Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What we learned on our Thanksgiving trip!!  OR  Traveling a long way in a car with a Toddler.. ha

I know its been a LONG time since Thanksgiving, but I'm finally getting around to writing this blog post.

Let me lay out the details of our trip:

Where:  Normal, IL to Salem, SC
Distance:  800 miles
Time: 2 days out, 3 days there, 2 days back
Vehicle:  2007 Honda Odyssey
Child Seating:  Britax Marathon

We left before 3pm on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  Got settled in for a drive to Lexington, KY, spent the nite, and pushed on early the next morning.

The travel wasn't bad.  We used a combination of IPad/Android Tablet and Sesame Street to provide video entertainment and stopped now and again and let little B run around!

The Tablets worked well.  We used a DC power point extender so we could use the car charger and keep the tablets plugged in.  We also used our unlimited data plan and hotspot on our phone to stream Netflix.  In areas that did not have good cell coverage, we had downloaded a few episodes on each device.  Since B was 18 months old at that point, he could easily watch the same 2 shows a dozen times and still be happy!

We didn't organize our thoughts much, but here are some of the many things we thought of as we were traveling with an 18 month old child.  Bear in mind, this is our experience, and YMMV

During Travel:
  • 6 Hours is perfect | 12 Hours is FAR FAR toooo long
  • Plan for at least 1 long stop to play/eat
  • Limit "TV" time / Use it as a treat
  • Travel during Nap Times
  • Stop for food instead of drive-through
    • Gives kid a chance to move around / no mess in the car seat
    • Nap right after a meal
  • Check all around the changing table for shoes/socks/etc at rest areas
  • DON'T ASSUME all rest areas, gas stations, restaruants have changing tables / BRING A CHANGING PAD!
  • Iphone play case FTW!


We were traveling to visit N's mother, so it was Grandma time!!  Spend some time thinking about the interaction and the home your staying at.... this ended up being an issue for us, here are some thoughts for When you get there:
  • Bring Pack and play (even if hotel has cribs)
  • Don't assume grandparents/relatives know how to handle a child (leaving things on low tables, etc)
  • We did "Things" during the morning time, and stayed at the house/hotel room during the afternoon to keep nap schedule 
  • Find ways for Toddler to participate, B helped put crescent rolls on the baking sheet
  •  Bring new or forgotten toys.. they will be more exciting.  B played with trucks he hadn't touched in 6 months
  •  Plan at least 30 minutes play time apon arrival.  Trying to transition from Vehicle to Bed when you have a bed to setup or is not ready was difficult
  • Pack an "Overnight" bag to make stops at hotels easier, so you don't have to bring in everything

Overall the travel went well, and we learned a ton!!  I do have some video and pictures from the trip, I'll try to get them sorted and posted, but not until after we get back from Hawaii.. yep, Hawaii!!  Thats whats next!!