This week we will be embarking on our first real family vacation. We’ve been out on small trips to the cottage with our little one but this week we’re heading out on an 1,100 km road trip with her. Though my husband and I are both experienced travelers (everything from road-trips to international trips) having a baby with us will make traveling much different, I’m sure.
Knowing we would be trapped in the car for upwards of six hours in a day, I needed to get a plan in place or our lives may become miserable very quickly. These are things to consider when road-tripping with a little one.
Distractions are Crucial
Though she does well in a car for a short time, unless she falls asleep (and I’d rather not mess with her nap schedule too much) after about 15 mins we will be scrambling to entertain her. In our case, she is still rear facing in the back seat so I will be sitting back there with her which alone will be much better than her sitting alone. What to distract her with is where things can get interesting. She has little to no interest in traditional toys while in the car. The best way to distract her is to give her something she doesn’t normally get or has never seen before. Boring old toys won’t cut the trick. Here are a few things our little one like to play with and entertains her for quite some time:
- Keys. I gathered three old keys we had, washed them (predicting them to go in her mouth) and placed them on a key ring.
- Wallet. She loves to take my wallet apart so I found an old wallet and filled it with old cards and meaningless papers so in the event she loses them we’re fine.
- New book. She usually enjoys looking at pictures in books, I specify new book since I know if it’s one she’s never seen before we will have more luck. I’ve purchased a book and won’t give it to her until the car ride starts.
- Something with buttons. Kids love to push buttons. Remotes, cell phones, I don’t know what it is but she loves to push them. I have both an old remote and old (circa 1995) cell phone that she can do whatever she wants with.
- DVD player. She doesn’t get to watch much, TV so the hope is that a little music or TV will keep her entertained for a bit.
Keep Routines the Best You Can
While driving, or any travel, this is a difficult task but we’re going to try our best to keep her eating and sleeping routines as close to normal. Thankfully we only have one time zone to cross and are breaking our long trip up by stopping overnight. Our plan is to stop every 2-2.5 hours to get out of the car, change her diaper and get a little fresh air. If my distractions work I should be able to keep her awake as well coax her into sleep when nap time comes.
Accept You Need Additional Time
Traveling with a little one is going to be much different from when it was just us. Though I feel like I have everything planned out, I full-well know she will be dictating this show and I’m ok with that. Our family knows and respects that we have a little one and she’s the star of the show, stuff comes up and we may take longer than expected to get there.
As long as she’s happy, we’re happy. Happy kid=Happy life.
Any tips for travelling with a little one?