Reply Hey Mom! Learn more about the Gerber Life Insurance Grow-Up Plan!
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-12-2012, 09:04 PM   #1
Registered Users
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,932
LONG road trip with 2 yr old -- terrible idea?

We're moving to Alaska next summer (DH is Army). If we do some serious driving, the trip will take 5-ish days. DD will be 26ish months. We were stationed there a few years ago and made the drive in winter. It was just me and DH then, and we had an awesome time and really want to make the drive again because this time we'll be traveling in the summer and it will be totally different.

Currently DD is an average traveler, but obviously I don't know what her personality/car seat behavior will be like a year from now. So just generally speaking, is this even doable? Or would the average toddler be a total basket case by day 2? We're thinking about maybe splitting it up--drive 2-3 days, stop and "vacation" somewhere for 3-4 days, and then finish the drive. Or would it be easier on her just to drive 5 days straight and get it over with? Or is the whole idea crazy?

Just wondering if this is something I can realistically look forward to, or if I need to just accept that it's not gonna happen and we'll need to fly.


Teexie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2012, 09:16 PM   #2
luvsviola's Avatar
Registered Users
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Central Indiana
Posts: 17,103
My Mood:
Re: LONG road trip with 2 yr old -- terrible idea?

I am of the impression that kids need to suck it up, and the earlier you start the better. We are taking our 5, 3, and 1 year olds from Indiana to Miami for fall break, and driving. We've done Minnesota, and Florida before. So...

Buy a car DVD player. It will save your sanity.

Color Wonder rocks

Stickers kill time, even if they are messy.

Magnets on a cookie sheet are fun.

My kids love Magna Doodle.

We don't stop too much. If kids are used to stopping, they expect it and whine for it all the time. We stop for meals tbut that is it. I try to find McDonalds with playgrounds when I can.

We try to travel at night while they are sleeping as much as possible.

Bring LOTS of sippy cups. You can never find a clean one when you need one!
Middle school teacher by day, super mom by night
Mommy to The Boss~2007, The Energizer Bunny~2009, and The Princess~2011
My kids are no longer in diapers, but somehow, my computer keeps finding its way back here...
luvsviola is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2012, 09:17 PM   #3
EmilytheStrange's Avatar
Registered Users
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Misawa, Japan
Posts: 7,427
My Mood:
Is it doable? Yes

We moved across the country and I had to spend most of the time next to DD playing games, singing, etc. she is not a good traveler, but she survived.

If you can, I'd not do serious driving and I'd take some breaks. We usually tried with getting on the road around naptime. Sleeping in hotels and when we did it a second time, we stopped a couple days in the middle to take a break.

If you must do it quickly and you have the means, flying might be easier. But I think it's certainly doable.
SAHM to Magnolia May (09/10), Luke Russett (04/13) and expecting 11/16. Wife and best friend to my airman.
EmilytheStrange is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2012, 09:19 PM   #4
safghf's Avatar
Registered Users
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 442
Re: LONG road trip with 2 yr old -- terrible idea?

We are also ARMY, and our drive for our last PCS was 31 hours. We made our longest driving day 7 hours (it's hard for me to drive much more than that, and we did a DITY, so hubby was driving the moving truck). Most of the time we could get 2 - 2.5 hour stretches out of our then 20 month old daughter. We always got on the road early, so that we could be stopped by mid afternoon, AKA, witching hour for most little kids.

I think if you drove for 2 - 2 1/2 days, stopped for 2 days, maybe drove another day, then stopped for another carseat free day, you will be able to make the rest of the trip pretty peacefully.

Start stocking up on new toys, a DVD player, music CDs, books, etc. That way, everything you give her in the car will be new and exciting.

It's definitely realistic. Just plan well, and be prepared for her to have good stretches and tough ones. We drive long distances frequently. Some trips are easier than others, but I always go into it with the understanding that I might have to stop every 30 minutes, or I might get lucky and get to go 3 hours!

I think it would be tons of fun and an awesome experience. Good luck with the decision!
safghf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2012, 09:35 PM   #5
Registered Users
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,322
Re: LONG road trip with 2 yr old -- terrible idea?

Completely doable. It won't all be fun and games, but you can break it up and you'll all survive. I also agree that the sooner kids learn that you aren't going to stop every 5 minutes, the better. However, pack lots of activities, drive like the wind while she's sleeping, and make sure to find places where she can run around when you stop. PP gave lots of great ideas.

When we take long trips, I give each child a bin take in the car. They can put whatever they like in it (for the littles, I pack their bin, because obviously, they can't see past their current favorite toy). They usually empty their bin all over the seat, but it buys us a chunk of good driving time while they are doing that. Also, we bring an iPod, iPad, DS, etc., and rotate those through the kids for a few hours. Snacks can buy you some more time. We try to stop early enough in the evening so that we can swim in the hotel pool, and order pizza in our room. We find that playing in the water for awhile helps let the kiddos unwind and burn off energy, and eating in the room means that no one has to sit at the restaurant table in a mannerly fashion after sitting in the car all day.

Good luck! I hope that your move is easy and uncomplicated.
dressagemom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2012, 09:41 PM   #6
7 for now
Registered Users
Join Date: May 2010
Location: SE Idaho
Posts: 2,161
We moved cross country in April about 2000 miles. We had 2 cars, 7 kids ages 16, 11, 9, 6, 5, 2 and 8 months old, we also had 2 cats and 2 dogs with us. We made a goal of 500 miles a day and that was very doable. We stopped at rest stops for them to run and let the dogs out.

