One of the best things about motherhood is witnessing and experiencing all the wonderful and meaningful milestones with your child.
I have always been so proud of my daughter but a few months back, something took my “proud mama feels” to another level. I took her out on her first real road trip.
Yeah you’re probably thinking, most kids have done this already and that a road trip is so common. Well, NO. It was NOT your typical one-hour road trip to Tagaytay or three-hour road trip to a beach in Batangas. It was NOT a five-hour road trip to Baguio… This two-year-old tot traveled ELEVEN HOURS to Albay, Bicol via land. Now THAT is what you call a real road trip.
Another achievement unlocked and I could not be happier with how it turned out!
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First thing’s first…
PACKING AND PREPARATION
We were going to stay in Bicol for 7 days and you know what that means. That means a giant suitcase with everything in it! That’s right, she had a suitcase all to herself which included the following:
- A dozen sets of clothes (both for warm and cold weather ‘cause in the Philippines, you never really know).
- Three sets of shoes and a pair of slippers
- Toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, baby wash, baby wipes, lotion
- Sleeping gear like blankets, pillows and new sets of beddings.
- First aid kit with some allergy medicine and Paracetamol just in case. Plus some Band Aids, alcohol, and mosquito repellents and patches.
- Her stroller
- A thermal bag with all her feeding paraphernalia, bottled water, milk, snacks, and other food items
We were headed to a province and not an international destination with five star hotel facilities so I had to make sure I had everything.
Did I miss anything? Let’s move on to the preps.
I left the car preparations with my dad. He was after all the expert and we brought his two-week-old Ford Everest so I felt confident and didn’t have to worry about car trouble. But just to be safe, have your car checked in a nearby gasoline station before heading to the Expressway. They should perform the basic checking of the oil, water, and tires.
We packed everything at the back and boy that big trunk was almost full! We installed the car seat properly and made sure it was securely fastened. The CAR SEAT IS A MUST. You simply cannot, for the love of God, travel eleven hours in long winding roads and highland terrains without it. I placed a car shade on kiddo’s side of the window and some pillows and blanket. I also placed her two small bags with us at the second row. The first bag was her bag of toys and books and the second bag was for her snacks and water.
Make sure to double and triple check everything because it really sucks when you leave something behind.
HERE IT GOES. I was really scared for her and scared for myself. Even I, as an adult hated taking this loooong drive. What more a two-year-old???
Thankfully, everything turned out fine. I thank the Lord for giving my daughter patience and a cheerful personality. She did not throw any tantrums and was behaved during the entire trip. I couldn’t be more proud.
It was definitely not the nightmare I expected and in fact it turned out to be one of the greatest experiences we’ve had.
So, here are some of the most important things I’ve learned during this trip and I am going to share them with you.
FIVE TIPS WHEN TRAVELING ON A ROAD TRIP:
- Timing Is Everything
Leave early. We tried our best to leave at 5AM but we ended up leaving at 7AM but that’s okay because she wakes up at 9AM. This will buy you time.
Then stick to her usual schedule and routine. If it’s time for eating, feed her. If it’s time to nap, great! Put her to sleep in the afternoon and that’s a couple of hours taken again!
- Comfort Is Key
Because of the grueling long hours, it is very important to keep your child comfortable. Make her wear her favorite comfy clothes; bring her favorite pillow and the softest blanket. Bring her favorite things to make her feel at home.
- Strategic Snacks and Toys
Snacks are really helpful not just for their hunger pangs but for keeping them busy. Make sure to pack their favorites but also consider those that there may be choking hazards especially since the vehicle is moving.
Avoid snacks like popcorn, large unpeeled grapes, hard candy, nuts and chocolates, etc. Avoid messy food too so it’s not tedious to tidy up after. Make sure you have some cool water near you as well!
Toys are of course very entertaining for them so bring along their favorite ones. Bring medium to large sized toys to avoid having a hard time picking them up when they get dropped.
Don’t give them all their toys at the same time. Give them a toy every hour or only when they’re bored and asking for one. That way, you have a lot of “reserve” and more variety.
- Music and Entertainment Rock
So I had one rule about gadgets – break in case of emergency! No games and no watching of YouTube videos. Aside from this being very harmful to the eyes, and a possible source of headache, I really want to avoid screen time as much as possible. Except for music! My daughter LOVES music and she could listen to anything she liked thanks to the car’s awesome Bluetooth syncing!
- Have Fun
The most important thing would involve YOU, mommy. Make the trip fun for the kids. Smile and have a happy disposition. Your mood will also affect theirs. Promote excitement about where you’re going, what you’ll see there, and what you’ll do. Enjoy the scenery and look at plants and trees, amazing mountains and rice fields, and of course the animals. Create memories more than itineraries.
Cheers to summer and more road trips together!
Your Summer-Lovin’ Mommy Blogger,