Road trips with little ones

Since we got married, Eddy and I have always spent a good deal of time on the road travelling and when we had children this didn't stop, in fact, sometimes I think it became a catalyst for more road trips with the extra desire for the children to spend time with each of their respective grand parents (who live at opposite ends of the country!)
Whether it be for work or leisure, as a family we sure have clocked up the miles and the process of which has allowed me to refine and try to 'perfect' the art of travelling with little ones. Long haul journeys with kids can be daunting to think about but with our August being spent largely on the road one way or another, I thought it would be an interesting topic to cover over here on the blog.

I'm sure many of us are busy unpacking from holidays now and putting our travel cases back in the attics but if you do have any trips planned with your family in the foreseeable future, I hope this might offer a bit of helpful advice!

1) When it comes to travelling these days I always favour packing the family clothing into large plastic bags which are not only easy to access during our journeys (especially if emergency outfit changes are needed), but are also really space saving; squashing down to allow extra room for more things in the car boot. We all have a large Joules one each and it makes it so easy for me to locate the boy's belongings en route as and when needed. The other great benefit to these bags is that once you arrive at your destination, you can quickly unpack and fold them away so you're not tripping over carry cases the whole time!

2) With such little ones we often adjust our travelling times to suit them.  These days, if we are going to be doing a long journey in the car we will often travel at night time which causes the least disturbance to the boys as they just sleep through. It also means we don't have to stop nearly as often and the roads are much clearer so we often reach our destination much faster than we would had we made the journey during the day. On our most recent trip to Norfolk, we knew it would be an 8 hr journey at least from deepest darkest Devon to the Norfolk coast, so we left at 3am and managed to blitz the journey in almost half the time. A combination of clear roads and sleeping babies made for the most perfect travelling conditions!

3) If we are travelling at night, I often pack warm blankets into the boys carseats, ready to wrap them in once we get going. We like to have the air con on to help keep us awake and sharp but it can be a little chilly so lots of blankets and warm socks definitely help to keep everyone comfortable and relaxed!

4) When we do make our stops en route, I like to know exactly where everything is so that we aren't wasting time rooting around our luggage for wet wipes, sippy cups or nappies! I pack a dedicated bag for nappy changes which I keep in the passenger footwells and another one filled with snacks and drinks for the children. We also make sure to have a bag of toys within easy reach and have the iPad charged so that the boys can watch a movie as a bit of a last resort to keep the peace in the back seats! 

5) My other tip is to always carry plenty of spare plastic bags, just the standard supermarket ones! We always start a journey with a clean car and end up with food, rubbish and general mess everywhere once an hour or so has passed! It's one of my biggest pet peeves and to try and minimise general chaos and mess I carry plastic bags in the front seat to collect rubbish as we go so that once we do stop I can decant anything we don't need into bins at the service stations. This tip is definitely one that  is more for my benefit as I just think there is nothing worse than reaching your destination and having to unpack the car....and then clean up a crazy mess that the kids have left behind! 

6) Don't have unreal expectations! The kids are just babies really and they sometimes just need a break from the road so we try and just be as flexible and open minded about stopping...even if it has only been an hour since the last one! It's not always convenient for us but it always works out for the better if the children feel content and comfortable in the back!

What are your best travel tips for journeys with little ones?!



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