Ever dared to embark on a road trip with kids? I wouldn’t have dared to until I was really pushed to a corner to do so. However, on hindsight I now realize how easy and comfortable it could have been with a little planning the first time around.
Let me give you the list and then get to the incident which inspired me to road trip with kids, and in this case my daughter.
So what should you do if you have to go on a road trip with kids? How can you make it a comfortable trip for not just you but everyone? Let’s see below.
10 tips for going on a road trip with kids
1. Invest in a good baby car seat
Thumb rule – any baby seat costing less than Rs. 5000 (Around $80) is a waste.
- Make sure your baby seat is at least ECE R44 04 (European Standard for Child Safety Equipment) or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) certified. These certifications are Europe and US based respectively and ensure that strict safety standards are met.
- Make sure that the baby seat is rear-facing for baby upto 1 year or 13 kgs and forward facing from 9 to 18 kgs. If you don’t want to get two separate seats, make sure you get a combination seat like the one I got.
- Do not install the baby seat on the front co-driver seats; always install it in the middle row, preferably behind the co-driver seat.
- Make sure that the baby seat has 5-point harness belts securing the baby firmly in the seat.
- For kids and toddlers, get a booster seat.
- A good baby seat would ensure that your baby sleeps blissfully through the journey. To make your journey peaceful, invest in a good baby car seat.
2. Keep a changing mat
Keep a changing mat, as many diapers as possible, baby wipes, baby food, oats, fruits like banana etc., depending on the age of the baby. Also carry ample drinking water, a tumbler and a spoon.
3. Avoid all foods that are sticky, messy or crumbly.
Make sure juice cartons are small and finish in one serving or bring spill-proof seal-able cups. Better yet, prepare fresh juice at home and carry it in your own bottles. This is a great way to travel sustainably.
4. Keep disposable bags
Keep at least 5 disposable bags for each day of the trip. Use it for soiled clothing, storing waste food and trash during the journey. With food waste, you can bury the compost somewhere en route as it will only contribute to the environment.
5. For nursing mothers
If you’re nursing, make sure to wear something that is loose and bring a light shawl to cover yourselves while feeding. Be comfortable during the feed and try to shift to the backseat when doing so.
6. Don’t be stingy with stops
Stop as many times as you like. The idea of going on a road trip is to enjoy your surroundings, so go ahead and let your kid get used to it!
7. Drive gracefully and gently to avoid shocks and bumps.
When you’re going on a road trip with kids, you need to maintain a comfortable speed limit. Avoid racing, jerking all of a sudden and maintain stability to avoid motion sickness or any other dangers.
8. Involve them in the planning
Kids love team work, and making them part of the team would go a long way in keeping them engaged. Also, you will have lesser of the “Are we there yet?” questions too!
If you keep a note of the above, all road trips could turn into memorable trips. Find out about how Deepak and Vineet enjoyed their early days road tripping with family!
9. Point out interesting attractions you see along the way
10. Look for child friendly places to stay overnight
Spending an extra buck or two never hurt anyone especially when you are on a road trip with kids or toddlers. Their comfort would go a long way in you enjoying the drive. After all, who likes a stressful road trip? If you’re traveling in India, look out for kid-friendly destinations.
The road trip which started it all
It happened exactly about 2 months after my little daughter – Anvita was born. We were supposed to catch a flight back home, which I missed owing to my own miscalculation (read silly mistake) . The subsequent flights were too costly on the verge of being prohibitive and the seats too weren’t available to accommodate all of us. The luggage was already packed and so a decision was made to hit the road with my trusted beast – the Scorpio.
We packed additional luggage suitable for a road trip and started at 0600 in the morning on 16th November 2012. We made stops every 4 hours for the usual (lunch, dinner, diesel, tea, etc) but got stuck in a diversion at Firozabad where we wasted precious 40 minutes of ours. I made the mistake of listening to locals instead of trusting my gut and it resulted in driving on some bad roads. But we still managed to reach our Patna home at 23:20! Google mentioned that the route I took was 1,093 kms and my car’s trip meter said 1082.0 kms. That I’d say is very precise for such a long distance.
And Anvita? Thankfully, she had been sleeping all the way, gracefully and without causing any inconvenience! 🙂
Road trip with kids checklist
- Invest in a good baby seat
- Keep a changing mat
- Avoid all foods that are sticky, messy or crumby.
- Keep disposable bags
- For nursing mothers
- Don’t be stingy with stops
- Drive gracefully and gently to avoid shocks and bumps.
- Involve them in the planning
- Point out interesting attractions you see along the way
- Look for child friendly places to stay overnight