Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

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Afty
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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by Afty » Sun Aug 21, 2016 4:48 pm

You couldn't pay me enough to do this. We just did a 350 mile road trip with our 6 and 2 year old, and even that tried our patience. It took us over eight hours even without traffic, since the kids need to stop frequently for food and bathroom breaks (and the stops take forever -- no such thing as a quick stop with a toddler). We left in the late afternoon and expected them to sleep most of the way, but instead they were awake until just before we arrived and then wouldn't go to sleep once we were at the hotel, at midnight.

The OP says that money isn't a concern. If that's the case, I don't see why you wouldn't fly. Do you really want to spend 4 days of your precious vacation time in a car?

jchris
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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by jchris » Sun Aug 21, 2016 5:02 pm

We did this when our kids were about those ages (this was about 15 years ago), but it was to Disneyworld, not Miami. In retrospect, it was insane. Trip down was not too bad but the trip back was one of the worst travel nightmares ever, with unhappy baby and toddler. I would second the suggestion to fly from BWI to FLL. I fly that route frequently on Southwest, and it is easy at both ends - the SW terminal at BWI is excellent, and FLL is a nice small airport (compared to Miami).

stoptothink
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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by stoptothink » Sun Aug 21, 2016 5:04 pm

We've done many long road trips with our now 4.5yr old and 15-month old...in a 2-door Hyundai accent hatchback. The last was a week trip to visit my brothers in California, about 650 miles each way. People wonder how we get by day-to-day with two kids and only one, very small, car, let alone make week-long or more road trips in it; especially considering I am 6'1" 210 and the wife is 5'8". I guess we are used to it. Some Disney songs on the Ipod, a portable DVD player and a pair of children's headphones - the driving part of the trips are a breeze.

randomguy
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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by randomguy » Sun Aug 21, 2016 5:12 pm

math22 wrote: Have you done this? Any feedback or recommendations?
Most importantly, am i crazy in doing this?
I have done it numerous times with kids roughly (2,4) that age and yeah it is a pain but it wasn't much worse than a normal dive of that length. One parent helps entertain the kids, the other drives. In some ways it is less stressful than flying (i.e you don't have 100+ people looking at you as your kids screams from the pressure change)

Personally I would suggest the auto train from DC to Stanford and drive the rest. It isn't faster or cheap but the kids think is fun. And the big plus is you have your car (and carseats and far more crap than you can bring on a plane. #minivanlife).

Rodc
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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by Rodc » Sun Aug 21, 2016 6:11 pm

stoptothink wrote:We've done many long road trips with our now 4.5yr old and 15-month old...in a 2-door Hyundai accent hatchback. The last was a week trip to visit my brothers in California, about 650 miles each way. People wonder how we get by day-to-day with two kids and only one, very small, car, let alone make week-long or more road trips in it; especially considering I am 6'1" 210 and the wife is 5'8". I guess we are used to it. Some Disney songs on the Ipod, a portable DVD player and a pair of children's headphones - the driving part of the trips are a breeze.
Depends greatly on the kids, as so much does.

Our kids travel well. We are very fortunate.We never even bothered with the electronics. Though we have not tried more than a 500 mile trip - just has not come up. And that also means kids not sick. We have had a kid come down with tummy troubles and whether aircraft or car that makes for a more difficult situation. And not just in the car. They were happy to bed down anywhere, including laying down a couple of towels on the floor to make a "bed".

No longer tiny, they are teens, and continue to travel well. You can take them anywhere, even very adult non-kid places (Think some little old lady author's home turned into a museum or something) and they are happy and interested. But some kids would be bored out of their skulls. So we continue to feel fortunate.

But many kids do not travel well. They just don't. Indeed I know adults who do not travel well. :) Some kids simply cannot sit for long, or get very discombobulated if their routines are disrupted. The trouble arises when mom and dad try to force a small child into situations they just are not developmentally ready for. Different kids are ready at different times.

So to the OP, you really need to know your kids. If they travel well in a car for hours and hours, great. Go for it. If they do not travel well in a car for hours and hours then do not torture them (and yourself) since cost of flying is not an issue.

Best of luck
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White Coat Investor
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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by White Coat Investor » Sun Aug 21, 2016 6:24 pm

math22 wrote:I am planning to drive from DC to Miami with wife and kids (one 3 years old and one 10 months old) during the Christmas/new years break.
We are planning to sleep one night in a hotel somewhere. We will stay 8 days at my wife's parents house and come back also by car.

We are doing this for the flexibility (it is nice to avoid airports during that time of the year), not so much for cost reasons.

Have you done this? Any feedback or recommendations?
Most importantly, am i crazy in doing this?
1000 miles? That's one 13 hour day. Maybe 16 with stops. Get some movies. And maybe some benadryl. :) We'll be driving 19 hours in a day for Thanksgiving this year with 12, 9, 7, and 1. They'll deal with it.

The hardest part is getting the 10 month old back into car seat after a break. Better not to take the breaks unless there's a need for a diaper change.
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squirm
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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by squirm » Sun Aug 21, 2016 6:48 pm

Our kids travel well too, but it depends who else is in the car. If it's dad (me), they're good. If it's grandma, they're terrible. If it's mom, they're okay. They know dad means business. I don't do electronics, unless I need to keep them awake.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by emoore » Sun Aug 21, 2016 6:52 pm

White Coat Investor wrote:
math22 wrote:I am planning to drive from DC to Miami with wife and kids (one 3 years old and one 10 months old) during the Christmas/new years break.
We are planning to sleep one night in a hotel somewhere. We will stay 8 days at my wife's parents house and come back also by car.

