Our Thanksgiving Travel Mission

Thanksgiving bug 1I know this tends to be a reoccurring theme in my posts but it is because it is the one thing my mom friends ask me about more than anything else. How do you travel with a little one?? What do you do to make it manageable? What are your tricks? If you have read any of my previous travel posts you will know that one thing we do well is travel with our little girl. If you are brand new or checking us out for the first time please check out my series on traveling with an infant, my tricks and experiencing traveling with a toddler.

Buggy is now 18 months old and has already been to 5 states. Air travel is something we definitely have down pat, 100%. With having family all over this great country we are traveling for the holidays. It is on the schedule that we will be heading to my fathers house, in North Carolina, for Thanksgiving this year. This time we will be driving. The longest drive Buggy has taken was 5 hours, so this is a whole new ball game. It means not only a 13-hour car ride but also travel congestion. We are doing this because we are bringing our dog with us and also do not want to pay for a flight. We have debated on breaking up the drive into two days but that means more time off of work for my husband and myself. It also adds expense of a hotel for the night.

thanksgiving bug 2We feel that our best option is to do it all in one day and if it turns into a 15 hour drive with breaks then so be it. I have been doing a bunch of research and trying to figure out what works best for us. Here are some of the tactics I plan on employing on our Thanksgiving mission…

The timing of when we leave is everything! I want to leave at around 9pm and drive through the night. This way Buggy will be sleeping through a big chunk of the drive. I feel that is only fair to her. I have absolutely no problem staying awake, especially if I get a nap in the day before. So that’s my plan. My husband wants to leave at 4am. He wakes up early and if he goes to bed early the night before he thinks he would be able to drive longer. I am not a huge fan of this plan as we lose sleeping time for Buggy but we might split the difference. It really depends on what works best for you.

When Buggy’s awake we sit with her. Now we cannot do this the entire ride because we would get sick but for at least a little while having one of us back there with her is a HUGE treat. She LOVES it when an adult is back there with her and if it is mommy or daddy forget it, her excitement goes through the roof. So as long as we can manage not to get sick ourselves that is going to help with some of the hours.

We are going to take breaks! Every couple of hours we have to get out of the car. We both need to stretch, Buggy needs to stretch and our dog needs to stretch. So we have planned spots along the route where we will stop for food, run around and stretch.

Thanksgiving bug 3I am going to make sure that iPad is charged and the toys are rationed. My daughter is not a big TV girl. She is too little for that. She will watch for 10 minutes here or there but not big chunks of time. So I am hoping we will be able to get use out of one or two movies while we are going. It might break up the monotony for her a bit. Then we have a big bag of toys we are going to bring. All things she can play with while seated in her car seat. Most of these toys are old and she will know them but some of them are new and hopefully will keep her attention for a while. I am also going to make those busy bags and hope that helps as well.

Those are my strategies for keeping her occupied in the car. It is a long 13 hours, my husband and I have done it several times, and we are always wrecked by the time we arrive. We will see how we survive this trip.

I will let you know how it goes but before we take off on this fabulous adventure, does anyone have tips on what they do with toddlers in the car?? What are some things to watch out for and what has worked best for you??


The Perfectionist Mom

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  • cosmosmariners

    We travel a lot with our little one, and I still struggle with how best to keep her entertained while we’re on the road. She’s going through that stage where she’ll love something one minute and hate it the next, so what works one hour doesn’t the next. Timing the naps and having someone sit next to the little one seems to be good! 🙂

    • The Perfectionist Mom

      It’s so tough! My daughter is the exact same way. Right now she is really into reading and books. I am silently praying that she still loves them in November because that is something we could do easily! Her tastes change day to day as well.

  • Tammy

    Great article. When my son was 30 years younger LOL Fisher Price had a crank type record player that went with books. What a life saver. There were no DVD players or gadgets back then and had to use old fashioned coloring books, kids books and singing. That record player was the best thing we always brought with us though.

    • The Perfectionist Mom

      When I was little we traveled by car a LOT! We used to have lap trays that we could put coloring books and various things on. They were tin with legs. My mom always had crayons and quite bingo games. I still remember once when we were driving from Wisconsin to Florida all of the crayons melted and I was SO SAD! Funny the things you remember.

  • Nicole Keener

    Oh traveling with a little one, we drove from Central Florida to central Texas with a 4 month old and 2 dogs! It took us almost 3 days and we definitely didn’t have a plan. Nowadays I have a full blown plan ha ha

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