I’m still in Iowa and that means that I took an extremely long trip (by car) to get here. How long, you might ask? How does 15.5 hours sound? Long? Short? What if I told you we tried to make it in one day (and did). Hmmm? Interest peaked? I hope so. Granted, we only made it in one day on the way up and haven’t proven similar success yet on the way back. That said, I’d like to give some tips that my wife and I learned during our lengthy journey with our son.
Tip one was leaving early. Perhaps this only applies to us because of our son’s sleeping schedule, but leaving at 4 a.m. ensured that he would be sleeping for the first 2-3 hours of our journey. This was something that certainly gave us a good enough head start that we wouldn’t dream of turning back because of a little crying. Our commitment paid off and we were well on our way.
Tip two is to bring your own bag of food. My wife had gotten together apples, carrots, trail mix, and even lovingly prepared sandwiches and a thermos of coffee (for me) to make the trip easier. In addition to being able to eat whenever we could (on the road or not, when our son was sleeping, etc…) we also saved a great deal of money (and time) not stopping at fast food joints and standing in line along the way. The only lines we waited for were restroom lines.
Tip three also involves food… for the baby. It is good to be able to feed-on-the-go. My wife breastfeeds so she brought along a batterypack for her breastpump. She was able to pump and feed all from the safety (and legality) of a seatbelt. Our son was also able to get much needed nourishment and comfort that helped lull him back to sleep for another lengthy session of driving.
Tip four is a must: let the baby stretch. While adults can push themselves to extremes babies don’t really understand that concept. He needed semi-frequent stops to walk around, stretch, “stand up,” and generally “play” with his parents in a somewhat physical fashion. This really helped him be able to make the trip as quickly as we did.
What do you do for long car rides with children of any age? Our son will soon be toddling around and I’ll need ideas for how to make the trip as safely and efficiently as possible.