It’s sometimes bad enough going down the road with a baby in the car, so how would you fancy a nice long 15 hour drive with one? No? Thought you might say that.
Let me tell you, it’s easier than you think. After recently getting back from the annual skiing holiday, I can honestly say I was relieved that the car journey was over, because I was the one who was most uncomfortable. With a sleepy eyed partner for a passenger, and a sleeping baby in the back, I think I was the only one bothered about getting home quickly; those two couldn’t have been more.. asleep.
We didn’t really have a choice when it came to our choice of travelling. It was either “pay £600+ per person for a 1 hour 10 minute flight” or ”get in the car and drive it” – bloody half term prices.
The best thing you can do is try and stick with your baby’s routine. We left quite late in the afternoon so that we’d only have to stop for one last bottle before “bed time”; that way we hoped he might sleep for the biggest part of the journey, which he did after only waking up a couple of times. Luckily, with only an hour difference in France, it was easy to get him on French time, then back to English time.
Keep a stock of bottles to hand. We prepped all of ours in advance as we normally would and just dispensed the formula into the water as and when he was normally due a feed. Keep a handful of dummies in the front with you. You don’t want to be unplugging your seatbelt for half of the journey to go on a hunt for a dummy in baby Narnia (aka – the carseat). I mean, how many places can one dummy go?
Make sure your baby is comfortable. Don’t smother them with blankets, because your car will get warm quickly. We dressed Toby in a vest and baby grow for the journey, I certainly wouldn’t bother with cute chinos and a top. But if like us, you’re going somewhere cold, make sure you keep a coat (or something equally as warm) unpacked in the car with a hat so, when you eventually get out, they’re not freezing! We also put the wedge back in our car seat so that Toby was in a more horizontal position, rather than being crunched in two, which genuinely helped massively when it was time for sleeping!
Get a rear seat mirror and kill two birds with one stone. Babies are fascinated with faces, and what better way to keep them entertained than looking at their own. Secondly, it offers you the chance to keep an eye on your baby while you’re driving. Just attach it to the headrest in the back where their car seat is and adjust your rear view.
You don’t need to take a million and one toys like other websites say you do. We attached some flexi rings to the car seat, a colourful crinkly book, Sophie the giraffe and his taggy blanket. We did however, pack some other toys for when we were in the apartment for him to play with, as well as his Jumperoo.
A change of scenery does wonders for your baby as well as you. A long drive can be boring, and after looking at tarmac for 15 hours, you just need to look at something else. We made a few stops on the way there at some service stations. A stretch of the legs and hot chocolate for you, and a bum change, bottle and stretch for your baby.
I’m pretty sure if we do it again next year, it won’t be so easy with an almost 18 month old!
What are your best tips for a long car journey?