Roadtrip with a 17 month old...

Megan - posted on 02/23/2009 ( 9 moms have responded )

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We are planning two trips this summer and in order to cut down some of the cost we are considering driving to the closest of the two (which is 13.5 hours away) I thought that driving at night would be ideal so that our little one (who will be almost 1 1/2 at the time of our trip) can sleep. What are your opinions? Is it worth saving almost 3/4 of the cost? Tips from those who have traveled by car with small children? Thanks in advance :)

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Ronelle - posted on 02/23/2009

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My husband and I drove 21 hours straight with our 4 kids (6,4,2 & 6mth old). We left around 4ish in the afternoon. Drove for a few hours. Had dinner and a stretch, dressed the kids in their pj's then settled them back in the car with blankets and pillows. Stuck on some soothing (but enjoyable for the adults) music and off we went. The kids didn't wake till about 6ish the next morning and we were over half way. We stopped, got them dressed, enjoyed breakfast and had a play. We arrived at our destination at 1pm in the afternoon.
My advice would be to fill up for fuel everytime you have to stop for either toilet breaks or whatever. This minimizes the hassle of making ANOTHER stop when you actually do start to run out of petrol and there is nothing worse then having to stop for petrol when the kids are asleep and stopping the car will wake them up.
Don't put a time frame on your travels. That way you can relax, enjoy the trip and be flexible enough to stop for as long as your child needs to get the energy out of their system and be ready for the next phase of the trip.
My last suggestion would be to pack 2 bags of toys (and pick toys that are new or that hasn't been seen for awhile) and rotate the bags every time you stop. This gives them something different to look at and they can explore the bags all over again.
Have a great trip. My husband and I have made the 2000km trip numerous times now and have found it quite enjoyable.

Jen - posted on 02/23/2009

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My daughter is 15 months and we travel a 5 hours trip with her at least once a month to visit my parents. We always stop half way for a stretch and lunch break and I always try to leave around her nap time so that when she wakes up it's time to eat like on a normal day. We've always traveled during the day, but this past weekend we ended up leaving late so that we were on the road when it was her bedtime, but she didn't understand that it was bed time and it took her 45 mins. to fall asleep. If you feel more comfortable traveling at night then I say go for it. Good luck.

Ashley - posted on 02/23/2009

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we recently took a 8 hours road trip with our daighter who was 18 months at the time, we drove during the day and found that our portable dvd player came in handy, we have one that attatchs to the head rest so we put it in front of her on the head rest, and she watched a couple movies, we also made sure she had toys, i brought stuff that she hadn't seen in a while and each time we stopped i switched them up, also we took lots of snacks with us, non messy healthly finger food, and we made sure to stop a few times , we stoped in bigger cities along the way,and found the closest mall to let her walk through, by the end of the trip she was a little fussy, and glad to be out of the car, oh, at that time she was still having a morning nap so we left at that time so she slept for the first couple hours which helped just try to keep your child on schedule a little bit, which is hardto do when your traveling but every little bit helps good luck

Erin - posted on 02/23/2009

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I say drive if that will save you money...not sure about during the night..you guys will be tired out the next day and your little one will be wide aways....i recomend bringing lots of things that can keep her occupied.....when we drove 4 1/2 hours with our son i found things at the dollar store and in teh dollar spot at Target...little cars, a minature bead twist, like in the drs office, and got a potatoe head, that was something that he could pull apart adn put back togehter..plus he did take a nap for a while....hope this helps you

Kaylin - posted on 02/23/2009

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I would definately say it's worth it to save 3/4 of the cost. Depending on your child I'd recommend two options. If your child usually falls asleep very soon after being driven around in his/her car seat, then I'd suggest leaving 5 or 10 minutes before his/her bedtime. That was your child could sleep right away, so it's his/her normal bedtime and will probably sleep through most of the night/drive for you. If you child usually takes awhile to fall asleep in his/her car seat, then maybe leave an hour or two before his/her bedtime. That way your child gets to chill and relax and fall asleep after a while drive, and you'll still have a nice quiet drive (hopefully).

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Sarah - posted on 02/24/2009

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we travel all the time with my daughter who is 14 months old. We are currently away on a trip that was a 14 hour drive. however, now that she is older, she can't stay in the car for that long...she's very active. So this time we drove half way and got a hotel room for one night. it is really worth the extra money. You can find really great deals on hotels and since it is only for one night you don't have to find a real fancy one.

Kat - posted on 02/23/2009

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driving at night sounds like a good plan, but in my experience, it backfires. last year i had to drive from pennsylvania to indiana with 4 little ones in the car, and no one slept more than an hour or two at a time. driving home during the day took less than half as long and was much more enjoyable. good luck!

Christen - posted on 02/23/2009

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Well I have one 3 year old he is ok with road trips now because he has things to keep his attention. But when he was 1 or 2 it was not fun driving just 3 hours with him. I suggest if you are going to take a really long trip, take something to keep their attention. Like books, or puzzles, or even if you have a portable DVD player. That helped me a lot on the last trip I took him on which was 8 hrs. Or also if you leave at night they will sleep most of the way. You just have to get sleep before you leave since you would be driving at night.

Amanda - posted on 02/23/2009

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I say definately do drive if it saves you the money, but I personally would recommend not driving much of the night. Because if your little one is in the car all day they're probably going to be pretty fusy by the time night fall comes. I know with my son who is 2 1/2 still can't go more than 3-4 hours without having to get out and move around. So I say definately drive but I would reccomend driving only from during the day with acouple "astretching" breaks for the little one. Hope this helps.

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