Friday, 18 October 2013

A Road Trip with Children

Our first real holiday out of town.
And our longest drive yet. Seven hours or thereabouts. For this part of the world, I guess that isn't considered huge. But it will be long for us. Especially with two toddlers in tow. Funny how that changes things. In the past, I've found these drives suffer their good and their bad moments. The more prepared I can be, the better we are able to avoid "must get out of my car seat now" kicking spasms.
For me, I love the big drives. A chance for me to sit down and relax. And just be stuck in my seat. Almost always, I will also fall asleep myself. My husband, I'm sure, probably just enjoys the peace and quiet from the 3 of us. And the chance to choose his own music to listen to. Without Peppa Pig oinking in the background.

It's ridiculous, how much  you need to pack now that we have the two girls. Their things, literally fill the car. Between the portacot, nappies, high chair, their clothes, there will be hardly any room left for our stuff. Which is why we now have a Pod on top of the car. So we can bring a change of clothes for ourselves
Travelling with young children, definetly comes with it's difficulties.  Travelling light, takes on a whole new meaning now. I find it almost impossible to pack light. But I do attempt to pack smart. If anything, I try to pack light for myself. To compensate for the overabundance of child related items.

Here are a few things I've discovered that work well for us, during our short time on the road.
1. You need less toys than you think. Pack next to none. You're going to a new place, everything can be exciting. Make it an adventure.
2. Pack laundry soap, just in case. Red dirt gets in to everything, clothes can get dirty very quickly. Save yourself packing numerous, most likely needed, changes of clothes.
3. Pack lots of small, toddler friendly snacks. Not just for the long car trips, but for restuarants, in case meals don't arrive before the hungry toddler tantrum.
4. Save a special, new toy just for the car trip. Something easy to use, with no small pieces. I love the water painting notebook by Melissa and Doug. You can buy it here from Classic Baby. It keeps both girls entertained and quiet for long spaces of time. And uses a refillable water pen. Easy. I try to bring it out for long car trips only.
5. Always find room for a couple of bottle of wines for the (hopefully) quiet evenings.
6. Keep your expectations low. I don't mean this in a negative way. But sometimes if you prepare for the worst, then you are often pleasantly surprised when it comes to travelling with young children. Though sometimes, your worst nightmares, do come true too.
8. Be flexible. This is one I need to remind myself of often. You're not going to have everything that you usually have at home. And it might not flow quite so well. But it's for a good reason. A holiday, full of new experiences and excitements. As long as everybody is happy, nobody is crying, tired and whiney then it's not a big deal.
7. Try and keep a sense of humour and fun. It is catching.
8. Oh yes, and an Ipad full of Peppa Pig, Angelina Ballerina and Charlie and Lola works too.

Do you have any trips on packing light with children? Doing a road trip with children?

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