It seems just yesterday that I was writing a post very similar to this, except I was sharing my tips for getting through a long car journey with a baby. Today 8 months on Florence is a fully fledged toddler and so our approach has changed quite a lot over time and I thought I’d share how we survive a long car journey with a toddler in tow.
Travel at nap-time (or ware your toddler out before you leave)
I can’t tell you how much I recommend this! Travelling with a sleeping toddler is . Things like swimming or a trip to the park are great ways to burn ofF energy and encourage littles to snooze on the road.
Pack a Busy Box or Bag
We always pack a box of little bits and pieces that will keep Florence busy on the journey. Things like a mini colouring book & crayons, toy cars, happyland people and books always go down well and keep Florence occupied on the road. I also picked up this travel tray which could hold all of her bits and bobs and meant she could lean on it for her colouring etc. There’ll be a full review coming in the next few days to tell you a bit more about it.
Take lots of snacks & drinks
I’m not sure if it’s just Florence, but since hitting toddlerhood she could honestly snack for England! I always pack a bunch of different snacks like cream crackers, crisps, cereal bars and more. In my experience you can never have too many snacks! However I do try to avoid acidic foods and fruits for in the car as Florence suffers badly from travel sickness and these tend to come straight back up! Plus, I take at least two munchkin 360 cups filled with weak squash or water too.
Download a film / TV Series
Florence is a bit of a Hey Duggee addict, to the point where we have to really ration telly time at home. However, there are some instances where this comes in handy and long car journeys is one of them! We’ve downloaded a bunch of episodes from the BBC iPlayer to an old iPad and they were a bit of a saviour when her patience was wearing thin with being stuck in the car. She also LOVES the film Secret Life of Pets so she watched this for the majority of the time she was awake on the way home.
Check the traffic before you leave
Knowing your route & checking the traffic updates before you leave can save a whole bunch of stress during your journey. The last thing you need is a prolonged car journey with a grumpy toddler to start or finish your holiday with.
Plan regular stops
We always try to stop every two hours to avoid Florence being stuck in the car seat for too long and to stretch our legs. These are usually timed around meal times so we stop off at a pub or café for lunch or tea.
Dress your toddler comfortably
There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a car, in one position in uncomfortable, fussy clothing. I try to dress Florence in rompers or leggings and a t-shirt to keep her comfy.
Pack a day / night bag which is easy to get to.
We stopped halfway and stayed over night at a hotel before taking the second leg of our journey and so having an easy to grab bag full of everything we needed for an overnight stay meant we didn’t have to dig through all of our luggage! Likewise, if one of your stops is an attraction or somewhere you’re likely to be for a while it’s always good to have a bundle of essentials to hand.
Keep the weather / expected temperature changes in mind
If you’re travelling in the summer then you’re less likely to need warm blankets and such than you would during winter. Even when it’s hot though, I always take a light, giant muslin to put over Florence just in case the temperature does drop or we end up travelling into the night. During colder months, I take a NodPod blanket and an extra layer of clothes too.
Family sing along
Florence is a real boogier and loves music – especially in the car! She loves it when the music is loud and we play one of her favourite songs and sing along. She kicks her legs and waves her hands and it’s always a good way to pass the time if she’s getting a bit agitated.
Prepare for Travel sickness
As I mentioned before, Florence often suffers from motion sickness and so I always try to be prepared by having a few essentials to hand. If the journey is likely to be a bit windy, I cover her over with a giant Muslin blanket to try and catch as much vomit as I can in one go and protect her clothes underneath. I also take a change of clothes, a paper bag and ALL the wipes!