We are doing this for the flexibility (it is nice to avoid airports during that time of the year), not so much for cost reasons.

Have you done this? Any feedback or recommendations?
Most importantly, am i crazy in doing this?
1000 miles? That's one 13 hour day. Maybe 16 with stops. Get some movies. And maybe some benadryl. :) We'll be driving 19 hours in a day for Thanksgiving this year with 12, 9, 7, and 1. They'll deal with it.

The hardest part is getting the 10 month old back into car seat after a break. Better not to take the breaks unless there's a need for a diaper change.
+1 I'm amazed with the amount of caution. Driving is much safer today than in the 80s or earlier. I think its a good family bonding experience to drive together.

Rodc
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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by Rodc » Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:44 pm

I once with two friends drove straight shot DC to Denver. In the winter. And back again a week later.

A couple of years earlier I drove, with only one real break of a couple of hours at Old Faithful, straight shot Washington State to Washington DC with my dad.

Since all people have the same ability to sit more or less happily in a car I think no one should ever fly and just drive no matter how far. It will be fine because there really is no family variability. If they can't somehow something is wrong with them.

:)
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Atilla
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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by Atilla » Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:51 pm

Leave after dinner when it's bed time and haul it overnight as fast as you can. Can you still get ephedrine at truck stops?
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researcher
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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by researcher » Sun Aug 21, 2016 8:10 pm

Many posters are making this into a much bigger deal than it really is.
From someone who has done very similar trips in the past, with kids the same age, it’s really not bad if you do it right.

Driving at night is an absolute must.
- You want to arrive at your destination about the time the kids typically wake up in the morning.
- This allows the kids to get out of the car and start their day as they normally would, and allows you to get some sleep while the in-laws watch the kids.

If your kids get up around 8am, you should leave around 5pm according to Google. (I meet or beat Google estimates even with stops).
Let kids get as much energy out as possible that day, then have an early dinner so you can hit the road by 5pm.

For the first hour or so of driving, let the kids play with toys, tablets, ect. Eventually start a movie on portable DVD players.
Have a small cooler to provide them with milk/water/snacks.

This should get you to around 8pm or so. Make your first stop to allow the children to stretch, potty and change into their PJ’s. Top off with gas. If your vehicle & car seats allow, recline the car seats to their most horizontal positions.

Once on the road again, read them their bedtime stories and allow them to fall asleep.
Hopefully they will sleep most or all of the way to your destination , which has been my experience.

The only things you should need are several podcasts/audio books, a set of earbuds, and some snacks.
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tic
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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by tic » Sun Aug 21, 2016 8:24 pm

I don't really have much to contribute, but I just wanted to add one voice to the group saying this is totally doable. We've done 800 miles with little ones without any problem.

Points to emphasize:
- To the extent that it's safe, do as much driving as possible while the kids are sleeping. The roads are more open at those times anyway.
- Snacks and NOVEL toys/activities. Your kids will be restless/bored not scared/lonely. Familiar toys won't have their usual appeal, so get a few new things they've never seen before
- Minimize stops. Counterintuitive, perhaps, but we find the number of times in/out of the car is more taxing than the length of driving between stops.

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dandan14
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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by dandan14 » Sun Aug 21, 2016 8:29 pm

Pack little "gifts" that you open up every hour or so.
Depending on the ages, this can be as simple as a box of tissues. When we had babies, that was something that they could play with for a while.
Look for other dollar store stuff that they can open, make a mess, play with, explore, etc.

Another tip -- always mentally plan for 1.5x whatever time google maps says. If maps says 10 hours, plan for 15. It's tough, but pretty realistic.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by researcher » Sun Aug 21, 2016 8:50 pm

dandan14 wrote:Another tip -- always mentally plan for 1.5x whatever time google maps says. If maps says 10 hours, plan for 15. It's tough, but pretty realistic.
I completely disagree. I've never exceeded google maps timing, ever. In fact, I nearly always beat the estimate.

You must have had some extremely unlucky road trips if you add 50%.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by czeckers » Sun Aug 21, 2016 10:15 pm

We do this all the time. Drove NY to Orlando and back using 2 days each way. 500 mi/day is quite doable.

The baby will likely sleep through a lot of it. Make sure you have plenty of baby food. Try to avoid anything that needs to be refrigerated.

The 3yo is a wild card. Some do great, some are very unhappy, and some talk your ear off the entire trip (which can be quite tiring). A DVD player can go a long way toward giving the parents a little peace. Having music they like helps too.

You'll want to minimize stops as much as possible. At that age, you're looking at 45 min per stop by the time you feed the baby, change diapers, take care of yourselves.

If you can, try to get some 4hr trips in beforehand to see how your kiddos do and to break them in to traveling long distances.

Good luck.
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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by czeckers » Sun Aug 21, 2016 10:35 pm

An upside of driving is you have your car and car seats when you get there. Juggling car seats, strollers, and 8 days worth of luggage plus the kids through the airport is doable but challenging as well.
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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by gnujoe2001 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 12:07 am

We did a coast-to-coast road trip with a 1 yr old. It was a fun yet manageable experience for us. Just set your expectations accordingly to help reduce frustration.

