Travel over 700 Miles

Updated on May 06, 2015
D.P. asks from Gainesville, FL
10 answers

my husband and i are getting ready to go visit family and we have a 4 yr old and a 5 1/2 month old, we would like to travel at night so the kids sleep through most of the trip but it going to takes us about 11 hours to get there. i wanted to see if any one has any helpful advice about traveling with youger children like entertainment or easy road snacks any advice will be helpful.thank you

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answers from Spokane on

Traveling at night is the best way! The DVD player and movie is also very helpful, as well as any "gameboy, DS, PSP, leapster" hand held devices, they are so cool and you can find the older versions and used games fairly cheap at the local "trade a game" type places.

I always dress them in comfy clothes, bring their pillow and blanket and try to make them as comfy cozy as possible.

Snacks are so easy...especially if you want to pack a small cooler to fit in front with can make sandwiches, pack individual snacks in baggies, ready to be doled out as necessary. Mini donuts are a fun treat for my kids, they love them! Spill proof sippy cups are also a life savor on the upholstery, even for the 4 yr old. You can pack one big thing of water/juice/gatorade and fill as needed.

When we travel in the car like this...all bets are off as far as "normal rules" apply! I usually pack them a healthy sandwich, then go crazy with all the goodies they normally never have! Keeps it fun, and keeps everyone in a good mood!

I have my own 12 hour car ride to plan for this Aug. I will be traveling with 5 kids ages 18,15,6,4,2...gotta be thankful for the hubbies who will drive thru the night to make things easier for the rest of the family!!

~Don't forget the trash bag for all the cleanup...saves the poor car from getting thrashed from sticky chocolaty wrappers...and the extra diaper wipes for lil' hands and faces!

We always do the books on tape too...although your kids are pretty small, maybe you and your DH could pick something for you two to enjoy for once the kids fall out!

Have fun and make it as comfy cozy as possible! It'll be great!



answers from Tampa on

Our family (with three boys) routinely travels long distances even 18 to 20 hours, and night travel is great with kids (though hard on parents, if you are not ready for it). I would suggest leave around 7 PM, and stop after couple of hours, if the kids are awake and let them play (depending upon weather and place -- even McDonald's playplace works good for indoors) and stretch. Then just drive while they are sleeping. You would be at your destination by the time they wake up for breakfast. For longer journeys, we stop at nice breakfast place, so kids enjoy and many times, take a break at the visitor center and let kids run on the trails and play in the playground for couple hours, so they are not sitting for 20 hours in the car.
You will be fine, just tired because you have been up all night and kids wake up full of energy the next day -- so get some thoughts that how they will be entertained and who will take care of them for few hours so you can rest also.



answers from Detroit on

We travel a lot with our kids on holidays and go on fishing and camping trips. We found a product that helped us heaps. It clips to your car interior light. It lets the kids eat their food in the back with the light on when it is dark outside. It doesn't distract the driver either. (you can buy it online at Saved our marriage!!



answers from Miami on

When I was little, my family drove across country to my father's new duty station. To keep my brother and I occupied, my mom would give us a new toy from her stash every day. This way, we didn't get bored quickly.
You could make a different toy available every few hours. Also, if you have a DVD player for your 4 year old, allow him/her to choose from only two different DVDs. When the child is ready to watch something else, you offer two new DVDs.



answers from Saginaw on

I would very strongly encourage you to split the drive over two days. Even if you 'can' drive for 11 hours straight, sleep-deprived driving is the same as alcohol-impaired driving, and few people are alert or competent between 3 and 5am. It will cost you one night in a motel and may save all of your lives.

The other benefit to splitting it is that it's only 5.5 hours/day, which means you can meander a little more, stop at every single rest stop and take in some of the (often free) sights to get out of the car and move around regularly, which will make the drive feel like you could do it nearly every day without going nuts (or driving your kids bananas).

Imagine it being 3am, one of the kids waking up and needing something, and having to stop and deal with it for an hour... and then having to continue driving for that extra hour awake. There is nothing about having children in a car that will prevent it from happening twice or even three times.

You'll also need to be really, really sure both your kids will actually sleep for that kind of time in the car. Imagine if they're awake and miserable for much of the night?

