Car Travel with Two Under 3
We are huge travelers. There is no doubting that. Most of our family and friends are always surprised at how few weekends we are ever actually home. And 90% of that travel is by car. In the last six months alone we have gone back and forth to New York ten times, to Virginia Beach, the Eastern Shore, Charlottesville and to various places within the DMV.
Every time we get ready to travel we inevitably get the nervous questions from friends and family about how the kids will do in the car and the truth is they are amazing at it. And they’re amazing at it because we have a formula that works and because they have been doing it since day one. Like most things with raising a child, I have found that if you just do it that your children will adapt and thrive. Car travel has been no different.
So, since I do feel like we have had such success with traveling with our little ones I wanted to share a few tips and things to pack to make a trip easier.
Timing: This is so crucial and only you know the times that your children are at their best. For us this is first thing in the morning. Many people will say to travel at nap or bed time and that might work most of the time but for us it’s wake up and go. We found that when we were leaving right at sleep time that they were then not getting good sleep and waking up at the wrong time in our trip for a bottle break.
Overpacking: Just don’t do it. There is no need. Unless you are driving to stay in a hotel for a week or more, you will likely have a store close by for anything you may have forgotten and a washer / dryer for a quick wash halfway through the trip. Your children (like you) don’t need a different outfit for every single activity.
Amazon: Which leads me to part two of this... Order whatever you can to be delivered in advance of your arrival particularly diapers and wipes. This will save you room in your luggage and just general cause less stress in packing. Now that H is such a pacifier baby I always also order an extra one or two to arrive just in case we lose them along the way (which we do... constantly)
Food: The easiest entertainment for a kid in the car is food. It distracts them and keeps them from getting hangry. So pack accordingly for roughly a snack every 30-45 minutes. Doesn’t have to be a big one but just something.
Entertainment: Our go-to’s for Cannon are his kindle, books and small toys that he can play with together in his seat (cars, figurines, etc.) and for H it’s anything she can chew on without swallowing.
Patience: Need I say more on this one? Like everything in parenting, car trips require patience for all that are on the ride.
As far as entertainment and food go, there are a few key items I recommend to help make your life easier:
Small snack containers: That you can easily refill during the trip so that you’re not giving them too much to eat at once
Kindle: The kids Kindle is a life saver (remember it has not internet access on the road though so you have to download everything in advance)
Tablet holder: We have one that is awesome that goes on the back of the headrest in front of C.
Extra bottles / sippy cups and plenty of water!
Easy to eat baby snacks: H loves a good teething cracker
Pacifiers: Bring hundreds (see above reason in number 3)
Travel Sound Machine: My kids both sleep with a sound machine so in the car if you have music going or there are too many sounds it helps to have something that is a constant. When in a pinch just put the windows down for a few minutes until they are settled.
Small Toys: that are easy to play with in the seat and that service different purposes so you can rotate through them (so not all soft or teething for H and not all little cars for C but mixing it up)
Hopefully these tips will help my mom friends as they set out for end of summer travel!