Between stops for eating, bathrooms, diaper change, nursing, we averaged maybe 50 miles per hour of travel. (We drove during the daytime: for some reason our 1yr old at the time was a screamer for night driving, even for short errands in-town).

Try making one of the eating stops (maybe lunch) a semi-sitdown place, where the baby can stand in the seat/booth, and toddler to stretch out. Ideally such dining place will also have some play area or small shop to get some browsing and extra walking before getting back into car seats.

Agreed on suggestions for snacks. Keep a cooler in the vehicle, replenish with ice daily or get a plug-in cooler. The latter is nice if you stop at a hotel without an included fridge and you also have a 120VAC to 12V DC adapter. Bring or stop off at grocery stores for cold cuts and other foods you can prep at a rest stop, which can help when the usual fast food choices start wearing on you.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by pennywise » Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:31 am

Rodc wrote:
Since all people have the same ability to sit more or less happily in a car I think no one should ever fly and just drive no matter how far. It will be fine because there really is no family variability. If they can't somehow something is wrong with them.

:)
Said no one with small children ever.

Another vote for either flying/renting a car or asking the grandparents to do the traveling. Can't think of a single advantage that driving that distance with a toddler and infant would confer.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by tigerdoc93 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:48 am

Wow! I've done similar trips in the past multiple times with small children. This was in the pre-cell phone era. I agree with the minority of the posters on this issue, in that I would definitely argue that you consider driving at night. Obviously, that means that you will need to rest up before the trip so that you can be alert during the trip. I guess driving at night was not that difficult for me because I work a rotating schedule and frequently work the night shift. We would drive 13 hours during the evening and night and arrive at our destination early in the morning. If we were lucky the kids would sleep most of the way. It wasn't that much of a hardship, Probably because we were young adults. I also did not find it difficult to locate a gas station with a coffee pot if I felt the need. Please keep in mind that I'm not advocating driving while sleepy. If you feel tired it's always best to ask your significant other to drive for a while while you take a nap. If that's not an option then you can go to a rest area or stop and get a hotel room. As other posters have mentioned, DVD players can be very helpful as well. Good luck on your trip and have fun.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by finite_difference » Mon Aug 22, 2016 7:13 am

2tall4economy wrote:A few months back my wife and I did 1,500 miles with. 3 year old and a 2 month old and prior to that we've flown 12+ hours internationally with multiple hops with the older kid (from his ages 6 months up through 3 years).

We did it because we had to; we were relocating and needed a car full of stuff for the house before our shipment arrived and we needed to get our car up there.

Some things I learned:

Having a late potty trainer in the older one was a major blessing. No potty stops.

iPad with pre downloaded videos (paw patrol in our case) was nearly as good as internet in the car.

Baby stops for feeding were biggest issue.

Even with all that favor ability we could only do 3-4 hours, break and another 3-4 hours. Took 4 days.

Fly.
Yeah that is my experience as well -- 3-4 hours and then break. That was with one baby.

It's more expensive but so much easier to fly domestically because the kids can run around the airport and are only "stuck" in their seat for a couple hours, not stuck a dozen hours in the car seat. Once the kids are a bit older (3-4+?) I would think driving would be fine, provided they have an iPad or Nintendo, etc.
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TxAg
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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by TxAg » Mon Aug 22, 2016 7:18 am

researcher wrote:
dandan14 wrote:Another tip -- always mentally plan for 1.5x whatever time google maps says. If maps says 10 hours, plan for 15. It's tough, but pretty realistic.
I completely disagree. I've never exceeded google maps timing, ever. In fact, I nearly always beat the estimate.

You must have had some extremely unlucky road trips if you add 50%.
I took it to mean add 50% extra when accounting for toddlers....which, in my experience, makes sense. Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

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dm200
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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by dm200 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:05 am

As I (and others) have posted, it all depends on the child(ren) and your wife and how they "travel". While our son was, over the years and decades, very difficult and challenging in many ways, he loved to travel and was fine on many such trips as this.

You have several months to "prepare", so you might see how your toddler might travel and what kinds of things for the trip do and do not work.

Your wife, perhaps most importantly, needs to be onboard with this trip. Work a "strategy" for the trip and preparations. In our case, my wife was great with preparations for the trips. Maybe something like she focuses on preparing and caring for the baby and you focus on the toddler. On those trips, the biggest problem was if our son said something - and my wife would get into a back and forth with him - each wanting to have the "last word".

We know folks who take such trips leaving very, very early in the morning - and it works for them. We never did that - and it worked for us.

During that time when we took these long trips with our very young son, I recall that the other folks who told us we were crazy were cases where the adults did not like to take long driving trips themselves.

Let us know in January how things went.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by Jamieson22 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:39 am

We did 780 miles from IL to SC with a 4yo and 2.5yo. NEVER AGAIN.

My son started getting carsick 80 miles into the trip. My wife spend majority of trip in back seat wedged between two cars seats. I am shaking just typing this.

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vectorizer
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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by vectorizer » Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:02 am

I'm also surprised at the amount of negativity in many of the responses here.

