Recently I embarked on a 15-hour road trip with my husband, my four-year-old and my eight-month-old. Before leaving I asked all of you if I was crazy or just stupid to think this could be done while still maintaining my sanity. Most of you answered “crazy” but I have to admit it turned out to be a little bit of both. I am happy to announce that we did survive, but to call it a “vacation” would be somewhat of a stretch. Unfortunately road trips just aren’t the same with little ones – or at least with my little ones. In my younger days I used to love road trips. I once drove from San Antonio to Tampa non-stop. I could stay up around the clock and compete with the truckers as to who could last longer. Not so much any more. Now I get muscle cramps, nausea and spend most of my time counting down the seconds until we arrive at our destination.
This trip we did run into a few National Lampoons moments. Our hotel had a blackout and we had to entertain our toddler in pitch dark for hours. I also had to hand-express my milk because I forgot my battery charger for my pump. After about 30 minutes of pumping my hand felt paralyzed, so I had to enlist my husband to fulfill the remaining pumping shifts. My little guy had four diaper
blowouts explosions, which in turn ruined his infant car seat. The disaster he created could only be cleaned up by The Ghostbusters, but unfortunately they no longer exist. Let’s just say – the reminder of the trip our car did NOT smell of roses and we had to replace the carseat as soon as we got home.
Overall, the trip was worth it because we were able to spend time with family and make some wonderful memories, however until my baby gets a little older – home is where we’ll stay.
Here’s some tips to help keep your sanity on road trips with little ones.
- Don’t do it. Just kidding, I know they can be fun and are much more affordable than flying.
- Plan pit stops. Check out fun stops along your route to break up the trip and let your kids stretch your legs.
- Add a couple hours to your agenda. Your trip will take longer than you think, so just plan on it. You’ll have to make a lot of stops with kids to use the restroom, eat, stretch, etc.
- Research your route. Look up major highways for any construction notices. This can shave hours off of your drive if you’re able to go around all the traffic delay’s.
- Hot Spot. Having a hot spot in the car for our iPad was a life-saver for my toddler. We played a lot of games, but when all else failed we handed him the iPad. We also downloaded some Apps that didn’t require an internet connection in case our hot spot went out.
- Know when to stop. Six hours seemed to be the breaking point for my little guy. After six hours he became a ticking time bomb and it was difficult to console him. Next time this will be our stopping point for the night.
- Take lots of food. Not only does this save money – but time as well. I took a cooler with several sandwiches and fruit along with a grocery bag of dry snacks. I hate eating fast food on road trips so this was our lunch and dinner. My digestive system thanked me later.
- Invest in baby gadgets. Buy one of these immediately for the car if your baby can’t hold his bottle that well yet. This little contraption prevented me from having to sit lodged between two car seats for an hour. Podee Hands Free Bottle
If you have any tips to add please share in the comments section!