Our child has mastered his first long roadtrip at the age of only two weeks. 1200 km in fourteen hours through four countries. It was relatively easy with a two weeks old baby. The older the child becomes, the more entertainment opportunities one has to come up with. In addition to entertainment , our tips will make driving with children easier.
Our tips for mastering long roadtrip are as follows
Use the sleep phases of the child: As adults do too, children have the longest sleep phases during the night. Our baby slept very well at night already from the beginning. And especially in the first weeks, the little ones are very regularly awake for drinking breaks. In the hours inbetween, when the baby is asleep you can drive quite far.
Whenever baby wakes up after a few hours it’s good everyone to take a break, to stretch your legs. Make sure to also take the baby out of the seat regularly so that it can stretch. The older the children become the longer the nocturnal sleep phases get, so our tip is to start driving in the night or very early in the morning.
The right child seat: We quickly realized that the baby carseat we bought for quite a high price was a very bad purchase! Unfortunately we did not inform ourselves and just bought what is recommended. But every child is different and each seat and each child is different. Although the baby seemed to sleep well, we could not watch it to be in a very uncomfortable sitting position. Together with the baby, we then went into a specialised shop and bought a new seat.
So our tip is to just borrow a baby car seat. This is possible in almost every hospital or clinic. In Austria you can also borrow one for a whole year for a small deposit at the ÖAMTC! When your baby is born go together with your baby to a shop where they show you a lot of different seats. The baby/child can usually try all the seats there and they also show you which seat is suitable for your car. Like that you will definitely find a good and safe seat for your child and will not spend money on an expensive baby car seat that does not fit. We chose a reboarder that fits right from birth and the first few years. Very handy is also a seat you can turn towards you to put in the child easier like the Maxi-Cosi AxissFix or the Britax Römer Dualfix.
Serenity: Especially if you do not drive overnight and your child is awake most of the time, do not insist on an arrival time or place. Stay calm and give the child and youself the breaks you all need. If if doesn’t go anymore find a place to stay over night or explore the area for a few hours to stretch your legs. Like that you often see places you haven’t been to yet. That’s our tip for arriving relaxed and not completely exhausted and tired.
Entertainment: Bring your favorite toys, books and music. Leave the seat beside the child free to sit next to the child. We always take something that the child does not know well yet, so the child has something new to explore for a while. Singing and fingergames also always work well.
Snacks and Water: Do not forget to take enough to eat and drink for you and the child. We usually take selfmade vegetable and fruit waffles, pizzaslices, vegetable sticks or other small bites that are easy to eat in the car without crumbling. As long as the baby is exclusively breastfed, it’s really easy anyway. Also always take enough water!
Daypack: In addition to our large luggage, we always have a small daypack with us. These are the things we need over the day and if we stay somewhere. This has turned out to be really useful because we don’t have to open our big luggage. The dayback consists of our toothbrushes, washing utensils and clothes to change for us and the baby. For our child we usually have an own bag, which is take everywhere anyway. In it is the changing mat, clean diapers and washcloths in a wetbag, a wetbag for dirty diapers or dirty clothes, clothes to change, a light beanie and some toys.
These were our most important tips which definitely make our roadtrips easier. But the best advice is for sure to just do it and to not be afraid and always stay relaxed! The same applies to train journeys and flight. We have already tried it all and with a little organization it really is easier than you think 🙂