Obviously it all depends on your kids for what works and what doesn't, and a lot of that is just whether you're lucky to have kids with good dispositions. You won't really know for sure till you make the trip, and you'll probably discover what works well and what doesn't.

We made yearly trips down to Ocala FL from Philly suburbs in January for about 12 years straight in the '90s to stay with my parents for up to two weeks. Just slightly less than 1000 miles, and we always did it in one long day; the first trip was 17+ hours, and we got it down to less than 14 hours at the end as the kids got older and we got more efficient. Three kids, at different times all ages from infants to mid teens. Never really had a significant problem, no screaming fits. (I confirmed this with my wife because my memory isn't great.)

No new suggestions here, but FWIW this is what we did with some comentary:
  • We got the AAA TripTiks too, but that was before smartphones. Doubt they're needed today, unless you wanted a paper backup. Plenty of apps show the next gas or restaurant etc.
  • Left early in the morning so the first leg would be the longest as the kids slept in the car. Also wanted to get past the WashDC area before heavy rush hour. We'd set the alarm for 3AM, and be on the road by 3:45. No matter what I did to prepare, it would always take 45 minutes for some reason. Included feeding the kids before we left the house.
  • First leg we'd get about 5 hours in and would have to stop for gas. Other legs were about 3-4 hours. Sometimes would need a quick bathroom stop but the kids seemed to do OK with 3-4 hours. We took a training potty when the kids were still being trained.
  • Spouse would sit in the back seat next to infant/toddler to entertain them.
  • We brought coloring books, games, and a little tube TV with built-in VCR that ran off of cigarette lighter DC power. That movie player was a big help, and pretty rare back in the days before little DVD players (which we got when they were available). Laptops and game consoles eventually took over the entertainment job. We had plenty of conversation, but mostly everyone entertained themselves, except of course infants/toddlers. We're not a singing-in-the-car type of family. :-)
  • We'd have to coordinate well between spouses at each stop for younger kids. I'd be taking the older kids to the restaurant bathroom while my wife was breastfeeding in the car for instance, or I'd be with the toddler on the training potty in the minivan while she went in. Definitely need a good spousal relationship to pull this off.
  • Generally we'd sit in the "restaurant" to eat rather than eating on the road for everyone to take a break, but sometimes would take food on the road if we had to take an unscheduled break.
  • I'd do most of the driving because I had a heavier foot, and my wife would take over around hour 11. (Georgia would be the reminder to switch.) How much driving each of you do should be optimized according to how much each likes or hates it, and what your natural alert times are (I am a morning person but I need a nap in the late afternoon, for instance, even if not driving.)
  • We didn't attempt to drive during high traffic times like you're doing, so that's an extra consideration. OTOH, you're stopping overnight so the extra day should more than make up for slower average speeds. We decided to try to drive straight through on first attempt, accepting that we might have to stop overnight. But, straight through worked for us, and avoided the cost and complication of staying overnight ... plus staying in a motel with young kids isn't a picnic either.
Good luck. You can do this.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by Carson » Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:45 am

I agree with others that it is mainly what you make of it and everyone's personalities.

We have a now 6 and 4-yo and it's working so far for us. Once a year we drive from Chicago to FL and we've done it since the 1st one was 9 months old. We also routinely drive to NW WI/MPLS. Here are some tips that work for us:

When we stop, we get 'to go' food and head to the closest local playground. Let the kids run it out and play while we eat, and then when we get back in the car, we'll give the kids their food. We have found a lot of amazing local playgrounds this way. I don't generally pack a main meal because eating out is a total novelty for them.

We did this when breastfeeding each for quite awhile, I would pump in the passenger seat and offer a bottle instead of getting out to stop if we were close.

Limited drinks. It sounds kinda cruel, but it really helps, especially since our kids are wait until last minute kind of guys.

We try to rely on novel toys and books before we resort to screen time. Usually we can hold them off with conversation, duplos, play dough, books, until after lunchtime. And then we'll request quiet/book/naptime for an hour. When that is over we'll pop in a movie, and then usually be close to our stopping point for the day.

We always make sure our hotel has a pool and breakfast. As soon as we checked in, it was into swimming suits and in the pool while the other got food back to the room and bags brought in. In the morning, the driver would sleep in while the other did AM pool and full run of the breakfast bar.
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ZenInvestor
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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by ZenInvestor » Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:04 am

Just did this last week. Round trip was 1400 miles. 700 miles per leg.

On the way out we did it in two sections stopping about 60% of the way there. On the way back we did it in one leg, starting at 3am. The way back was more successful. Our 2 year old did not sleep on the way up, but slept for 3 hours on the way back. The #1 most important thing..... iPad with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. #2 most important thing... all of her favorite snacks in a cooler.

It was not a bad trip at all. Without Mickey... It would have been hell....

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by NoVa Lurker » Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:12 am

Yep, we have done this twice round-trip. First with 3.5 yr old and 8 month old, then with 4.5 year old and 20 month old.

It's not easy, but it beat the alternatives for us.

It helps that my wife and I both like driving, and we can both take two-hour naps in the car, and then wake up feeling okay.

