Welcome to the third installment of the Travel Time with Tots: By Sky, Land, and Sea travel tips series! If you are travelling with a baby, toddler, or preschooler this holiday season (or any other time), then this series is for you! Here are the four parts to this series (some of the links won’t work until the post is published):
- Travel Time with Tots: Generic Travel Tips These are the need-to-know travel tips that can be applied to just about every travel situation.
- Travel by Sky: Take Off Taking off into the wild blue sky to fly to your destination–wee ones in tow? Here’s what to know when in flight.
- Travel by Land: Road Trip Are we there yet? Avoid this dreaded question and make the most out of that long road trip with your kiddos.
- Travel by Sea: Cruising Along Hitting up the high seas? Discover some tried and true tips to make cruising with a wee one a true bon voyage.
Hitting the road can be a looooonnnngggg…booooorrrrrriiiinnnnggg…trip that seems to last FOREVER–especially if you’re a little kid! Here are some tips to make your trip not only easier, but also more fun for the wee ones in tow…and, hopefully, they’ll eliminate the repetitious “Are we there yet?” inquiries!
- The right time. If your wee one sleeps well in the car, be careful to leave in a timely manner. To make it less boring for them and less stressful for you, try hitting the road just before their nap time. No, they may not sleep the whole trip. But at least they’ll be unconscious for part of it. Or, if weather allows and you don’t mind driving at night, opt for pulling an all-nighter. Leave at your child’s bed time.
- DVD player. Whether it be one that comes with the vehicle, one that mounts on the back of the front seats, or one that you can carry in your lap, a portable DVD player will be the best purchase you have ever made in your entire life when it comes to road trips with wee ones (just ask my husband)! Don’t forget to bring a bunch of long movies (so you don’t have to change the DVD as often; put them in a CD case to make them more compact and convenient).
- Fun cake pan. Besides the entertainment options I mentioned in my generic tips post and the must have DVD player, here’s an awesome idea presented by my contributing writer Tiffany. Buy a 9- by 13-inch cake pan with a lid. The lid is important to corral items. Store crayons, coloring books, sheets of paper, magnets, and so on in the cake pan. The walls of the pan keep crayons from rolling out and the magents are handy for holding the coloring page or paper down. You could also glue cars to the back of magnets (or buy car-shaped magnets), put a map on the bottom inside of the cake pan, and “drive” the car magnets along the roads. Genius!
- CDs. A third thing along the lines of entertainment (did I mention road trips can be boring?), CDs. Bring along music CDs to sing along with or audio books to listen to. My husband’s favorite is the Patch the Pirate series.
- Dirty diapers. If your child is still in diapers, don’t pull over at a gas station to change them. Gas stations are usually pretty icky and many times don’t have changing tables. Instead, pull over at a fast food restaurant or a grocery store. Their bathrooms are usually cleaner and most likely have a changing table. Don’t forget to either sanitize the changing table and/or lay down a changing pad!
- Potty time. Rene, one of my readers, suggest bringing along a potty chair and some wipes (I might consider flushable wipes) so you can pull over any time for emergency potty stops. Debbie, another reader, had the genius idea of cutting a diaper in half and laying it in the bottom of the potty chair to absorb any liquids, making clean up much less messy. For even easier clean up, you could also purchase some potty chair liners.
- Playrooms. When you stop to get a meal, don’t go to a fancy sit-down restaurant. The LAST thing your wee ones are gonna want to do is sit some more. Instead, look for a McDonald’s or other fast food joint with a playground so that your older wee ones can move around and play and both they and the younger ones are free to be as noisy as they’d like.
- Travel in segments. Say you’re driving 15 hours or more. When wee ones are in tow, I do not recommend doing the full journey at once. Instead, do half of the way one day, stop at a hotel for the night, then get back to it the next day. Otherwise, you’ll just exhaust both your kiddos and yourself!
- Sun shades. Wee ones are grumpy (for obvious reasons) when the sun is their face. Buy some sun shades for the windows and a Chase Away the Sun to block sunlight coming in from the windshield.
- Trash. Use a flip-top cereal keeper with a grocery bag as a liner to collect trash. This reduces mess and makes for easy disposable!
- Carsickness. Be sure to bring along a bucket or plastic grocery bags for carsick emergencies! Also pack saltines and ginger or peppermint candies for this same purpose.
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Have you been on a road trip with a wee one lately or are planning a road trip soon? Do you have any tips or advice to give that was not laid out in this post? Feel free to share in a comment below!
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