Over the past (almost) three years we’ve done a fair amount of travel with kids, one then two babies. Neither of our families live within an easy reach of us in Cork – one set in Sligo and the other set in Somerset. So over the years I guess we’ve devised a few tricks on how to make the journeys all the more enjoyable.
Be Organized – simple right but by being organised I don’t mean having all the right bits and pieces you need I mean knowing where they are. There is literally nothing more frustrating than being on a plane or in a car and not having easy access to wipes, soothers, books, snacks. The way I’ve come about being organised is having separate bags/holders for all the different accouterments required. This way I know the small pink drawstring bag has bibs and muslin cloths or the flowery bag has small toys and teethers. And we’re all calm!
Snacks – I don’t know if it’s just my two but they sure do love their food. The idea for this tip comes from the genii at Aer Lingus – they have a snack box available on their flights but it’s the general concept that’s brilliant. It contains snacks that basically take a young child ages to eat – yoghurt covered raisins and bread sticks with a cheese dip, chocolate buttons. You could easily do your own version of this (probably with healthier alternatives too!).
Timing – this one really depends on the time of the year. During the winter months it’s not really possible to factor in a stop at a forest or park half way through a trip. Therefore during the winter we tend to start our drive home from Sligo at about 7pm in the evening thus ensuring that both kids sleep for most of the drive. We have started to get the ferry at night also, again, mainly so the kids sleep. Otherwise they get bored and frustrated and there are only so many times one can listen to the songs from Frozen.
Make it fun – this again somewhat depends on the time of year. During the nicer months we tend to try and stop on the route from Sligo to Cork about half way. Stopping in a Park, Coole Park for us, is lovely and a great chance to stretch the legs or the Inn at Dromoland has a play area at the back of the hotel that is great to let a toddler blow off a little steam.
Keep them occupied – once the snacks in recommendation No.2 are done what next?! It’s important to have a few different options to keep a toddler entertained but without having to drag half your playroom with you. I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I have made a crayon roll that is brilliant for throwing in the changing bag and easy to get at the first sign of restlessness. We also bring a couple of books and if all else fails we pull out the big guns – Peppa Pig on Youtube…has to be done!