All four times, the drive went just fine. The first time, which is most comparable to OP's situation, we left at 6 pm, ate dinner in the car, did a long stop at 8 pm near Richmond for the kids to have milk, bathroom/diaper change, and brush teeth. Then the kids slept easily while my wife and I took turns driving. The baby woke up twice from 8 pm to 6 am, both times for a quick feeding plus diaper change. At 6 am, the baby went nuts, and we still had 30 miles to the Chick Fil A where we planned to stop, have breakfast, and let the kids get energy out. My wife and I both got around 4 hours of sleep overnight. We did not give the kids ipads until after breakfast. The kids were happy watching movies/ playing games in the car for a few hours, and we arrived by mid-morning.

Really, in the entire drive, only the 6 am - 6:30 am time slot was painful. And if we had just stopped immediately for a feeding at 6 am, it probably would have been fine.

Door-to-door, flying direct to Miami with a rental car, it would take us around 8 hours. Driving takes about 14. But with two small kids (and strollers, car seats, diapers, etc), it's so much easier to pack the car than to deal with airports and rental car places, especially during prime travel times (Christmas, July-August), which are the only times we can travel now.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by Rudy63 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:27 am

OP,
I was reading your post thinking '1000 miles--that's not too bad. We just did 1000 miles with our 3 y/o and (then) 11 month old.' However, I then realized it was 1000 mile one way. Ours was 500 each way (8 hours.) If I were you, I'd fly.

We experimented with driving until you can't safely drive anymore and getting a hotel. We'd leave right after bath, drive 5 hours, and sleep. Unfortunately, our kids would sleep, but awake at the hotel and end up so wound up upon arrival to the hotel at 1 a.m., that it takes them forever (2-3) hours to go back to sleep.

We have had better luck getting up at 3 a.m. and getting to our destination by 11 a.m. We wait until the 3 year is climbing the walls before we break out the DVD player. We also try to get them as much physical activity the day before we depart and upon arrival. Pools are great for this.

We have flown a lot with our 3 and 1 year old. While not fun, it's a band-aid--just rip it off quickly! Anything over 8 hours driving (without stops) and I'd fly...especially DC to Miami since there are airports right there and you aren't doing it for cost savings.

Agree about the earbud for one ear for a TED talk or audio book or whatever will keep you awake if you end up driving.

Be safe and good luck!

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by new2bogle » Mon Aug 22, 2016 12:02 pm

Did a 1100 mile trip last year and will do another one in two weeks. Kids are 5, 3 and 1. Not a problem at all. Make sure car activities are planned and stop every 3-4 hours. Food needs to be easily accessible in the car. Easy peasy, not sure why people are thinking you are crazy or stupid.

Did it straight 14 hours. This time we plan to leave around 3PM so the kids are asleep for the second half of the trip.

researcher
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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by researcher » Mon Aug 22, 2016 12:49 pm

pennywise wrote:Another vote for either flying/renting a car or asking the grandparents to do the traveling. Can't think of a single advantage that driving that distance with a toddler and infant would confer.
Can't think of a single advantage? With two kids that age, you are going to be bringing a LOT of stuff with you...
- Luggage, 2 car seats, 2 strollers (or 1 large double stroller), Pack N Play, Diaper Bag, Food/milk, Toys

I'd prefer to load those items once, drive overnight while the kids sleep, then unpack when you get to your destination in the morning.

With your suggestion, you'd...
1) load all of that stuff in the car, 2) Unload it once you get to the airport, 3) Go park the car, 4) Check some items & schlep the rest through the concourses, 5) Gate-check other items and hope you have what you need on the plane, 6) Schlep stuff to rental counter when you land, 7) Schlep stuff to your rental car, 8) Load rental car with all of your stuff, 9) Drive to your location & unload all of your stuff.

Then you get to repeat those steps when you fly back home!

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by stoptothink » Mon Aug 22, 2016 12:53 pm

researcher wrote:
pennywise wrote:Another vote for either flying/renting a car or asking the grandparents to do the traveling. Can't think of a single advantage that driving that distance with a toddler and infant would confer.
Can't think of a single advantage? With two kids that age, you are going to be bringing a LOT of stuff with you...
- Luggage, 2 car seats, 2 strollers (or 1 large double stroller), Pack N Play, Diaper Bag, Food/milk, Toys

I'd prefer to load those items once, drive overnight while the kids sleep, then unpack when you get to your destination in the morning.

With your suggestion, you'd...
1) load all of that stuff in the car, 2) Unload it once you get to the airport, 3) Go park the car, 4) Check some items & schlep the rest through the concourses, 5) Gate-check other items and hope you have what you need on the plane, 6) Schlep stuff to rental counter when you land, 7) Schlep stuff to your rental car, 8) Load rental car with all of your stuff, 9) Drive to your location & unload all of your stuff.

Then you get to repeat those steps when you fly back home!
Plus the fun possibility of arriving at your destination without one of those many items on the belt. It has happened to me twice as a single traveler with a single bag, I can't imagine the headache when traveling with a family and that much stuff. This is precisely why we choose to drive instead of fly, it is not just the financial cost.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by Rodc » Mon Aug 22, 2016 1:16 pm

researcher wrote:
pennywise wrote:Another vote for either flying/renting a car or asking the grandparents to do the traveling. Can't think of a single advantage that driving that distance with a toddler and infant would confer.
Can't think of a single advantage? With two kids that age, you are going to be bringing a LOT of stuff with you...
- Luggage, 2 car seats, 2 strollers (or 1 large double stroller), Pack N Play, Diaper Bag, Food/milk, Toys

I'd prefer to load those items once, drive overnight while the kids sleep, then unpack when you get to your destination in the morning.

