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Old 07-15-2009, 11:18 AM   #1
 
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Default Road Trip tomorrow - any advice?

We're going on a family trip tomorrow to Banff. Its an 11 hour drive, but we'll do it in two legs of about 6 hours each.

Karan will be fine - we've got a DVD player, and he's old enough to understand that we're going somewhere.

But Sandhya... she's going to be handful. She is still rear-facing and has limited patience with being confined. She is also crawling so even when we stop I'm not sure how we are even going to let her be mobile. Crawl around the parking lot?

Any ideas on how to drive a distance with a newly mobile toddler?
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Old 07-15-2009, 11:30 AM   #2
 
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We're going on a family trip tomorrow to Banff. Its an 11 hour drive, but we'll do it in two legs of about 6 hours each.

Karan will be fine - we've got a DVD player, and he's old enough to understand that we're going somewhere.

But Sandhya... she's going to be handful. She is still rear-facing and has limited patience with being confined. She is also crawling so even when we stop I'm not sure how we are even going to let her be mobile. Crawl around the parking lot?

Any ideas on how to drive a distance with a newly mobile toddler?

We did a 7-hour drive with JJ when he was 14 months and a 14-hour drive broken up into two 7-hour laps when he was 21 months. It wasn't as bad as I thought. He was forward-facing both times - in fact the first trip was the first time we turned him around (I know there are advocates for keeping them rear-facing but we don't want to do that) and the second time we got a portable DVD player and he watched DVDs of Dora, Diego, Max and Ruby and the Backyardigans and LOVED having TV in the car!

The first time we just brought snacks and toys that could stand to be thrown in the car and he was really good. I think we stopped twice for the bathroom and gas and I nursed him and changed his diaper and let him run around (he was walking.) We stopped at picnic areas. I don't really see why she can't crawl there - some of them even have play areas and structures and if she's dressed appropriately it should be fine. I think I have seen areas like that between BC and Banff. JJ also sleeps well in the car so some of the time he was napping.

We also bring CDs that he likes or turn the radio to a station he likes. She could enjoy that even rear-facing. They have CDs telling kids' stories and the like.

Hopefully it won't be that bad!
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Old 07-15-2009, 11:42 AM   #3
 
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I don't know if this is an option for you, but we always try to drive at night so Sol will sleep most of the car ride - or at least during his naptime. When he's awake, I'll usually sit in back with him to keep him entertained. We bring books, snacks, toys, etc. Most of the rest stops I've been to have a grassy area too so she should be able to crawl around if you can find one.
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Old 07-15-2009, 12:28 PM   #4
 
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No advice, but I will also be driving 6-7 hours tomorrow by myself with both kids. My plan is to go to the mall play area first and let Dylan run around until he gets really tired, then head onto the highway straight from there. The plan is for him to fall asleep in the car and hopefully sleep for a few hours. I'm hoping Ethan will cooperate as well.
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Old 07-15-2009, 01:06 PM   #5
 
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Kaia, by yourself? That's brave!

Pixie - the entire drive is through the mountains and so we need to do it by day. I'm hoping that Sandhya will at least catch a couple of hours nap in there.

Anmeris - I hope its not as bad as I expect! Sandhya is only 16 lbs so she's not even close to turning forward-facing (if she was closer to 20 lbs, I'd be turning her for the trip). She also doesn't watch tv so the DVD player wouldn't appeal to her anyways. I'll bring lots of little toys hopefully that will keep her occupied. I never thought about rest areas with playgrounds. Then I can bring a blanket and let her roll around.
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Old 07-15-2009, 01:19 PM   #6
 
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We go visit my husbnad's family a lot & it is about 14/15 hours away. We have a portable DVD player, we stop at several <gag!> McDonalds with a playscape along the way!
One time, River was soooooo DONE with sitting in his carseat, that we pulled over on a long straight dirt road (we were far from a town) and let him just RUN for a little while. I think by that time, we had a few spills & leaky diapers that we gave up on clothing & he was just wearing a diaper and shoes. I'm sure we looked like wonderful parents...LOL!
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Old 07-15-2009, 01:41 PM   #7
 
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Driving at night backfired on us when DS decided he was going to stay awake the WHOLE time. He does good for 3-4 hours at a time straight, so we usually will take a break if it is going to be longer than that.

Typically he will sing along with the radio now, but we also have a DVD player in the car that he can watch a video in if he is getting antsy.
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Old 07-15-2009, 02:11 PM   #8
 
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We've done a few roadtrips. Some states have really nice, really clean rest areas. We've always tried to stop and picnic (even if she only eats grapes or something, the idea of eating outside is fun for her) or let her get something from a vending machine (even water is more fun if you get to stick some quarters in a machine) and run around. There are usually lots of other families doing the same. We try to factor in at least an extra couple of hours for stops. It helps a LOT.
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Old 07-15-2009, 02:17 PM   #9
 
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I wouldn't drive at night. It gets dangerous driving long hours at night, especially in the wee hours, with tired parents.

