LONG Car Ride with 1 1/2 Year Old

Updated on May 04, 2010
M.C. asks from Windsor Locks, CT
9 answers

So, we are in the middle of contemplating a trip from our home in CT to Myrtle Beach, SC. With the cost of airline tickets and then having to rent a car down there, we've decided that driving would be the best way. It's about a 14 hour drive from our home. While down there we are able to rent a beautiful home on the beach for a very low rate. We will be there for 7 nights in early June (June 5 - 11).

So a few questions:

1. Has anyone ever been to Myrtle Beach? What type of beach is it (is it dirty? rocky? crowded?)
2. Has anyone ever taken a toddler in a car for that long (about 14 hours)? What advice do you have? Is it a bad idea?

We were planning on leaving around his bedtime (7 or 8 PM) and driving through the night (my husband works nights, so he is used to being awake throughout the night). Our son sleeps about 12 hours each night (though we've never tried to have him sleep much more than an hour trip in a carseat), so we are hoping he'd sleep through much of the journey.

Is there any other advice (including reasons we shouldn't take this trip)?

Thanks :)

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answers from St. Louis on

We have 4 kids and have been driving back home at least once a year since they were infants. Our car trip is 21 hours and 2 days. I have learned some tricks over the years.
1) Invest in a portable DVD player that straps to the back of the drivers seat. They can play your childs favorite movie or music CD.
2) Crayola makes markers that only color on special paper. This and a lap tray work wonders.
3) Sit in the seat next to your child is a good idea and makes it easier to tend to them without pulling the car over.
4) If they are awake, stop every 1 1/2 hours for about 10 minutes and let them run, run, run . . .. . play tag for a minute if you have to. It helps them to work of energy.
5) Have a small cooler with sippy cups of milk, juice and healthy snacks

And most important, don't forget the Motrin in case your child does not do well with long car rides!!

Good luck and have fun!!


answers from Minneapolis on

We've made numerous trips with our kids (up to 22hrs driving!) and never had a problem. The last was to Pennsylvania with our boys, then 6 and 3. It was also the first time our 3yr old was forward facing for a long trip. The one before that they were 5.5 and 2.5 and he was still rear facing, and again did just fine.

We never drive at night, we drive during the day and stop at night to sleep. That way nobody is totally wiped when we get to our destination. We do have a DVD player for long trips only, so thats a bonus for them they enjoy. We also have lots of games, books, and toys in teh car for them, and snacks. We use a backpack and belt it in the middle of their car seats so its not a projectile, and fill that with snacks, books and games. They both enjoy using my iPod touch for games, and they listen to music.

They napped, we took breaks, they talked and played, and yes, had the occasional tissy about being in the car so long. But its a great family experience, we now take all of our vacations via road trip.



answers from Dallas on

Our daughter lives an eight hour drive from us. Because she's got two babies under two years old, I like to catch a train up, and drive back to our house with her and the babies. For whatever reasons, all of us tend to be night travelers, too. That is very helpful when traveling with little ones if you can do it safely.
One tip that my daughter and I particulary liked was having little clamp-on reading lights on or near the carseats. They can be directed to shine on hanging toys on the handle for the little bitty one in the backwards facing carrier/seat. They help focus their attention, I guess.
(I don't like driving with interior lights on, but these can be directed so they're not a distraction.)



answers from Boise on

I traveled with a 1.5 year old at Thanksgiving. We left right before his nap (about noon) so that he had the morning to run. He drank lots of milk (and wet alot!), and we had a bribe bag for him. I think I only took at 2 cars on the way down, he was awesome. We stopped for dinner, although he really wanted stops more for cuddles, than for time out of the car, and then his bedtime came and he went to sleep.

I only recommend the partial night drive because if he doesn't sleep well in the car, he can get the rest of it when you get there. You can also then sleep when you get there too, and wake up rested and ready to play with him in the morning.



answers from Detroit on

We have been to to Myrtle Beach about three times and it is a 16 hour trip for us. Traveling at night is a great idea he should sleep right through the drive. as for the beach it depends on which area you are at North , South or one of the other waterways. There are lot of things to do there off of the beach. I tprobably will be very crowded and downtown will be a parking lot if you go there in the middle of the day. My suggestion is if you are going to go downtown do it very early not as hot or busy, much easier with a toddler.


answers from Columbus on

When our oldest three were babies/toddlers, we did the same thing. We lived in GA and our family was in IA. It was 14 hours for us, too. We drove through the night and with kids that young, that was really the only way we could do it and not lose our minds somewhere in Northern Tennessee! LOL! Since your hubby is used to it, that is a huge bonus. We eventually quit the all night driving, because it got dangerous. Both hubby and I would report halucinating while driving - not good. One of mine was more of a light sleeper, so getting in and out of the van to use the bathroom, get gas, food, etc. sometimes woke him. He usually went back to sleep with little issue, but if yours is a light sleeper, you might want to keep the stops to as much of a minimum as possible.
We've never been to Myrtle Beach, but have heard it's a favorite with families. We have been going to Fripp Island, SC. It's so much fun. We go with my sibling's families and have a blast. It's very secluded, but not so out there, you hear banjo music - if you know what I mean.....The island is private, so once you get there, you have to sign in and use cards to get food, etc. This is so that there aren't zillions of people all trying to share the same beach and restaurants. It's marketed as a golf destination, but while we were there, we played zero golf and still had a great time. It's a wildlife preserve - wildlife meaning mostly deer. They come right up to you and will graze outside your door. Completely domesticated. The kids loved that. We are going back this August and are very excited. Just FYI. Good luck and have fun!!!!



answers from Salt Lake City on

We've traveled a lot with our little kids. We drove from Salt Lake City, UT to Rapid City, SD (about 14 hours) when our youngest was 3. The best advice I have on a long drive is to plan on stopping more than you would if you're by yourselves. Since he'll likely be sleeping, you won't need to entertain him a whole lot but also be prepared in case he ends up awake all night. Have some toys and books he can look at, and snacks you don't mind him eating in the car. Also make sure there's room for you to sit in the back with him incase it becomes necessary.
And plan a lot of unscheduled time on the trip - time where he (and you) can just rest, hang out, etc. And take stuff he's familiar with and like to play with. There will be enough new stuff there already, he's going to need some familiarity. Don't forget the sunscreen either!! Apply regularly and stay in the shade between 11 and 4, and drink lots of water.



answers from Anchorage on

I drove from MT to AK with a almost 2 year old and his almost 4 year old brother. Bring their favorite toy, and a portable DVD player if you have access to one. Starting at night is a great plan for this trip, you will only have the day hours of the trip to worry about. Just be sure to stop every few waking hours so he can run and stretch if need be. We traveled during the day, every day for 5 days, and I was surprised at how well they did, you may be pleasantly surprised as well. :)

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