With the warm weather quickly approaching, older children getting out of school for the summer, and time off accumulated at work, there's never been a better time to hit the open road with your family and get out of town for a bit! The idea of planning a road trip can sound like a family bonding experience worth having, but once the trip is planned and the set off date has arrived, road trips can be the most terrifyingly stressful thing of your life. Especially when there is a toddler involved!
As many of you may know, Mr. Hunky and I recently tied the knot (April 5th, 2014!) and we had an absolutely amazing wedding, but before we could get married and share our special day with our families, we had to get there. There being California. Northern California. All the way from Southern Arizona! No big deal right? Not if you intend on flying! But oh no, we couldn't make our lives that simple because we were crazy and wanted to bring our two dogs with us! So there we were, ready to hit the open road with two large dogs, a two year old, and approximately 17 hours on the road each way. Let the good times roll!
I know what you're thinking - why not just leave the dogs at home, right? Well our dogs are like family so for us leaving them wasn't an option although looking back I wish we had since the dogs were more work on the road than the toddler was! When it came to prepping the road trip for my toddler, I'm not going to lie, I was pretty proud of my end results. The whole time I was worried that I was under packing when in reality I actually over packed just a bit, and I'm not talking about his clothes! By the end of the trip I realized just how little I needed to bring for my little guy to be happy, and how being on the road for 16+ hours didn't have to be as awful as I had made it out to be in my head - you just have to do it right. What's right for your child that is! Taking our road trip as a learning experience, I decided to put together a Tips & Tricks guide for your family to utilize if you plan on taking a road trip this summer!
Tip #1: Talk to them about the trip in advance. Get them excited in the days leading up to it by asking them to choose which [small] toys they want to bring, tell them about where you're going, and get them excited for their extended stay in the car by telling them all the fun things you will do to make the time pass faster!
Tip #2: Make their space as comfortable as possible. Check to be sure there is enough leg room if they are forward facing, and if they are rear facing be sure that nothing in the trunk space or extra back seat can fall over on top of them (this is a safety hazard that should be noted for every car ride though!). The more comfortable your child is during this road trip, the more comfortable you will be too!
Diono Radian RXT for the ultimate comfort and convenience!
Trick #1: Pack snacks, lots of them! Kids love snacks and they always seem to improve their mood! We recommended choosing snacks that are as mess free as possible but still easy to chew and that won't pose a chocking hazard. You never know when you may hit a bump in the road and absolutely no parent wants their child to choke on their food! We recommend foods such as cut up PB&J sandwiches, broccoli and cheese bites, purees, yogurt, or smoothie pouches, and dry cereal. Foods that we do not recommend on the road are fruit snacks, chips (because they may have sharp edges that could hurt your child's throat if the car hits a bump), and food that are on sticks such as corn dogs, lollipops, and/or cake pops.
Tip #4: Bring some sort of electronic entertainment. iPads with movies on them, portable DVD players, handheld learning devices (such as a Leappad or Innotab), or even your cell phone with age appropriate apps. All of these items give your child a great distraction for an hour or two which will give you some time to relax or nap.
Tip #5: Purchase a soft structured water bottle (also known as a water bottle bag) prior to leaving and have your child use that while on the road. Sippy cups are extremely dangerous to have out while a car is in motion because in the event of an accident the impact from your child's sippy cup could cause sever injury to you or your little one. A soft structured water bottle, in my opinion, is a lot less hazardous than a regular water bottle or cup!
Tip #6: Don't forget your child's bedtime must have! Whether your little one is attached to their a favorite blanket, stuffed animal, or dolly, don't forget it! Having something to cuddle while on the road is going to make a world of difference once they start getting grouchy from being tired!
Trick #3: Stick to a comfortable pair of pants and a T-shirt. We don't recommend bundling your little one up in long sleeves, even if you'll be traveling at night! Car seats get warm and your child will be much more comfortable if they are in clothes they would lounge around the house in! If your child does get chilly, a blanket or two should warm them up in no time!
Tip #7: Travel through the night. If you can do the bulk of your traveling during the night you will save yourself a lot of stress. Your child will be tired and will sleep most, if not all of the way through your drive and wake up happy in the morning. When we were on the road Little Mister only woke up when we stopped for gas and was back to sleep before we hit the freeway. Traveling through the night will also make for less potty breaks if your child is potty trained!
Tip #8: If your child does start to get fussy, create a game out of finding things while on the road. Have them look for tree's, cats, dogs, something yellow...whatever crosses your mind! Distract them while making the car ride fun!
Trick #4: This ones for you parents! Don't stress out about your road trip! If you're worried about how your travel plans will play out, your child will be too, so have fun!
This post was brought to you by Mommys Craft Obsession and was sponsored by Diono and Little Tikes as apart of our two day event:
*Mommys Craft Obsession received a complimentary Diono Radian RXT and Cozy Coupe Harness Backpack for the promotion of this post. All thoughts and opinions are our own and were not influenced by outside sources*