I've taken lots of long road trips with kids of all ages. They usually do great. DVD players, toys, books, snacks, etc., are all helpful. Take along something new to play with...a roll of masking tape works great. Stop frequently for bathroom and leg stretching. My kids always loved just singing...I have a whole repetoir of songs that we sing, and sometimes they just liked me singing to them. It's a great opportunity to let out your inner pop star for a captive audience. If all else fails, put on some really loud music and little ones will often mentally shut down and go to sleep.
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Old 07-15-2009, 06:37 PM   #10
 
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I am not a big fan of fast food, but on road trips with kids the McDonalds and Burger Kings with play areas are wonderful. I think you can even go online and find them and plan to stop in advance. I don't know if they have them in Canada but Cracker barrels are also good because they have the store to wander thru and I can usually get a cheap toy that is exciting for a few hours in the car.
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Old 07-15-2009, 08:06 PM   #11
 
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone!

All of the suggestions are great and will work well with Karan. But probably not Sandhya. She won't appreciate anything but being able to crawl around and get into stuff. Oh well, she'll just have to deal. Karan will be sitting next to her, but if that becomes a problem, then I'll move back there.

The drive we are doing is pretty much through Nowhereland. I don't even remember if there is a McD playland on the way (mind you I didn't have kids with me the last time I did it, so why would I have looked?).

CGNYC - good point about allowing for 2 extra hours. I really DH thought we were just going to get in the car with the kids and drive straight through to destination. I actually went ahead and booked a stopover without consulting him because he really seemed to believe that we were going to drive 11 hours in one shot.
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Old 07-15-2009, 08:40 PM   #12
 
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Snacks, water, and books seem to help us the most. I just try to see whatever toys are currently occupying her for the most time. Also, playing lap games like peekaboo or This Little Piggy.
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Old 07-16-2009, 08:42 AM   #13
 
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I wouldn't drive at night. It gets dangerous driving long hours at night, especially in the wee hours, with tired parents.
The most we've ever done at night is 6 hours to my in-laws'. I think we left at 8:00 and got in at 2:00 AM, which is certainly late and DH needed a coffee partway through, but it's not like we were driving ALL night.
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Old 07-16-2009, 09:26 AM   #14
 
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The drive we are doing is pretty much through Nowhereland. I don't even remember if there is a McD playland on the way (mind you I didn't have kids with me the last time I did it, so why would I have looked?).
Having done the drive through BC many times, I don't really recall any McD's or anything like that...perhaps in some of the smaller towns, but I don't know that they'd have a play land. I do know there are lots of rest stops and points of interest where your youngest one can play freely and safely.
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Old 07-16-2009, 10:04 AM   #15
 
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I wouldn't drive at night. It gets dangerous driving long hours at night, especially in the wee hours, with tired parents.
The most we've ever done at night is 6 hours to my in-laws'. I think we left at 8:00 and got in at 2:00 AM, which is certainly late and DH needed a coffee partway through, but it's not like we were driving ALL night.

It's not just your own driving to contend with...it's other people's driving too. My friend has 4 kids who were all under age 5, so she thought they were very slick leaving for trips at the kids' bedtime. They had several small accidents in a short period of time, then one huge one where they were hit by a drunk driver and flipped over. It was awful. They no longer travel at night.

I try not to live my life based on fear, and, of course, I go out at night occasionally and when we travel, we sometimes drive til 10pm or so, but, really, the only people who are out driving in the wee hours are drunks, teenagers, tired truckers, and tired people coming or going to their nightshift job. We try to be off the road by midnight.
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Old 07-21-2009, 02:59 PM   #16
 
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Well, I made it alive. What should have been a 6 hour trip took almost 8 hours, but that was to be expected. Dylan is 19 months and slept through most of it. I left at Dylan's naptime, and we ended up stopping 3 times. First time baby was hungry, so I stopped to nurse. Sleeping Dylan woke up, so I nursed him too. Then we drove until D woke up again and was really cranky. I stopped at a McD, but no playland since this was podunk Fl. I let him play with his food and take his time. We stopped for almost an hour. Then I had to make another stop to feed the baby and get gas, but D slept through it. By the end, both of them started crying and it was awful, but I wasn't about to stop and prolong the pain at that point. So the last half hour was pretty bad. If Sandhya usually sleeps well in the car, she might just sleep. Dylan is rear-facing too btw.
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Old 07-26-2009, 03:54 PM   #17
 
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We're back home!

Well, the trip was as expected - Karan was great, other than yelling "STOP THE CAR!!!" every time he saw a Tim Hortons.

Sandhya cried from the minute we left the house to the minute we returned home a week later. She hated the car, she hated sleeping in the PNP or cosleeping, she hated that anyone other that Mama might actually look at her or worse yet want to hold her (this was a family reunion trip), she hated the swimming pool and the hot tub and the lake and the sand and the grass. Oh well, maybe next year's trip will be better for her.

I'm definitely sold on the road trip idea, though. Lots of fun!

Here's a pic of my kiddos at the Athabasca glacier (note the look on Sandhya's face - that was her holiday perma-scowl):

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Old 07-26-2009, 05:24 PM   #18
 
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Oh MS...they've grown up so much, both are just gorgeous!!!

And I absolutely love the scowl...its got me cracking up
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