16 answers

Tips for Travel

My husband and I will be taking our first long road trip to see Grandparents (about 11 hours) with our 1 year old twins. Does anyone have any tips for traveling with little ones that can help make this road trip fun and go smoothly? Thanks!

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Benadryl and Dramamine...no.no.no. just kidding! try driving around nap times or bedtimes. take lots of little breaks at road side safe parks - fun non messy snacks - dvd if you have it on board. tapes/fun silly songs.

happy traveling!
how about a portable dvd player with their favorite cartoons?
bring light blankets, small snacks, stop frequently to relieve them of boredom and diaper changes. Lots of their favorite, or new toys. shades for the side windows when the sun is too harsh.
Lullaby cd's to put them to sleep, or calm them down.

More Answers

Absolutely, positively drive at night! We used to make the trip from Denver to McKinney a few times a year (about a 14 hour drive), and it's the most sane way to go. The kids sleep through the trip, by and large (except when you pull up to a gas station and the attendant screams a greeting through the speakers...ARGH!!!!) -- you can drive in shifts with your husband, and catch some sleep on your breaks. Traffic isn't an issue, and as long as you're on interstates, there are gas stations open all night long. My kids are older now, but even today if we have a long car trip, we still drive only at night.

Before moving back home to Texas, my husband and I lived in Georgia for almost 3 years. It's a thirteen hour drive without stops and we did it with 3 and later 4 small children. My suggestion would be to either drive through the night or plan on making atleast a couple of lengthy stops that are fun for the kids and during which time they can run and play. Also, we always allow each child to pack their own backpack with just a few things they can have in the car for entertainment...books, coloring books ( color wonder products are great because you don't have to worry about a mess ) and a couple of other toy items like maybe a handful of large legos or action figures/dolls. Also, we usually throw our no-food-in-the-care rule out the window during these trips and allow some snacks that are not too messy, along with sport bottles with juice or water. These are just a few things that really helped our trips be fairly painless. I think the only times that were really difficult was when we had a newborn who needed to breast feed every 2-3 hours! You'll do great, and I think the most important thing is to just relax, have fun and don't put too much pressure on yourself. Plan your stops, but be flexible, too. You'll do great and your family will have a good time, too!

Don't do it!!! :)

When our kids were 1 year old, and 2 years old, we moved from Colorado to Texas. We drove in the U-haul and our family car... Our kids were good - but it was so frustrating because they would get grumpy and couldn't TALK to tell us what they wanted. We decided to NEVER travel with them until they could easily convey what they wanted / needed.
Now, with that being said... I highly encourage you to NOT get a DVD player for the trip! We have taken many road trips - never with a DVD player, and our kids LOVE to travel "on the road" now. They look forward to the "peace and quiet". I think it is because they are forced to come up with new and intriguing things to do. Looking back, if we had got a DVD player, who knows if they would still enjoy the beauty of the road.
Now, what to take?! When we moved, Teletubbies were really big, and our oldest was really into them. He had the yellow one that sang. Our youngest was not really into anything yet (she was 1), so we just took her favorite toys that would keep her entertained. We had some kid books on tape, and some kid songs on tape and I think that helped a lot too. Of course, Cheerios and their tippy cups filled with juice and milk.
Good luck! I really mean it. Good luck.

We have been taking long road trips since my four year old was four weeks old. We just returned from a road trip to Wisconsin with my four year old and my seven week old. Rotate activities. Hopefully at their age, they will sleep a lot. Try to stick to a modified version of their normal routine. And try to do as much as possible in the car. Stop at a rest area and let them run for a little bit, then change diapers and get back in the car. Then have snacks, then read books, then watch a movie (we have a portable DVD player we use in the car). Sing-a-long tapes are great. As several other people have suggested, drive at night or when your children are normally asleep. If they are awake, try to make stops every couple of hours so they can burn off some energy. Take along a ball for them to chase or some type of activity to encourage them to move around during the stops.

What I would suggest is starting your travel in the evening...I know that it sounds crazy, but it makes traveling SOOOO much easier in the car. We would always put ours in their PJ's around 4:00pm and get in th car and start driving. We would take turns driving through the night. Just prepare Grandma and Grandpa that you will be sleeping when you get there or you can do what we did on our last journey and drive until midnight or so and stop at a hotel and catch a few hours of shut eye before you finish the last little bit of driving. I would HIGHLY recommend a DVD player - our very first driving road trip we actually stoppped on the way and bought a DVD player and about 10 DVD's! It was such a life saver. Other than that be very prepared with snacks and drinks and make sure that you have a very loaded down diaper bag with ALL of your supplies. One more thing, if you plan on stopping on the way to stay at a hotel (and even if you think you don't need to) bring an overnight bag with a change of clothes and toiletries for everyone. Bring some books and your kids lovies if they have them. Also know that if it is a 10 hour drive without kids, it is a 13 to 15 drive with them. We drove to Franklin, Tennessee this summer and normally 10 hour drive was 14 hours with our toddler and 6 month old.

