So this is our first summer holiday as a family of FOUR! yes, two adults and two kiddos, one car. Our family live at the coast and since my sister was getting married, we had a mammoth trek from bustling Jozi, all the way to rustig Wilderness, a mere 1196km away. Ain’t no thing. Only, when you have two kids, you do crazy things, like leave home at 8pm, so that you can slay most of the km’s while the little ones sleep. SLEEP IS LIFE!
This was only the first leg of the trip, since that part of the journey, we’ve racked up a total of 4100km’s. So, since I feel like a very accomplished (read “mom-roadtrip-survivor”) I have compiled a list of things that I reckon made the trip as easy as it was…
You can NEVER have enough snacks. Especially with a toddler! You pack a cute little lunchbox for them filled with Pinterest-worthy snacks, which are supposed to last them the WHOLE journey and in five minutes they ask, “mom, can I have a treat”. Ugh. Seriously?
Another great idea is to pack snacks that come in multiples – peanuts / smarties / popcorn. These extend over multiple precious, quiet moments on the road.
2. Avoid stops where possible
I know this may seem counter productive, but each time we stopped, Hannah asked “ARE WE THERE?” I mean, seriously. Our first trip was 15 hours, of which she was awake for 4 of them! Yet she still seemed to ask 100 times, “Are we there yet?”
We limited the stops to loo breaks, “breastfeeding-the-baby-at-picnic-stop” breaks and soak-in-the-scenery breaks, which weren’t very plentiful, because we mostly drove in the dark.
3. Always stop for the view
This is a must. I like to always stop to take in the view. My husband, has a can’t-stop-unless-you’re-desperate mentality, most of the time. Although, just a 5 minute stop to stretch your legs, get a snap or two and breathe in the view, can give renewed energy to the drive and it definitely keeps me excited for the remaining km’s.
4. Tech debate
We did have one incident while we were driving, I’ll get into it shortly, but the long and short of it is, we discovered that a well-placed Macbook playing Peppa Pig was key to entertaining the toddler and protecting our sanity on a long drive. Let’s just say that this particular time, there was a toddler’s empty stomach, a bottle of orange juice and what I can assume was motion-sickness, which resulted in a little someone getting sick. I’m still on the fence as to what the reasoning was, but I am hoping that we don’t have to give up on the Peppa Pig watching during roadtrips – it seriously is a lifesaver. Load up your little one’s favourite shows / games on a device and let them entertain themselves. A bit of technology isn’t going to hurt, especially if it helps keep them occupied and passes the time for them, too! I can’t imagine how long a roadtrip must feel for a tiny person. (p.s The Macbook wasn’t harmed during this incident)
5. You may hate me, but…
…Children’s audiobooks / stories and children’s music. We downloaded some Listener Kids on iTunes as well as a couple fairytales and Hannah just loved listening to them. As painful as it is to listen to, it’s worth it to know that they’re enjoying themselves and that it’s something that doesn’t require staring blankly into a screen.
6. Take a backseat
I found myself stuck between a booster seat and an infant car seat for the first time in my life. Not the most comfortable spot I’ve sat in in my life, but it was actually fun. Hannah loved having me sandwiched between her and Eden and thought it was quite funny. We chatted and played I-spy. I initially found myself there out of necessity – feeding Eden a bottle while we drove a stretch of road without a petrol station to stop at for a while. Other times, I would just sit there for 20 minutes to entertain Hannah and have a chat. It really did work so well and it was worth the discomfort.
I hope you enjoyed my really random roadtrip tips! All I can say is – families with three kids… HOW DO YOU DO IT?!