Today’s travel tips in the Sanity Travel Tips Series come from my good friend Evelyn who lives in North Carolina and has been road-tripping with her toddler since he was born; and also from Scott at Get Better Mary Elizabeth, who has a middle-school daughter and elementary-age twins, so he is a bona fide professional.
Evelyn’s Road Trip Survival Tips
- Have an endless supply of books or toys or whatever entertains your child within arm’s reach of the passenger (or driver if going solo), so that you can chuck a new toy at your little one as soon as they are tired of the toy they are playing with. Number of toys/books to take = number of hours of trip X 10, then add a few more for good measure. [Editor’s note: I like your style, and the imagery! Is the little tot good at dodging the incoming toys? Ever poked his eye out?]
- Have a similar endless supply of favorite snacks and sippy cups within arm’s reach. When tired of toys, chuck some food at your little one. [Aaaaaah! Flying food!]
- For extra-long trips, have someone sit in the back with the kiddo (this is especially helpful if he or she is still little enough to be rear-facing), for entertainment purposes.
- We ALWAYS travel at nap time so that he sleeps most of the way. [Amen!]
- [Note: You can also print Hannah’s list of games to play in tight spaces. It’s geared toward planes, but is great for road trips, too!]
And Scott Takes it to the Next Level
Scott says…For longer car trips, we bring a shopping bag filled with tiny little packages, wrapped in gift paper (by their OCD grandmother) one of which the little darlings get to open every hour. They can even be time-specific, like little boxes of cereal in the morning etc. Benefit – they can be used as leverage – “If you don’t stop x, you won’t get to open a gift.” Drawback – be sure that none of the little gifts is a noise-making anything. Somehow, their usually wise grandmother packed one of those whistles with the slide handles that makes funny descending, ascending and TOTALLY maddening sounds. [Editor’s note: I guess no vuvuzelas either.] Overall the gift bag was a huge hit for our last New York-to-Chicago-and-back-again road trip.
If you haven’t checked out Scott’s blog about his family’s battle for recovery from his wife’s stroke, it’s amazing and so well-written. His On Giving Thanks post should be required reading on or around Turkey Day.
When I say “chuck” what I really mean is “grope around with your hand behind you until your child figures out that you are handing him something to play with or eat.” Of course, the adult passenger can turn around and hand things back, but if they are prone to motion sickness, they might have to do the same thing.
I also plan on packing music that the lil’ monkey likes to listen to, should he wake up and should the toys and the food not distract him. Always good to have a plan (travel while child sleeps), a backup plan (toys/books to chuck), and a backup to the backup plan (music). We *might* make it there without too much crying. Wish us luck.
Dangit! I was enjoying the imagery of dozens of toys being hurled around the car! ;0)
GOOD LUCK! It’s going to be great. You are an expert!
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