With your suggestion, you'd...
1) load all of that stuff in the car, 2) Unload it once you get to the airport, 3) Go park the car, 4) Check some items & schlep the rest through the concourses, 5) Gate-check other items and hope you have what you need on the plane, 6) Schlep stuff to rental counter when you land, 7) Schlep stuff to your rental car, 8) Load rental car with all of your stuff, 9) Drive to your location & unload all of your stuff.

Then you get to repeat those steps when you fly back home!
We never bothered with half that stuff, whether flying or driving. Often even if you do need it someone local can lend it to you. Marketing has convinced parents they need all that stuff 24/7.

FWIW: both modes can have their issues and hassles. I don't think there is a clear win; we used to switch back and forth depending on who knows what. Though I can only think of one trip farther than 500 miles we took as family is 500 miles away. And the one longer one was to my father's funeral. We flew for that and it was a disaster because of a canceled second leg from Chicago to some little city in mid-Michigan which caused us to rent a car and drive out into Chicago rush hour traffic. The flight was a mess. The drive was a mess. Barely potty-trained kid got a stomach bug. Nothing like stopping in rush hour stop and go traffic to let the kid go on the side of the road because there was no hope of making it to the next exit.

In all it would have been better to drive for that one because we would not have had the hassle of the busted connection and we could have avoided Chicago. But I have had drives get busted around holidays due to high volumes of traffic coupled with poor weather.

Sometimes it is damned if you do and damned if you don't!

Either might work, either might fail!

Best of luck.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by flyingbison » Mon Aug 22, 2016 1:24 pm

We did a 1500 mile round trip last spring with our 3 year old daughter. Each way was about 13 hours of driving, and both ways we drove about 8 hours the first day and 5 the second. Made 2 stops the first day, and just one on the second day. We brought a portable DVD player, but only used it once for about an hour. The rest of the time we talked, played games, read books, etc. She did great.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by saladdin » Mon Aug 22, 2016 1:26 pm

jjface wrote:
best advice, if the kids are sleeping drive like the wind. I don't care what stop you had planned or if an adult needs to go to the bathroom, you keep driving ... fast
Sounds like yet another accident waiting to happen. You drive as carefully as you normally would at the normal speed realizing you have precious cargo on board and others driving around you do too. Postponing stops is fine as long as the women in the car are saying it is okay :)
I'd like to read one thread about a family without the silliness of "men dumb" and "women rule the household so just say 'Yes dear' to everything she says" . Jeez, it's 2016 and this isn't a bad CBS sitcom.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by LiterallyIronic » Mon Aug 22, 2016 1:33 pm

Reading this thread is a real eye-opener. If it were just me (and possibly other adults) making this trip, I'd do it all in one day. At 70mph, that's 14 hours. Stop twice for gas and bathroom no more than 10 minutes each stop. A long day, sure, but definitely doable. Do kids really need to stop every two hours?

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by jjface » Mon Aug 22, 2016 1:34 pm

saladdin wrote:
jjface wrote:
best advice, if the kids are sleeping drive like the wind. I don't care what stop you had planned or if an adult needs to go to the bathroom, you keep driving ... fast
Sounds like yet another accident waiting to happen. You drive as carefully as you normally would at the normal speed realizing you have precious cargo on board and others driving around you do too. Postponing stops is fine as long as the women in the car are saying it is okay :)
I'd like to read one thread about a family without the silliness of "men dumb" and "women rule the household so just say 'Yes dear' to everything she says" . Jeez, it's 2016 and this isn't a bad CBS sitcom.
Women 's bodies are different and tend to need the bathroom more frequently. It was about being respectful.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by saladdin » Mon Aug 22, 2016 1:36 pm

jjface wrote:
saladdin wrote:
jjface wrote:
best advice, if the kids are sleeping drive like the wind. I don't care what stop you had planned or if an adult needs to go to the bathroom, you keep driving ... fast
Sounds like yet another accident waiting to happen. You drive as carefully as you normally would at the normal speed realizing you have precious cargo on board and others driving around you do too. Postponing stops is fine as long as the women in the car are saying it is okay :)
I'd like to read one thread about a family without the silliness of "men dumb" and "women rule the household so just say 'Yes dear' to everything she says" . Jeez, it's 2016 and this isn't a bad CBS sitcom.
Women 's bodies are different and tend to need the bathroom more frequently. It was about being respectful.
If women's are different then that means men's are different. Respect goes both ways.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by dm200 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 1:41 pm

LiterallyIronic wrote:Reading this thread is a real eye-opener. If it were just me (and possibly other adults) making this trip, I'd do it all in one day. At 70mph, that's 14 hours. Stop twice for gas and bathroom no more than 10 minutes each stop. A long day, sure, but definitely doable. Do kids really need to stop every two hours?
I cannot comprehend a bathroom (and related) stop for my wife and our son (when young) of as short as 10 minutes (not even counting gasoline refueling). Neither can I comprehend as few as two stops. Before toilet training, it was absolutely impossible/unbearable to be in the same car for any amount of time when he had a "load" in his diaper.

Back decades ago, I would do exactly what you suggest. I drove straight through from mid Florida to Washington DC in a 60's VW Bug that way. That was before wife and/or child(ren).

