery again at its best!

  • Audio Books and Kids Music – I’m not sure what it is about the Wiggles, but everytime we put it on the boys would go into a daze and inevitably fall asleep.  It was amazing, our big boy could be on the brink of a meltdown but as soon as he heard the opening line of Hot Potato he would instantly chill out!  We think there must be some subliminal message behind the music that adults don’t hear!  The Roald Dahl audio books were also a big winner, especially the us – we really enjoyed listening to stories we had also grown up with.
Thank you Wiggles!

Thank you Wiggles!

  • Bribery… All I will say is that this worked a treat!!!  Especially when our big boy would just start to lose it when there was only 20kms or so to go.
Bribery - this is what you get if you are a good boy.

Bribery – this is what you get if you are a good boy.

  • Lastly, and maybe most importantly – Don’t have a plan.  This was a hard one for me since I always like to be super organised.  We had vague ideas as to where we’d like to stop for breaks and stay overnight, but we really let how the boys (and us) were feeling dictate where and when we stopped.  If they were asleep, we would keep on going, if they were starting to get cranky we’d stop.  I spent a lot of time sitting in the back with the boys, which whilst it was a bit cramped, I really did enjoy.  We had a mostly great time singing songs, reading and just being silly to help pass the time.
Even our little man got in on the action!

Even our little man played silly games with us!

What are your top tips for travelling in the car with kids – safe travels to everyone on the roads over this holiday period x

PS…

You may remember a couple of weeks ago I wrote about my illusion we wouldn’t need technology to keep us amused on our trip. The iPad did come in handy a couple of times times (a big thanks to The Multitasking Mummy for her kids app recommendations), as a distraction when we were getting back in the car – our big boy has a strange fascination with ‘Daddy’s keys’ to the point he becomes quite obsessed with getting his hands on them.  The iPad was a great way to distract him for 10/15 minutes until we were on the road again and he would move on to something else.

3 thoughts on “Surviving a road trip with a toddler & baby

  1. That is awesome you guys had a fantastic time! Such great ideas to keep the kids entertains too. You really did well. How did the kids go sleeping in different beds all the time? We didn’t have as much success with our trip due to sleepin arrangements. Our ordinarily good sleepers went al little crazy.

    • Thanks Renee. Both of the boys went well in the different beds. I think our big boy enjoyed hopping into Mum and Dad’s bed when we stayed at motels on the way! I’m sorry to here your kids didn’t go well in a different sleeping environment. It makes it so much harder when they are tired and unsettled. Hopefully they will be better next time.

  2. That is great that your trip went so well 🙂
    I too think through the plan – which is also hard for me because I am super organised. We flew to Hawaii with our daughter when she was 3 and we took similar things to you, colouring, books, we also took our portable DVD player with some Wiggles DVDs.

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