We have been travelling around with baby A since a long time. he also went on vacation to Europe for 20 days before he turned 2. He is a good traveller and loves to travel around with us. He is not a fussy baby at all and it’s easy to travel with him. But there are certain things to take care or while travelling with kids. Do read my blog on 15 tips on how to make travelling with a Baby easy
Here I am sharing my tips on how to travel with kids on a road trip.
Plan your travel around your child’s routine
We travelled for the first time for a vacation when baby A was 5 months old. Being new parents we had no clue about a lot of things and the one big mistake that we ended up doing was we booked an extra long journey. This involved flight changes, and the first flight was at around 6 AM.
We thought we would start early. A flight at 6AM meant that we woke the baby around 4AM, fed him, changed him and left for the airport. He was super excited to be going out with us. He is a happy child and all the way to airport and at the airport he was playful and laughing. Smiling at people and generally excited to see so much hustle bustle around him. He played with and laughed with all the people at the airport who were happy to see a cute baby and wanted to play with him.
We boarded the flight and that’s when it went bad. He started bawling and I promise you it was nothing like we had ever experienced before. We had never seen him cry so much. I tried feeding him, calming him. But to no avail. The flight was taxing on the runaway and here my baby was crying his lungs out. Toys, sippers, even mobile, nothing worked. Finally I was able to calm him down enough to start breast feeding. He slowly calmed down, breast fed and then finally slept peacefully. But those 20 mins were enough to rattle us up. Then much later on in the day this scene repeated again.
That’s when we realised our mistake. We broke up a tiny baby’s set pattern and turned around his timetable to suit our travel plans.
From that day onward, we swore that we wont do it again till he is atleast 5 years old.
We now always ensure that we don’t disrupt his normal routine as much as possible. We take late morning flights and start out late. We also ensure that his food and timetable is adhered to as much as possible.
In a bid to start and reach early, don’t start too early at dawn when you are going on a road trip. Waking a sleeping child abruptly and before he is fully rested is not good and if possible we avoid it. We start for our road trips a lot later in the morning and not at dawn. We have our normal waking up routine for baby.
Don’t drive long stretches in one day.
Don’t take very long stretches of journey. Break it into stops.
Our Second Learning was when we travelled by road for 8 hours straight with two breaks in between when he was 1 year old. He slept, ate and played in the car. When we reached the hotel finally, he was playful even then. But later at night, he started crying and wouldn’t sleep. I realised finally that he had gas from random eating times maybe and gave him home medicines. He was over tired and exhausted with such a long journey and thus was restless.
We gave him a massage and he finally slept.
This time when we went to Udaipur, We took a break and stopped for the night at Pushkar on our way and took a days break at Jaipur on our return journey. Though it was highly drivable in one day, Now we travel for maximum 4/6 hours on road with breaks included. We don’t want to overtire him.
Prepare your child beforehand
Kids love excitement but can also be overwhelmed with sudden changes. Always tell your child beforehand about your travel plans. We talk a lot to A about our upcoming plans always, that way he is prepared and excited about it too. He knows when he is going on a vacation and we tell him how we are gonna go. We talk about whether we will drive or fly and he looks forward to it. On the day of the vacation his excitement is as infectious as anything 😀
Involve your kid
I let him pack his own bag, yes I know he can’ really do that. But it’s ok, he puts his own stuff in his tiny suitcase and I let him. I know I will repack his things anyway but letting him get involved makes him so happy. He loves his small trolley suitcase and insists on pulling it around everywhere. He has his small backpacks which I let him fill with his colours, books and toy cars etc. these actually keeps him busy during the journey. As he looks forward to playing with them in the car.
Always always put your child in car seat while travelling.
Carry a pillow
During the journey, baby A wants to nap and then he wants to sleep on my lap nestled in my arms. I shift to the back seat then but I always take a big cushion or pillow in the car when the journey is long. I know how painful it gets when your child is sleeping for hours on your arms and you are sitting in that one same position. A pillow greatly helps to ease the pain trust me as you don’t need to keep holding your arm in the air. Carry one for sure
Carry a light stole/ shaw/ big towel
Even if you have sunlight covers, a big towel / stole is very necessary to protect from the harsh rays and also if the car is a bit chilly.
Carry Fruits and packed edibles which your child loves. I am not that great that I would cook an elaborate meal and snacks before leaving. Specially now that baby A is 3 years old and there is no need to carry his food separately. He eats all that we eat. But still I don’t want him to eat completely unknown motel food and snacks. This is the time to load on all the known junk. Good quality junk which you may not be giving him other wise. A pack of good quality Pringles is a better choice than roadside snacks. I won’t lie I buy all possible junk, but junk which I can trust, before we go for a road trip. Kids get bored easily and eating chips and cakes keeps them busy 😑. Also Bananas, cold milk shake cartons or juices are a good choice.
Insulated Chiller Bag
This is one of my favourite buys. I use this insulated bag for all my travels. I put 2 ice packs inside and we carry all our cold drinks, baby’s milk, his juices or shakes, inside the bag. I also had my breast milk Ice bag from Medela which served the same purpose but that I gave away after I stopped breast feeding. But it was not this roomy and only took small bottles. This bag carries a lot of stuff. Here is the link to the chiller bag I use Insulated chiller Bag
Keep 2 changes of cloth handy
This is important for spills , pukes or any other such instances. It could be a real pain to pull out a set of vest and clothes from out of a large suitcase while standing at the side of the road
I can’t stress enough how important are tissues when travelling by car. I keep at least 2 boxes of tissues handy. You never know when drinks will be spilled or bananas will be choked and splattered on the floor and the tiny hands would need to be cleaned on your clothes.
This is anyway something you always need while travelling.
Learn some car games.
Do a simple google search and you will find so many car games. Teach them to your bub and he will be busy and keep you entertained too 😀.
Download rhymes and stories
Download some things your child loves to watch on your iPad or phone.
Bring some games
Small games like magnetic board, board books etc can keep the kid engaged for some time. If possible get a new game which will probably garner more excitement.
Keep some newspapers handy
They are a saviour in case of spills and drops and pukes and so many other things.
Keep your child’s basic medicines handy as you may not be able to find a pharmacy or store easily on the road. Tummy pain, fever, cough, vomit etc are some basic medicines you should carry handy in the car
Carry the water that baby is gonna drink
Even if you buy only mineral water while on the road, there is always a doubt on its originality and quality. Why take the risk? I carry enough water for him from home.
Hope this helps when you plan your next road trip.
Until next time,
Love 💕 💖 Smita