We are very lucky. Our kids have always travelled quite well. We’ve been driving the same trip, at least twice a year, for the last eleven years. It used to take 8 hours when it was just hubby and me, then it crept to 9 hours with babies and now it takes us anywhere from 9-10 hours. We also do a lot of shorter trips during the year as well.
Our boys were around three months old when they did their first 8+ hour trip. When they were that young we used to get up around 3am, dress and feed them and set off. As it was still dark, they used to sleep a lot. We had the dangling baby toys hanging above them, so that when they woke up, they could play/watch them. We wouldn’t stop (unless someone had to run to the toilet) until the child started getting a little bored.
Then we would stop for as long as it took to change them, feed them and hopefully get them back to sleep.
As they get older, we are starting to stop a little more often, usually at a park and let they have a little play (and wear themselves out).
We never rush to where we are going. We take our time and if we are expected, we always let the people we are visiting know how we are traveling, so they know when to expect you to arrive.
Food while Travelling
We always take a bag full of food, lollies, chips, muesli bars and fruit, and always arrive at our destination with most of it still in the bag. We do like to try and eat when we stop so that nothing is spilled in the car, but that is not always the case. The boys (and us) do get hungry along the way. On our last couple of trips, we have been taking ‘healthier’ food options like goji berries and some other goodies we purchased from Dr Superfoods.
The only drinks we have in the car is water (lots) and one pop top juice for each of the boys. Hubby has a couple of ice coffees to keep him awake and I have a bottle of coke.
For chips/snacks in the car, I always keep a few plastic cups, the cheap ones from Woolworths. We buy the big packet of chips and I give the boys a cupful each. This lessens the mess and they don’t fight over who got more and I don’t have to keep turning back and giving them some. The cups can then be washed out with water and used for drinks.
For lunch we either make salads, all cut up and ready to go and rolls to make up when we stop. We have also bought a platter from Subway, picked it up the night before and wrapped all them up individually so when we stop we can take out the subs that we want. We found this saved time by having the food ready to go, a variety of food and less clean up time. We also had a voucher for a free platter of cookies which were enjoyed as well.
We find that if we have a decent break for the main meals like breakfast and lunch, we don’t really need to eat while driving which also limits the mess that could be caused by food being spilt all over the place.
Activities While Travelling
The boys now have dvd players on the back of our headrests. We had these ages ago and they broke, so we just bought a portable dvd player and that broke just before our long trip at Christmas. The boys still travelled well without watching any dvds, but with a few longer trips coming up we thought it would be good to have them again. This time we purchased the extra 3 year warranty, so if they do break we can exchange them for a new one. We have had to use this warranty once, but now they seem to be working fine. We have this great as the boys are getting older and staying away more now.
The boys also have a 3DS each. We do limit the times on the dvd player and the 3DS. In a 8+ hour trip, they usually spend 1 hour on the 3DS, and watch 1 or 2 movies. The rest of the time they either sleep or play games. They like to play I-Spy, Number Between (one person picks a number between — and — and everyone else has to try and guess that number) or the It’s A ___ game (One person picks a fruit, vegetable, bird, animal and everyone else has to guess what it is. A couple of clues are allowed.)
Our boys also have these seat organisers in which they can store some food, a drink bottle and some toys to play with during the trip. Usually they do not take any more toys than the ones that can fit into this organiser, except for the Lego Boxes that we made for them.