You may not believe in kids your age watching tv, but a portable dvd player is sure to do the trick. My inlaws live that far away and we just take lots of toys and snacks to keep our one year old (at the time) occupied. We didn't believe in letting her watch tv yet, but since, we have discovered that the portable dvd is a lifesaver. Have fun!

Benadryl and Dramamine...no.no.no. just kidding! try driving around nap times or bedtimes. take lots of little breaks at road side safe parks - fun non messy snacks - dvd if you have it on board. tapes/fun silly songs.

Hi K.
I traveled with both my girls all the way to Europe all by my self.....more then once since they were infants. i can tell you what it works for me. Pack a backbag with toys they have never seen or used before, they we'll be more interested. my kids love stickers and books. at 1 year they are probably too young for dvd, but they will play with a new car or a baby dolls! and since you travel by car you can sing songs without annoying anybody!!!
good luck and have fun....!

drive at night and take movies for other times lots of snacks for morning and night
my son slept about 10 of our 12 hr trip. did great.

happy traveling!
how about a portable dvd player with their favorite cartoons?
bring light blankets, small snacks, stop frequently to relieve them of boredom and diaper changes. Lots of their favorite, or new toys. shades for the side windows when the sun is too harsh.
Lullaby cd's to put them to sleep, or calm them down.

Hi, K.-
Best advice is feed dinner,load up and travel at night. That way they sleep most of the time. We did a 9-hour trip for the first time when our twins were a year old and it worked out perfect! They slept almost the entire time. When they woke up, we changed them, fed them and off we went. I read to them and they pretty much went right back to sleep! Good luck and hope you guys have a wonderful visit!


I would suggest bringing some of there favorite toys and then pick out a few new toys at the store and save them for the trip. We also stop and stretch legs and look around a lot. We didn't do the DVD player b/c we don't want our son getting hooked on TV. Your trip might take a few extra hours but they will be fun hours not screaming crying wanting to pull your hair out hours.

We also pack a cooler so we don't have to stop for drinks and snacks much, that is also a great way to help with junk food issues.

Good Luck,

I always feed my kids in their carseats in the car so that when we stop they can run around instead of sit down in a restaurant. Also the DVD player is worth any price. I don't know if at 1 they like to watch TV, but if they do--exploit it! Happy Traveling...

Go to the dollar stores and get as many safe things for 1 year olds that you can find, along with appropriate snacks. Every 30 minutes give them the new toy/snack. I know it works on 2 years old so hopefully it'll work on 1 year olds, too. And they'll probably sleep more in the car. CDs work well, too.

And be sure to get them out of the car about every 2 hours more or less. Even adults need to stretch their legs.

Hope you have a safe and bearable trip!

Ditto some of the other mom's commments in regards to trying to do part of your driving at night and for awake time be sure to have a DVD player with a collection of their favorite videos (and perhaps some new fun ones). Not sure if your twins are walking yet, but making sure you map out in advance good spots to stop along the way so everyone can get out to stretch and do diaper changes etc is a good idea. Having favorite snack and toys on hand too also important. Since they may be doing a lot of sleeping (or at least you hope they do) be sure you have adequate support for thier heads lay properly once they fall asleep. A few times when my daughter has fallen alseep her head might tilt a funny way and if the drive would be longer than the short 30 minutes I was going - I probably would have stopped to adjust her head and/or provided a mini pillow for more support so she didn't wake up with uncomfortableness. You mentioned it was an 11 hour trip. If you plan to tackle that 11 hrs in two days and plan an overnight stay in a hotel, consider the sleeping arrangements for your twins as well. (e.g. are you bringing a pack-n-play to sleep them in, have mini travel sleep beds, or do you just plan to wing it?)

My twins are now 3yrs old and we have done several plane flights but no super long car trips. With all the baby gear required I've got to think that car trip is probably nicer/easier travel than air. Best wishes to you. Let us know how it goes!

If you and your husband can handle it definitely drive through the night!!!

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