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


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.

Toddlers and Patience

Toddlers and patience….  Two words that don’t really go together and I’m not sure if they should even be uttered in the same breath!

We have decided to be crazy adventurous and drive the 1700km from Brisbane to Bendigo next week.  To make things even more insane fun, we are leaving on Friday and need to arrive by Sunday morning, as the boys are being baptised that day.

Let's hope he is this happy during the long drive.

Let’s hope he is this happy during the long drive.

Now, Liam is not the most patient little man.  It was only last week that he was getting quite cranky when he had to wait for his milkshake and toast when we were out for breakfast…. so the thought of him having to sit in a car for a looong time is a bit of a worry.  Even on short trips, he is now starting to pull at his harness and tells us that he is stuck – he obviously doesn’t quite get the concept of seat belts!

When a milkshake is this good it's hard to wait!

When a milkshake is this good it’s hard to wait!

Our plan is to load him up with a few of his favourite books, trucks and cars – as well as having plenty of snacks to keep him amused.  We’ve also got audio books and a couple of CD’s we can play along the way – I am thinking of ‘forgetting’ to pack the Wonky Donkey though…..

As much as I love our iPad, and will be downloading a few kids apps in case we get desperate (a big thanks to the Multitasking Mummy for a list of great kids apps), I am hoping we will be able to survive the trip without resorting to technology to keep him occupied.  As kids, we travelled the same trip many times and survived without watching movies and cartoons along the way and I am hoping we will be able to teach him that he doesn’t need to be kept occupied every second of the day, and sometimes he needs to be able to just sit back and watch the countryside fly by.

Have you ever gone on a long road trip with a toddler? Please hit me with any suggestions you have to keep them amused!

PS.  I know there is a VERY strong possibility we will have the iPad out and cartoons playing by the time we hit the NSW border…

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT


Two boys, a plane and me…

Traveling is stressful.  Traveling with a toddler and baby can be very stressful…  It’s not only the stress of getting yourselves to the airport and settled on the plane, but it is also the stress that strangers can put on you.

If you have travelled with kids beofre, you know all about the look…   You know the one where they stare at you with two kids and grimace, hoping you will not be sitting anyway near them. Then there are the eye rolls and stares you get if one of your kids dare to grizzle or make a sound.  When you are getting these looks BEFORE you even get onto the plane, and you actually overhear people commenting how they are hoping you are not sitting near them it’s a little off putting to say the least!

My little traveller

My little traveller

Over the weekend I had the pleasure (not sure if that is the right word?) of flying to Melbourne with both of my boys for the first time.  Liam was a frequent flyer when he was younger, but hasn’t flown since he started walking and it was Aiden’s first trip.  I wasn’t too worried about Aiden, how I was going to occupy Liam and keep him happy was my big worry. Talking to others who have flown with toddlers I was given a lot of advice from feeding them lollies and giving them an iPad to play with to giving them phenergan so they sleep. Whilst a sleeping toddler sounded enticing, I decided against ‘drugging’ Liam and came up with a plan to keep him happy and occupied for the 2 1/2 hour flight.

My top tips are:

  • Be super nice to the check in staff and ask if you can be seated in a row with a spare seat. If you are flexible about where you sit, this can be easier to accommodate
  • Keep calm and be flexible – a bit tricky when you are a bit of a control freak! It’s tough when your toddler is having a ball tipping their strawberries out onto the spare seat and then putting them back into the container – but if it is keeping them amused and its not hurting anyone, go with it (this was really tough). You can then make a game out of cleaning up with wipes (another 10 minutes is then gone)
  • Make it an adventure, we talked about going on the plane, looked at pictures of planes and at the airport we bought a toy plane he chose… this was a winner, he loved it and spent a large part of the flight playing with it….  the best $14.95 I have ever spent!
  • Pack their favourite toys, books and foods.  Liam LOVES strawberries, so we had a whole punnet cut up. He also chose 4 of his cars to take and we also had a few of his favourite books.
  • It sounds obvious but be organised!  I was packed and our bags were in the car the night before. I then had a list of last minute items I needed to pack before we left in the morning.  It made me calmer which in turn kept the boys calm.

I’m pleased to say the trip went well. The boys were fantastic with Aiden sleeping for most of the trip and Liam keeping himself amused until he fell asleep as we began to descend into Melbourne.  When getting off, I admit I gave a few smug looks to the couple I had overheard talking about us at the airport!

We are heading back home in a couple of weeks, and I’m hoping to have another smooth trip – what are your traveling tips?

The BEST $14.95 I have ever spent

The BEST $14.95 I have ever spent

Linking up with the Multitasking Mummy for Mummy Mondays