Seriously, reconsider the need to drive straight through. Professional truckers are forbidden by law from driving that much in a single day.



answers from Chicago on

I always put their favorite toys away several weeks before a long road trip. They seem to play with them longer if they have not seen them in a while. Also start collecting new cheep things that will keep your four year old entertained in the car. The dollar store and Michaels has a lot of cheep fun little trinkets. Definitely bring a DVD in the car. That may even keep the baby entertained as well. Lots of food that takes a while to eat. My kids love those dots on paper, cheerios and raisins, and Pez is also great for the car! Go to the library and get some fun sing along CDs for the car. The baby will love that. We also found that our kids love to listen to the books on tape during long car rides. Hope this helps!


answers from Tampa on

Hi D.,
A lot of responses and all good advice. Noticed everyone seemed to have your 4 yr old in mind and not a lot of advice for your 5.5 month old.
We drove the same distance with our daughter when she was 5.5 months old as well. Tampa to New Orleans. We left at 2 am. We got some sleep, got up, finished packing the car etc. When we were ready to leave I got her up and changed her bum, nursed her and we got her in the car. She fell asleep 15 minutes into the drive and slept until 7am, her "normal" wake-up time. We stopped, had breakfast and let her be out of her seat for a about and hour or more. Then we got on the road with her playing with "new" toys, one at a time. She played for about an hour and then slept again, her "normal" morning nap for about 1.5 hours. By this time it was close to lunch and we stopped again for about 45 minutes. She got in the car again and same routine, playing with toys in her seat. Whoever was in the passenger seat would lean back and play with her too. We made it to New Orleans in time to get settled in and she had her afternoon nap in her pack'n play in the hotel room and we rested a bit too.
I really think leaving in the middle of the night was the key as she was able to get her rest and we knocked out nearly 5+ hours of the drive before she woke up.
We did a similar trip this past November - drove to Knoxville from Tampa. Our daughter was 12 months then. We left at 4 pm this time. She played in the car and we stopped at 7 pm around Gainesville to eat and she crashed shortly after that. She slept the whole drive. We got in around 2 am. She woke up and played with her grandparents for the 30 minutes it took us to get her bed set-up etc. Then we did our bedtime routine and she slept from 2:30ish - nearly 8am.
Hope this encourages you!



answers from Daytona Beach on

We traveled during the day. We were going to travel at night so the kids (18 months and yrs.) could sleep and we could drive but that ended up not working because we were so tired. We decided to leave early in the morning. We bought a portable DVD player and they watched movies most of the time, books, coloring books and toys. I packed plenty of snacks (not messy ones) so they could eat. Cherrieos, crackers, raisens, whole wheat mini bagels, goldfish and etc. We stopped every 3 hrs. It seemed like a lot to stop that much but it gave us time to stretch our legs and potty. It gave the kids a few minutes to run around and stretch their legs as well. Plus the dr. recommended it. Don't forget pillows & blackets and things they sleep with. We let them stay in their pajamas too, they loved it...very comfortable. Have fun!




answers from Miami on

the four year old will be entertained by a dvd player
I'd get educational dvds like leapfrog letter factory, etc
and sesame street
and also some fun Noggin shows like Max & Ruby, Dora/Diego, Wonder Pets, etc.
a small magnadoodle is great for traveling, too
wrap up small gifts and give them out periodically over the journey- the baby will like the paper!! and the older one will like the little gifts (small little people, cars, etc)
as for snacks, all kinds of pre-bagged snacks like Annie's organic whole wheat crackers & cheddar cheese crackers, pirate booty, cooked raviolis, chicken nuggets, etc. all of these things stay 'good' for quite a while at room temperature!
make sure both of them drink something for take off & landing, so the sucking helps clear their ears



answers from Pittsburgh on

For your older O., a portable DVD player will be a godsend! The younger O. will be tougher to entertain maybe. When my son was younger I used to pack a bag full of new toys--small stuff from the dollar store, etc., and break O. out every half hour or hour.
Cooler with single serve milk, juice, crackers, cookies, etc....
You've probably done these road trips before, but my best advice is be prepared for anything!

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