First Major Road Trip in the Summer!

Updated on May 02, 2008
S.T. asks from Southfield, MI
19 answers

Hello everyone! My first cousin is getting married this summer in Georgia and the family has opted to drive down there for the event. This will be my daughter's first road trip and I need suggestions on ways to keep her occupied during the journey and also items that would be helpful to take along-what to keep diapers, toys, formula, juice,snacks, etc. in that will consolidate space in our Saturn Vue.

S. T.

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T.

answers from Detroit on

If she watches dvd's like the little einstein those are great to take along with a dvd player. I had issues if my little ones drink too much on the trip they leak through their diaper so you want to keep a close watch on that. A pain to clean up :) :)

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T.W.

answers from Grand Rapids on

S.,
A couple weeks ago we took a trip from MI to Florida, (it was the longest drive ever!) Our grandson slept mostly but, when he was awake we gave him toys that he liked, teething rings since he was getting his molars and eye teeth in and healthy snacks to keep him preoccupied. Also we do have a dvd player in the van but he likes to hear the music and really does not watch it. I had a flash light for night driving (he loves lights) and the last four hours were the worst because we drove straight through. However on the way home we drove 8 to 9 hours, and pulled over & stayed at a hotel, went swimming - which relaxed him before bedtime. But I found out his favorite was the bubbles, I had bought bubbles on the way back to MI and my daughter just blew it and blew it and he was tickled about it. The other is he loved books I brought along just for him and singing and fingerplay - itsy bisty spider, patty cake, this little piggy went... Best wishes on your trip.

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A.F.

answers from Grand Rapids on

My family and I travel quite a bit ( We have a three year old and 6 month old). I hate to admit it but we broke down and bought a DVD player last summer which has been so helpful on trips. Pack a couple of her favorite toys but also go and buy a couple of new toys that she will have while in the car and during activities while on your trip. When my son was younger he always had specific "car toys" for trips and loved them!
In terms of the drive, it is always easiest to go after work or drive during the night-when she sleeps the most. Although that is not the easiest for the parents!
YOu can alsways save space by purchasing extra diapers, wipes once you reach your destination-be sure to pack your coupons! A pack-n-play (portable bed) or feeding chair (high chair or little booster) could possibly be rounded up by friends or family members in Georgia so you can save the space in the vehicle. If you have to stop and eat or sleep on the way, those are always available for use at no charge, I always just bring my own linens. Have a fun trip!

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C.J.

answers from Lansing on

S.,

There have been a lot of great ideas posted already. I would only suggest going to the library and getting a few books on tape or CD, which ever your car uses. They can be adult interest books (we listened to the WalMart effect on the way to Florida two years ago) or children's books. Don't be afraid that your daughter won't understand the words or the story. Just hearing the language spoken by someone other than her parents can help her to assimilate words and different accents.

I hope you have a great time at your cousin's wedding!

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P.N.

answers from Detroit on

I have four children and we travel quite a bit. When the children were younger, we would get heavy cardboard shoe boxes or small plastic bins and start accumulating items to keep in them for the trip without them knowing. Items would include small coloring books and crayons, small reading/picture books, small toys such as cars, stuffed animals, dolls, etc... small treats such as fruit snacks, crackers, juice boxes. Then we would surprise them with it when the started getting restless in the car. The boxes usually fit nicely under the seat and can be used as a "table" to color on. Also, a portable DVD player with numerous movies or cartoons is very, very helpful.

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M.K.

answers from Detroit on

what fun!! i started my kids when they were young too. try bringing CDs with her favorite music along. if you and your husband are taking turns driving, one of you can sit in the back and play with the baby bring pillows and dress comfortably in case the baby falls asleep and you might want to take a snooze as well.

maybe for the first day of the trip, pack a picnic and stop at a rest area. afterward, play with a ball or bring bubbles to blow so your baby can run around. then when your baby's tired she'll sleep for a couple of hours. you've spent time together and saved a little money by not having to go (and wait!!) to a restaurant (considering the gas prices).

enjoy your trip.

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K.N.

answers from Detroit on

Buy a portable DVD player and some DVDs for her. I have 19 month old twin boys and we went last summer (when they were about 8 mos) on a family trip driving to NY to the Adirondacks for a family reunion etc. It was was worth the $100 I spent on the portable DVD player. I was able to use it in the car and also hook it up to a TV while we were there.

Also, Pack a few small board books, and small toys. I would consider making them toys that you won't care too much about (and neither will she) if you happen to leave them / lose them.

Depending on where you are staying, pack some safety items. Outlet plugs and the things to keep cupboard doors shut and closet doors shut are extremely helpful. I took these items when we went to FL this past Feb & it was good I did because the hotels we stayed at had nothing.

Plan to buy diapers and foods that she will want / eat when you get there for your stay. Only take what you will need for the driving portion of the trip.

