The wheels on the van go round and round, round and round, round and round and round and round and round and round again!
This is our 3rd year on the road travelling in our beloved camper van ‘campy'. Each year brings us new adventures, challenges and awesome experiences, this year we have our baby bears on the road with us; Benjamin aged 23 months and Annabelle aged 10 weeks and we are so excited about adventuring with them and experiencing the wonders of our amazing world through their eyes. However, space is limited and we now have 2 babies to entertain so this year will certainly bring its fair share of new challenges! It's all totally doable I think the trick is to be organised, stay calm and just have fun! I learnt a bit last year about how to make journeys with toddlers less stressful and more fun.
So here are my top tips for travelling with a toddler:
1. Invest in a cordless hoover
A cordless hoover is my absolute must when road tripping, I don't just take it when we go away for a few days I take it on day trips too then when food gets dropped its so easy to just hoover it up before it gets trampled into the floor or car seat. This is the Hoover that I use. When fully charged it lasts about 10 mins so on long trips I have to give myself a one minute a day hoover limit (and yes I do have a song about my minute limit) which allows me a quick whizz and saves some for emergency hoovering.
2. Travel aquadoodle
This is a great toy for travelling with, click here to see it but you can buy it cheaper in Argos. it has a water pen so you can draw on the board then it fades and you can reuse it. As well as scribbling on it we use ours to practice counting, learning the alphabet and telling the time. You can draw on it without worrying about anything else getting drawn on and reuse it as much as you want.
3. Use a lunch box to keep figures in
We use a zip lunch box to keep ‘peoples' (what Benjamin calls his little people figures), animals and character figures in. Benjamin loves having his own little bag to carry them in and he can play with them in the box in his car seat without them getting lost in a bigger box or falling everywhere.
4. Have plenty of snacks
A road trip is not a road trip without a snack bag and they are a great distraction when your toddler is becoming restless. Here's my list of must have snacks
Home made trail mix
Homemade veg crisps
Eating healthily is just one way to have more energy which will redoubtably help you survive long journeys with a toddler, for more ways to get more energy click here
5. Use learning flip books and flash cards
On the road is a great time for one on one learning. We have flip books and flash cards for colours, shapes, numbers, letters and telling the time. I picked them up in Aldi for a couple of pounds and I've seen them in home bargains too. Benjamin loves going to ‘van school' or ‘car school' and we learn loads during our trips.
6. Read flappy books
Story books with flaps like spot the dog are fun and more interactive than a standard story so your toddler can enjoy playing peekaboo on every page. Some of our favourites are
Mungo Monkey to the Rescue
7. Sticker books
Sticker books are my number one pacifier for Benjamin, I have a bit of an obsession with buying them and must have at least 10 in my present cupboard! You can buy them from as little as 59p in shops like home bargains, we have a Postman Pat one that he has had for months and still plays with. I also have a couple more expensive ones for special occasions. Benjamin loves this Peppa Pig one and it's great for road trips as we can create the scenes together and talk about what's happening in the pictures.
8. Travel table
A travel table is great for stopping things falling off your toddlers knee, they can eat on it, colour on it, do sticker books on it and play with figures on it, it just straps round the on the seat and works like a table on an aeroplane, ours has a cup holder which you could put drinks or snacks in but Benjamin uses it as a pool/well/hole for his figures to jump in! We got this one and can highly recommend it.
9. Kindle with programmes downloaded
If we're on a particularly long journey or if Benjamin is a bit tired or restless I pull out his kindle fire with downloaded series of his favorite shows on. I tend to save it for when I really need to use it so that the novelty doesn't wear off.
10. Nursery rhymes
Singing songs are always a great way to pass the time, especially songs with actions like Incy Wincy Spider and Wind the Bobbin, but you can get a bit sick of singing on long journeys, a nursery rhyme cd is essential to save your voice and ears and sanity! We have this one. Your toddler will love having a sing along to it and you can zone out for a bit to the soothing sounds of the wheels on the bus!
Do long journeys during nap times or at night.
In theory I think this is a great idea, however the first time we trialled it we had tea, got the babies into their pyjamas then set off on a 3 hour journey home, we arrived home at 9.30pm and neither of them had slept! I think they were too excited by being out at night time but hopefully the more we do it the more used to it will become and it will work, allowing us to make the weekends last longer and for me to do some work on the way home.
Having energy will make trips much more bearable, you can find more ways to get more energy in my book:- Rocket Fuel for Busy Mums: 9 Natural Ways to Boost your Energy.
Don't be scared to travel with your children, it can be a bit of a daunting thought especially if you're travelling long distances but as long as you're prepared with lots of different activities and snacks it will be great fun.
Do you have any top tips for travelling with toddlers?
Leave us a comment, we'd love to hear from you.
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