Traveling with toddlers & babies by yourself

Thursday, April 7, 2016
Next week I am going to South Carolina to visit family for several days and its just going to be me & the kids. I've traveled by myself with them only 5 or 6 times to SC (only 4 hours away) so I am NO pro, but after a few DISASTER trips I have learned a few tricks that have made the trip easier. First off, I will share the first disaster trip that made me want to never drive alone ANYWHERE again .. ha!
When Easton was 5 months old I decided last minute to travel to SC to visit family. The 4 hour drive down there was great! I didn't stop once and he was content. The trip BACK was not the same. I left at a different time and I didn't have a REAL plan. He was sleeping as soon as I got to the beginning of "going into the mountains" as I call it. It's just the mountains on 1-40 but its 30 minutes of no where to really pull over and very curvy roads with huge trucks next to me...basically my worst driving nightmare! Anyway, he woke up as soon as we "got into the mountains" and I just tried to push through it until we hit STAND STILL traffic. My car was literally stopped and at this point he was screaming. Non moving car and a crying baby don't really go together. I tried toys, bottle, singing, music, everything and nothing was working. He got to a point where he was crying so hard that he was throwing up (which he did a lot) so I literally called Jonathan crying and pulled him out of his rear facing car seat with one hand  as I was pulling onto the side of the teeny mountain and was crying, he was crying, vomit on him and vomit on me. We were a mess. I learned my lesson.
With all of that, I have some tips and tricks I've learned and want to share with some mommies that are traveling alone or even with their spouse!
1. ALWAYS plan on driving during 1 meal & 1 nap: I always leave around lunch time and let them eat chick fil a or whatever in their car seats and then they will "play"/talk until they fall asleep because by then it is around their naptime. This is HUGE! It always saves me by 2 or so hours. When they were "babies" I would nurse BEFORE leaving and just tried to push through as long as they would let me. (4 hour drive so its not like I was starving them ;)
2. Bring TONS of snacks: I bring snacks that I don't usually give them on a regular basis so that they are excited and interested more in what I gave them! Fun snacks like fruit snacks, cookies, crackers, etc. I like to bring a basket and put it in passengers seat and fill it with snacks, toys, treats, books etc. so that I can just reach over while driving and throw them what they need.
3. Bring random toys: Sometimes I have gone to the dollar tree and gotten random fun things or I just bring things that will keep them occupied. For my 1 year old, he likes bottle brushes and empty water bottles. lol. whatever keeps him occupied. * I also limit TV a week before traveling and take away their fun toys then too so that when we are traveling they enjoy those things more!*
4. Have a game plan: My 3 year old is potty trained so if I have to stop to change sawyers diaper and let Easton pee then I know I need to put 1 in stroller while I take the other to pee. If I think about all of the things that COULD happen it helps me be more prepared for when and if it does happen. * I put a pull up or diaper on my 3 year old and just tell him to tell me when he needs to go-that way if it is URGENT and we are in traffic, at least he pees in the diaper and not all over his car seat. *
5. DON'T panic: When they both start crying/fussing while I'm driving and can't stop I just have to tone them out and stay focused on driving because the last thing I want to do is crash! Make sure your phone is charged! It seems scary to some moms but if you think about it too much it makes it harder!
So basically I just feed my kids for 4 hours straight. haha jk. I leave my house, pick up a yummy breakfast or lunch, let them eat, they hang out for a little bit, fall asleep, then when they wake up I usually don't say much to them and just wait for one of them to fuss or ask for a snack and then its snack time. If I gave them all of their toys and treats at the beginning or all at once...I would be in trouble come hour 3 of driving. I space stuff out and if things get real cray...then stop for milkshakes, let them play with spray water bottles, bubbles, hairdryers, chocolate, they all work! ;)

P.S. My 3 year old loves his magna doodle & his water wow pad by Melissa and Doug. If you have toddlers, you should run and get one because they are amazing and don't make your whole car messy with paint or markers!

Hope this helps! :)

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