If you are staying at a hotel, you can request a Crib (Pack N Play) for her to sleep in. I would also look into getting one of those portable Safety 1st inflatable booster seats - these are awesome. I was able to take 2 of them in a suitecase with us to FL. Wal mart sells them for about $20. You blow it up to inflate it for use and can deflate it so it packs flat. Great also for toting around to different places like restaurants, G&G's house, etc.

Take some of the Huggies washcloths that have the soap right on them and use those for her baths rather than lugging baby wash or buying it there. You can slip a few into a ziploc bag and toss it into your travel case.

Take plastic grocery bags and keep them in your car so you can use them for garbage and dirty diapers -- then toss them out as soon as you are at a gas station etc. in one of their garbage cans.

If you are going to be staying with relatives or near relatives, pack only the ESSENTIAL clothing you will all need. You can use their washer / dryer to wash clothes at least once while you are there so you don't have to pack as much clothing. This will really help conserve on space in your vehicle.

You can also consider asking your relatives to borrow a pack n play from a neighbor etc. or purchase one from a thrift store for you and reimburse them for it and then use it while you are there (if you are staying at their house) This will also help conserve space in your vehicle. A crib mattress on the floor will work too. You could do this for some toys too.

Bring your own sheets for the crib or PNP and at least 1 blanket and whatever she likes to sleep with. Most hotels do not have crib or PNP sheets, and I found that by bringing my own, my boys slept better because it smelled like home (the sheets from using our usual laundry detergent).

K.
Mom to Alex (10) Aaron & Aidan (19 month old twins)
Michigan

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S.D.

answers from Detroit on

Hi there!! My husband and I have a 17 month old little girl. We took a road trip to DC last August and she was about 9 months old and then we just recently took a trip to South Carolina over Easter. Bring lots of books!! Well kids are all different, but I will tell you the things we did.

We brought all kinds of books, she loves books. I took a ball and we would toss it back and forth. Good music, we had the Annie CD and played it more times then I can count!

Also before you leave make sure she is up and playing and getting tired if you can for a few hours before you leave, then when you get in the car try to keep her awake for an hour or more if you can and then hopefully she will sleep for a couple of hours. Then when she wakes up don't look at her or talk to her ( I know sounds bad, but once you engage them they want out) So with our daughter we would let her wake up and look out the window, she would do this sometimes for almost an hour...still tired! Have snacks, and also if you have to sit in the back seat beside her and play or whatever. When you stop for gas or to eat, let her run and try to get her legs going before jumping back in the car.

You can do it, just bring stuff she likes and can play with in the car. Our daughter doesn't like to watch t.v but maybe beven bringing a portable DVD player with her favourite cartoons, like Elmo or something can help!

Hope I helped!! Have fun and just be prepared that you may have to stop more then you thought or have had to before!! It will be worth it once you get there!!!

Chat later,
S. :)

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E.K.

answers from Kalamazoo on

You could try driving at night, she might sleep through the whole trip, and less traffic too.

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A.P.

answers from Detroit on

Trips to DD's grandparents are normally about a 9 hour drive. When she was little we tried to drive after work, making it so that she would sleep. Now we swear by the DVD player. We got one at target that wraps around the headrest. It's just a screen so it's easy to hook up.

I normally pack a few toys, but she really does a great job of entertaining herself ;)

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C.V.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Hi S.,
With whatever trip we go on I go to the dollar store before and get a lot of little new toys. That always occupies some time. We have also used those doodle pro magna doodles. That way they can color without the mess. Also, you could borrow or buy a portable dvd player. I always plan a lot of time for the drive that way if the kids get restless we can stop and let them run for a little bit. We try and make the stops around a meal time to hit 2 birds with one stone. Try not to stress out if things don't go the way that you planned. I go with expectations that are in check. They are kids and kids can't sit for hours and hours without being able to get up and move a little. Have lots of fun.
Chris

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C.C.

answers from Detroit on

My family and I used to live in Georgia when I was little and every year we would drive to Michigan to visit my grandparents during the summer. One option to think about is if you would be able to drive at night. This way your daughter will sleep through the entire trip and you won't have to worry too much. However, if you cannot do that, I would recommend having a backpack or duffle bag of her favorite toys, the ones that she plays with for the longest period of time. My mom would always buy us one or two new small toys to take along as well, this way we would have something new and interesting to play with. We would stop at rest areas and strech out and make stops for the bathroom, but I am assuming your daughter is still in diapers.

As for packing things, I would suggest smaller stackable plastic bins (one for all baby gear, i.e. diapers, wipes, bottles, formula) Luggage can usually stack nicely. Just make sure you have it packed with the bags you will need the most on top.

I'm not sure how far down in Georgia you are traveling but I just want to let you know that rest areas are few and far between. It's nothing like Michigan where you find one every 30 miles or so it seems. Just a heads up anyway.

