1. Know what route you are taking. Travelling with a baby and a toddler means that there isn’t room for massive detours. This means, rerouting to go look for something, but not knowing where you are going – is just a BAD IDEA…I speak from experience, but that is for another story.
2. Look up stops ahead of time. When we traveled from Ottawa to Toronto with our then, 5 month old. All of the stops along the 401 were under constructions. So, when our son blew a diaper and needed to be fed, we had to turn off and sit in the driveway of a farm. Not very impressive, worked, but was extremely uncomfortable!
3. Make sure you bring a ball or activity you can do outside, or in the middle of winter, inside the rest stop. The U.S is better set up with great picnic areas and green spaces. Unfortunately, Canada had poor planning and only have massive stops with fast food. Not all are created equal, so google the route and see what others have said. There are two stops that I will post about to avoid like the plague from Ottawa to Toronto.
4. We took a lot of road trips from Vancouver into the interior. There is about a 3 hour stretch with absolutely nowhere to stop, not even a turnoff. Make sure you plan to stop at the last place, play, eat, go to the bathroom, and fill up your car because you won’t be able to go for 3 hours. This is a good time to also say, give your children graval if it becomes too much for them, we had the unfortunate thing of having a very sick 1-year-old and could not stop for an hour – yup, it sucks.
5. One thing we have learned, always make sure you can change your child in the backseat, or if you have a hatchback, in the back. Why, well, we have discovered that most of the bathrooms along Canadian highways have broken change tables!
6. Bring lots of snacks that are not choking hazards. This means, something that can be washed down, and easily dissolved with juice or water.
7. Road trips can be really fun. Don’t drive longer than 2-3 hours at a time, and stop for a significant break. My son’s seat is very comfortable, but remember that their legs fall asleep, because of where the seat hits them in the back of their legs.
8. Always book a hotel with a pool. You think I am crazy, but my parents decided to drive with me from Mexico City, to Ottawa Canada in the 80’s. I was very young, and very bored. I took a page out of my parents keen planning skills and have always booked a hotel with a pool. The first thing to do when getting to a hotel, take toddler or child straight to pool, while leaving the driver to take a snooze in the room.
9. Toys and electronic gear. Thank goodness for IPad’s and DVD players. We are not big t.v watchers, but in the car, we get a 2 hour block of very content child!
10. Break up car trips. One day driving, the next is all about walking around, parks, sight-seeing etc. If you exhaust your child out in between the car travelling, it makes for a nicer and happier trip.
Happy road travels!
Travel Lady with Baby