My wife claims that this "obsession" (of men) to drive long distances over very long times and figuring/calculating the "optimum" or "Minimum" number and duration of stops for refueling and bathroom breaks is an absurd "guy" thing. While I do not agree with her conclusion, I do admit that (when driving alone) I would do calculations and projections to minimize the number and duration of stops. This was especially true of long road trips I would make repeatedly. This place might take 8 minutes, while another might take 11. This place can combine refueling AND bathroom minimizing the total. :sharebeer

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by surveyor » Mon Aug 22, 2016 1:58 pm

Car potty (ie training potty for emergencies). 4 AM departure. Embassy Suites Jacksonville on the trip down. Snag hotel reservations early as that is prime snow bird influx season.

We never did it with a baby but did do it with toddlers. Roughly 15 hours to go 1000 miles. Chick fil A is always a reliable stop where they can play for a half hour or so. We go straight through on the way down and plan on a hotel on the way back. Flying is great when you're going to Disney but for a trip to the parents house with kids it is nice to have the kids' stuff that you wouldn't take on an airplane. Figure out where rest stops are ahead of time and just plan to stop. We find every other one works out pretty well.

Then again there is that 10 hour trip to Philly we took with toddlers that is referred to as the trip we don't talk about.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by Rodc » Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:09 pm

LiterallyIronic wrote:Reading this thread is a real eye-opener. If it were just me (and possibly other adults) making this trip, I'd do it all in one day. At 70mph, that's 14 hours. Stop twice for gas and bathroom no more than 10 minutes each stop. A long day, sure, but definitely doable. Do kids really need to stop every two hours?
Very much depends on the kids. I think I may have first suggested 2 hours. If you have high energy kids it can really help to stop and run them. It does not have be a long stop. And I do mean run them. But is it every two hours? Eh, maybe it is three. Likely depends on the day - maybe sometimes they are in a low energy mood and you can drive for hours, some other day they are climbing the walls. Depends on the kids and it depends on how willing you to have them be miserable. :) Kids do not always have large bladders or great control, and they do not necessarily synchronize well so you may end up with bathroom breaks anyway.

I learned as a child from my parents. We did this and rotated seats like in volleyball. It was something to look forward to. Could it have been longer? I don't know, 2 hours is what we did and it worked well. DC to Michigan, DC to FL.

I would suggest best factor in lots of stops and if you get a good day great. Just do not count on it because it just adds stress if thing are not going as you hoped.

Flexibility goes a long way with small kids.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by Rodc » Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:10 pm

dm200 wrote:
LiterallyIronic wrote:Reading this thread is a real eye-opener. If it were just me (and possibly other adults) making this trip, I'd do it all in one day. At 70mph, that's 14 hours. Stop twice for gas and bathroom no more than 10 minutes each stop. A long day, sure, but definitely doable. Do kids really need to stop every two hours?
I cannot comprehend a bathroom (and related) stop for my wife and our son (when young) of as short as 10 minutes (not even counting gasoline refueling). Neither can I comprehend as few as two stops. Before toilet training, it was absolutely impossible/unbearable to be in the same car for any amount of time when he had a "load" in his diaper.

Back decades ago, I would do exactly what you suggest. I drove straight through from mid Florida to Washington DC in a 60's VW Bug that way. That was before wife and/or child(ren).

My wife claims that this "obsession" (of men) to drive long distances over very long times and figuring/calculating the "optimum" or "Minimum" number and duration of stops for refueling and bathroom breaks is an absurd "guy" thing. While I do not agree with her conclusion, I do admit that (when driving alone) I would do calculations and projections to minimize the number and duration of stops. This was especially true of long road trips I would make repeatedly. This place might take 8 minutes, while another might take 11. This place can combine refueling AND bathroom minimizing the total. :sharebeer
And now that energy goes into investment strategy. :)
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

halfnine
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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by halfnine » Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:26 pm

As far as night driving and my experiences....

I don't like leaving right after work and driving into the night. I find the shift through sunset and into night a bit tiring in itself and also tend to fade at some point late in the night from being up all day. I much prefer to get some sleep and then get up between 12 and 2 and then start driving. I find the first few hours plenty easy enough and then when I to begin to fade it generally that also coincides with the sun rising which reinvigorates me.

Anyway, after a 27 hr journey including 22 hours of flight time with my kids when they were little, nothing fazes me as much anymore.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by researcher » Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:03 pm

Rodc wrote:We never bothered with half that stuff, whether flying or driving. Often even if you do need it someone local can lend it to you. Marketing has convinced parents they need all that stuff 24/7.
Of the stuff I listed, which 4 items would you not "bother with?"
Which of these items do you feel that "marketing has convinced parents they need?" Car seats? Food?

- Luggage
- 2 car seats
- 2 strollers (or 1 large double stroller)
- Pack N Play
- Diaper Bag
- Food
- Milk
- Toys

You claim you didn't bother with half of this stuff. I assume your must-haves would be luggage, food, milk and a diaper bag.
So you would do without car seats, strollers, Pack N Play and toys?

Rodc
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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by Rodc » Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:31 pm

researcher wrote:
Rodc wrote:We never bothered with half that stuff, whether flying or driving. Often even if you do need it someone local can lend it to you. Marketing has convinced parents they need all that stuff 24/7.
Of the stuff I listed, which 4 items would you not "bother with?"
Which of these items do you feel that "marketing has convinced parents they need?" Car seats? Food?