I hope this helps a little bit. My other suggestions wouldn't work as your daughter is too young for them yet. Have a great time!

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K.D.

answers from Detroit on

Hi We picked up new toys that our kids had never seen, planned LOTS of stops and took only the things that we couldn't live without that way if the stores down there didn't carry it we were safe. Also make sure you have plenty of munchies for the adults that way if your child falls asleep you don't have to risk waking her up to stop for food.

Good luck, have fun and plan for the worst, that way if it goes smoother great, but you wont get stressed because it went the way you planned.
K.

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D.H.

answers from Detroit on

Hi S. -
I also have a Vue, so I know how much room you have to work with. They sell a soft luggage carrier at Target for about $30. You can fit alot in it! It's only weather "resistant", not weather-proof, so I take a roll of plastic drop-cloth and lay it in there, overlapping the sides quite a bit, then put the luggage (or stroller, or whatever) in, then bring the ends together on top of the luggage. It's worked for us even driving through thunder storms.
One good idea for such a long drive, is to leave at night so that she sleeps through most of the drive. I know alot of people who have done that, and it's worked well.
Good luck with school - I'm an OB nurse and I love it!

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L.D.

answers from Detroit on

never mind the kids, good luck with the COST OF GAS!!

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C.G.

answers from Detroit on

One thing that we do on our road trips with our kids (4 and 2) is plan our big stops for malls. Any good atlas will show them on the "city zoom maps" and then we can all get out and make use of the large indoor running around time. This works great when the mall has a play area, but even when it doesn't the kids can still run around-- even when we run into a thunderstorm. As far as packing, keep it simple and know that you can pick up things along the way if necessary-- diapers, wipes, formula, food, etc. (Walmart or Target also makes a good rest stop if you need the basics). Finally, we leave around 3 in the morning for our trips (12-17 hrs). I can't drive all night long because I am a mess when we get there, but I can wake up really early and still allow the kids to sleep for the first 4 hours or so and be productive when we get there.

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C.B.

answers from Detroit on

What do you usually take along for closer road trips? Just multiply it. How long will it take, how long will you be gone? How often does she need feeding? I mean you've got to figure this out based on what's normal.

What time does she wake up? What time are you leaving? Does she need a diaper change straight out of bed or right after eating? Favorite toys that she can't survive without. Take as much non-perishable as possible. I mean does it require a cooler or what. Whatever you're taking for yourselves, like a cooler for water, base what you take on everyone's normal routine stuff.

Have a safe trip, drive careful. And a happy reunion too!

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C.R.

answers from Detroit on

Good Lord Girl,
Pack your patience first. I just took twin 14-mo-old boys from MI to TN (8 hour trip) and it took almost 13 hours. Like most other things in life these days, remember, it's their world and you just live in it. If she's very active, be prepared to stop every 3-4 hours and get out of the vehicle (if she's awake). Even if it's just to do a diaper check or walk around a gas station, she needs the change in scenery. Also, save all the big treats for times of distress. Do not start off by giving her toys, singing songs, etc. Let her wing it for as long as she can and then pull out all the stops when absolutely necessary. Remember, too, goofy things entertain little ones...opening and closing the window repeatidly and making a funny noise, pointing out birds, etc. If at all possible, leave at bedtime and drive through the night. This will be a Godsend. She will sleep most of the time and you won't have to check for diaper changes so often. Once you get in to the feeding in the car, it gets crazy. Good snacks are anything in the Gerber isle! Aside from snacks, try to eat in a restaurant of some sort just to get out. When you get there, try to keep her on her normal eating and sleeping schedule (I know, ha...) Make sure you have a pack-n-play with you so she can sleep in her own bed like usual. When you get home, be prepared for anything - night wakings, fussiness, and goofy eating routines. Again, it's all about your perspective. If you go in to this realizing it's flipping her whole world upside down and she's going to react to it, you'll be fine! Whatever you do, do not expect her to be the patient one!

On another note, I run my own health and wellness/skin care business from home and I love it! I can tell you more about it. It's allowed me to stay home and raise my 15-month-old twin boys. I'm also 8 months pregnant with another little man :). Being home with my kids is priceless and I love working for myself. I'm very independent and self-motivated and the benefits have been amazing. My email is [email protected]____.com if you want to talk more.

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K.W.

answers from Grand Rapids on

All of my family lives down in ohio which is a 7 hour drive and i go down with my 2 kids about every other month. One thing i could not live without is the DVD player! I love it! And the kids love it, they are 7 and 2. I keep 2 bags upfront, the diaper bag and snack bag. I have toys too but my daughter usually just ends up throwing them everywhere and she has a binky so i keep alot of them with me too! Then we have a cooler that is like a refrigerator that you plug into one of your outlets and i usually put bottled water, juice boxes, sippy cups or what ever you need to keep cold and it works really well! Hope you have a great trip!!

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