ROAD TRIPS AND TIPS
A few weeks ago, we took a seven-hour road trip to visit my grandma for her 90th birthday. While I was extremely excited to bring Remi to see family and a vacation spot that holds many special memories for me, I was anxious about how she would do in a car for 7+ hours. Any new experience with a baby or toddler can be intimidating. I quickly learned the more you prepare the better outcome you may have!
Prior to our trip I had asked one cousin who has two kids and one on the way for suggestions as they had taken a number of trips with the kids and have become pros. I left that conversation thinking, what the actual **** am I thinking. How was I going to get a 2 year old to sit in the car that long!? The reason their road trips had been successful was mostly that they traveled in the middle of the night so the kids could sleep. Driving through the night can be a life-saver if you have small children and while you can't do any sightseeing, you have less change of traffic jams and road construction. This was not an option for us on this trip.
I was going to be driving with my parents and leaving early morning but nowhere near the middle of the night. If you think about it, we as adults can readjust ourselves in a vehicle after long periods. Toddlers and babies in car seats don’t have that luxury which is when they become crabby and frustrated which is totally understandable!! After a quick panic attack, I spoke with another cousin who has two kids and just made a similar drive during the day. She assured me everything would be fine, suggested stopping a few times to stretch and have Remi walk around and bring tons of distractions to keep her occupied. Shop our distractions on our LTK!
Here are some tips we learned along the way!
SNACKS: We left early in the morning so I made sure to pack tons of snacks and cooler items for the drive. We had cut up fruit, egg bites and tiny fruit snacks available. I made sure to bring an extra jug of water to fill up her water cup (she currently dislikes juice) or we would have brought some juice boxes. If you have an older toddler, packing the (linked) bento box full of bite size treats is a great idea.
CLEAN UP KIT: We made sure to pack trash bags and resealable plastic bags for easy clean up/dirty diapers or to have on hand incase she got car sick. I also made sure to bring extra baby wipes, disinfecting wipes and paper towels. We even brought empty Tupperware containers to use as bowls incase we needed extra to seal.
DOWNLOADS: Remi's loves her Amazon Fire Pad so I would use my phone as a hot spot in the car. This worked great and she was able to watch her favorite Disney movies and play her alphabet games. If you are unable to connect your phone as a hotspot, make sure you have some apps downloaded prior to your trip.
COMFY ITEMS: Remi normally takes a two hour nap during the day and I wanted to be ready incase she fell asleep in the car. I packed her toddler sized pillow which was perfect for when she fell asleep, I was able to tuck it right under her head for support. Other items we packed were some light blankets which we even used to drape from the window while she napped to make it dark.
NEW TOYS: Visit the Dollar Store, Amazon or the $1 bins at Target for new toys. I packed these away along with new books and activity sets to use throughout the trip.
ROTATION: I made the trip with my parents so when Remi seemed to be getting bored of sitting with me, my mom switched and sat next to her. This bought us some time as she had a new person to play with.
***Moms will find this funny – all that money spent on distractions, and our favorite thing to entertain us in the car was a ball that she would kick from her car seat, and a blue balloon from the party.
As far as bathroom and stretch breaks go, we stopped 3 times to get out and move around. Currently we are on the struggle bus for potty training (tips are greatly appreciated and welcome!) During these stops we would have change diapers and walk around. We took cues form Remi as to when we needed to make a pit stop. You would be surprised how much a short stop window can allow your little one to recharge for another leg of the trip.
One of the best things about road trips is that you can bring your favorite gear with out limitations. If you are comfortable on vacation it will help your kids transition and acclimate faster to a new place. I made to sure bring familiar items from her room at home to help her sleep which included her sound machine and favorite bear. Remi did great on the trip and my overwhelming fears of screaming for 7 + hours quickly became non-existent. My memory of Remi's first road trip is filled with feeding horses apples off the trees, eating southern bbq and dominating the bags boards. It is always better to overpack and you can never be too prepared! I am happy we took the trip and she was able to experience some of my favorite things about Missouri including the celebration for my 90 year old grandma.
X0 - Katie