- Luggage
- 2 car seats
- 2 strollers (or 1 large double stroller)
- Pack N Play
- Diaper Bag
- Food
- Milk
- Toys

You claim you didn't bother with half of this stuff. I assume your must-haves would be luggage, food, milk and a diaper bag.
So you would do without car seats, strollers, Pack N Play and toys?
Maybe some hyperbole. :)

FWIW: we had twins so I get traveling with small kids.

Maybe I should say half the volume.

Skip the pack and play and you have cut out a huge amount of volume and hassle right there. We never even owned a pack and play. Might one have some use? Sure. Needed? Not likely, but maybe you do.

Strollers often stayed home, certainly the big ones. If we did take strollers we would take the little umbrella strollers.

Car seats simply stay in the car - not really something you "take" as extra, if driving. Flying sometimes took or got from rental car company. Once picked up cheap boosters from Target and donated them at end of the trip. You do want those and agree they are a pain to haul around the airport and we sometimes did. Glad when that was over.

Food. milk, diapers, some toys just went in one small day pack if flying. Did take a small cooler if driving.

I watch what so many families haul around, entire mini-vans full of stuff for one or two kids, loaded to the roof. You would think they were moving in somewhere to stay. :)
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by jjface » Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:37 pm

saladdin wrote:
jjface wrote:
saladdin wrote:
jjface wrote:
best advice, if the kids are sleeping drive like the wind. I don't care what stop you had planned or if an adult needs to go to the bathroom, you keep driving ... fast
Sounds like yet another accident waiting to happen. You drive as carefully as you normally would at the normal speed realizing you have precious cargo on board and others driving around you do too. Postponing stops is fine as long as the women in the car are saying it is okay :)
I'd like to read one thread about a family without the silliness of "men dumb" and "women rule the household so just say 'Yes dear' to everything she says" . Jeez, it's 2016 and this isn't a bad CBS sitcom.
Women 's bodies are different and tend to need the bathroom more frequently. It was about being respectful.
If women's are different then that means men's are different. Respect goes both ways.
Sure but we are talking about bladders here and woman going to the bathroom more often. Aren't we? It doesn't work like well John since you don't need to go and I do I'll just wait in pain ...

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by MathWizard » Mon Aug 22, 2016 5:35 pm

LiterallyIronic wrote:Reading this thread is a real eye-opener. If it were just me (and possibly other adults) making this trip, I'd do it all in one day. At 70mph, that's 14 hours. Stop twice for gas and bathroom no more than 10 minutes each stop. A long day, sure, but definitely doable. Do kids really need to stop every two hours?
As someone who regularly undertook 400+ miles trips (one-way) in all kinds of weather:

Yes, 2 hours is really about as much as you can expect with young children if they aren't sleeping.

I've done some 1000+ mile trips, but the kids were older, and I brought movies/dvd player along.
Four hours was about the max even then, especially if mom/dad are drinking coffee.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by randomguy » Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:30 pm

LiterallyIronic wrote:Reading this thread is a real eye-opener. If it were just me (and possibly other adults) making this trip, I'd do it all in one day. At 70mph, that's 14 hours. Stop twice for gas and bathroom no more than 10 minutes each stop. A long day, sure, but definitely doable. Do kids really need to stop every two hours?
I think averaging 70 mph between DC and Miami would require driving a lot more miles north of 90+MPH than I would feel comfortable with:) I know people that have done 1000 mile days. The thing they all have in common is that they are empty roads (think Texas/Montana) miles with 75+mph limits and no traffic not costal corridors with sub 65 mph speed limits and traffic slow downs at a dozen minor cities along the way. Averaging 70mph is pretty darn hard when you hit any type of slowdown if you are only willing to max out at about 10 above the limit. 10 min stops are also very hard (seriously start the clock sometime when you hit the exit and time how long it takes to get back up to highway speed. Those mins spend parking the car, walking to the stop, and so on add up). YMMV.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by unknuckle » Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:04 am

I only have one tip from the time we used to drive 450 miles to the in-laws with small children.

Check to see if there are toll roads and if there are get an EZ-Pass or whatever the equivalent is. Our kids would always fall asleep 15 minutes prior to being woke up as we stopped at a toll booth. Never failed that the semi beside us would start accelerating just as we rolled down the window to hand out the cash.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by expat » Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:07 am

Yes, you are crazy.

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Re: Tips for a 1000 miles car trip with toddler and baby

Post by oxothuk » Tue Aug 23, 2016 12:00 pm

hcj wrote:My only tip is to drive at night as much as possible while kids are asleep.

how many hours is 1000 miles? Two 8-hour days? You can do it. Run them ragged then drive from 4pm to midnight, hopefully they fall asleep by 6pm and you have six hours of blissful silence and no traffic.
It's been 30 years now, but back in the day we used to drive for Christmas from Washington DC to my parents in Atlanta (about 650 miles). Speed limits back then were 55mph, so the trip took 12 hours. We would leave after work and drive straight through, switching drivers every 1-2 hours. With the kids asleep we didn't have to make many stops. Once we arrived the grandparents were only too happy to take the kids while my wife and I recovered from the journey.

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