We started drivin early so we would be done by bed time. I did not want the sleeping in the car at bedtime and not sleeping in the hotel. We have a DVD system in our van with wireless headphones and I got a few new movies. We kept snacks and water bottles in the cars. It was a long 4 days but the kids did so well. I would have never hought the baby would do so good as he hates the caraway but he cried maybe 10 minutes the whole way!
7 for now is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2012, 10:19 PM   #7
Registered Users
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 15,255
Re: LONG road trip with 2 yr old -- terrible idea?

When we moved from Michigan to Alaska, we had a 2 yr old. He did just fine. When we moved from alaska to Nevada we had a 2 yr old. She also did just fine. Both times we made sure to stop for a few minutes every couppe of hours, we took a couple longer breaks (spent a few hours looking at Mt Rush ore). On the way there we took the ferry from Washington, which was nice -- lots of room to move around (we did a partial dity up there) and on the way out we stopped in Edmonton for a couple of days (did a full dity on the way out).
tallanvor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2012, 08:14 AM   #8
dancermommy1's Avatar
Registered Users
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,167
Re: LONG road trip with 2 yr old -- terrible idea?

It just depends on the child. The most we've done is 12 hours, stopping every 3 hours, and I was still not really "happy" about it. DS did okay, but we had his nana with us playing with him the entire time (I get carsick in the backseat). He did fine when he was awake, but he did NOT sleep well when we tried to drive overnight. I am not in a hurry to repeat the experience.

That said... If you decide to do it, I wouldn't try to do super long stretches. IMO, it would be more enjoyable to pick out destinations that occur every 3 or so hours, and take an hour break at each of those. Preferably somewhere fun where your DD can work out some energy. I also suggest stopping at night, because everyone needs a break from a car.

How long do you have to make the drive? Where are you moving FROM (which state)?

If it were me, and I were moving from my state, Tennessee, to Alaska, here's what I would do... I'd travel from Knoxville to Lexington, KY and stop there at a park. I'd go from there to Indianapolis and stop there for a break. I'd drive to Chicago and stay overnight (total for the day, about 9 hours plus breaks). The next morning I'd take a detour to Milwaukee and tool around on the lake for a couple hours, then I'd drive to Minneapolis/st paul and spend the night/tool around for a while there. I'd then head to Fargo, ND, and try to find something interesting there to do for a few hours. At that point I'd prepare for a pretty long jaunt to Regina, Canada. I'd spend the night there, get up and drive to Edmonton. Edmonton's pretty cool, so I'd stay there a couple days, maybe taking a side trip to Banff National Park, which is really amazing. At that point, you're starting to get into amazing scenery and national parks, and while your DD won't appreciate that necessarily, it should offer some opportunities to stop and explore every few hours on a hiking trail or a small town.

Anyway, you get the drift. Just plan for something to do every few hours, and make the drive the POINT of the trip, not the PAIN of the trip.
Bellydancing, Jesus-loving, cloth-diapering ecologist and Mommy to Michael Christopher, born July 8, 2010!!

Please Visit my ETSY store benefiting women and children in poverty!

YOU can make a difference in developing countries, one precious child at a time!

Last edited by dancermommy1; 07-13-2012 at 08:15 AM.
dancermommy1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2012, 09:54 AM   #9
alsatia23's Avatar
Registered Users
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 1,707
My Mood:
Re: LONG road trip with 2 yr old -- terrible idea?

We drove from California to Arkansas when my son was 22 months old and I was 7 months pregnant. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but it wasn't my favorite time ever either We made sure to have a DVD player to keep him entertained and then books/toys/snacks. We stopped every two hours to get out of the car and walk inside a store, eat, play outside, whatever for at least 30 minutes. It took us a good three and a half days to drive like that, but we made it. My pediatrician had told me that a toddler should not be subjected to being in his car seat for more than 5 hours a day. While I appreciated that, there was no way we could do that, it would have taken us a week to get to Arkansas driving at just 5 hours a day. I think we were on the road for about 10-12 hours a day including stops? It's hard to remember, I blocked it out, LOL

ETA we were on a time crunch, DH had to get back to work by that Monday, so we didn't have the luxury of taking our time and driving slow/site-seeing. If you've got the time, do it slowly!!
K, wife to R, semi-crunchy mommy to DS (6), DD (4), DS (2.5), and DD (6w)!

Last edited by alsatia23; 07-13-2012 at 09:57 AM.
alsatia23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2012, 09:55 AM   #10
Registered Users
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,932
Re: LONG road trip with 2 yr old -- terrible idea?

Thank you for all the suggestions! Everyone's given me hope
Luckily we have a ton of time to make the trip. We could take a month if we wanted to. For my own personal sanity I want to make it as quickly as possible...hopefully not much longer than a week. I'm really looking forward to the drive, but I know how quickly I get sick of being in the car so I'm trying to be realistic!

We definitely want to stop at night. We have tried driving through the night before when visiting family (14 hrs), and while DD did awesome, DH and I were so exhausted.

@dancermommy we are in GA currently but will probably visit family in MI before we leave. We saw a lot of Canada during our last trip, and this time we'd like to drive through the US and go north through WA, since there are a lot of states we haven't seen that way. I really like the idea of planning out the trip so we know our stops in advance. Having a huge dog makes that even more necessary, since we need to make sure the hotel will allow pets.

She'll probably surprise us and do better than I'm expecting. I take comfort in the fact that if it turns out to be a huge disaster, DD and I can just hop on a plane at the nearest airport and DH can finish the drive with the dog
Teexie is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Copyright 2005 - 2018 VIX-WomensForum LLC. All Rights Reserved.