Quick tips for your upcoming road-trip

Kudos to all the parents taking a road trip with your tots this summer. We love parents that travel at TitterTot. We recently drove to Boston with Devam – our now 2 year old son. Devam is a particularly good travel buddy, we sang “Jingle Bells” – yes that is his favorite, I made up stories, we passed by a deer that got him terribly excited to see more animals along the way (which did not happen) and we stopped at a Dunkin Donuts as he was curious about donuts (thanks to all the billboards along the way). He surely didn’t like the donuts, did not want to have lunch, but was happy to just chow down his Goldfish and take an hour nap. Right about 45 minutes before we got to Boston my wonderful boy turned into a voracious, insatiable bazoo. Nemo (the movie) saved us and we made it to Boston in great spirits.

Tools to ensure a fun ride

It is such a challenge to take long road trips with kids, but here are some ideas that could make it fun for all and keep the fuss out:

1)    Keeping your tot entertained:

  • Take music that your tot enjoys, you can sing-along
  • Take books that your tot can read/flip & books that others can read to the tot
  • Take favorite toys. Travel accessories made by companies like Ben-Bat are great to keep your tot entertained.
  • Take media players like a DVD player (when patience runs extremely thin) or an iPad. You can find a case for the iPad that attaches to the back of the front passenger seat, so your tot can watch movies on it.
  • Pre-select good spots to stop at E.g.: Playgrounds with jungle gyms where you can take a break during your trip, farms, rest-stops etc.
  • In regards to snacks, take low calorie and high protein snacks that will not fill her/him up and keep her/him light and happy
  • Install a baby car mirror so you can keep an eye on your tot while driving. Safety 1st makes a good car mirror

2)    Keeping your tot comfortable: No matter what age they are, they need to be comfortable for a long ride. If your tot is still riding in his car-seat make sure that he is comfortable in terms of the seats recline position, make sure his harness is snug and loose and that he can look outside the window. If you are traveling during summer, cover the seat with a cotton sheet to make sure your tot is not hot. Keep the sun out – use a window shade. Keep it cool in the car. Make sure your tot has his favorite nap-time lovee with him to keep company, be it a blanket, Elmo or big bird.

3)    Nursing:  If you are still nursing, you will need to make frequent stops unless you have a substitute driver on the trip. If you do have a substitute driver you might be able to pump and feed. Getting your tot on a predictable nursing schedule will help you on your car trip.

4)    Eating out + Celiac disease: I will suggest carrying pre-packaged baby foods based on your tot’s eating stage and foods that usually suit her/him. It might be best to not take a chance with foods prepared in random restaurants along the way especially if your tot suffers from Celiac disease. You can also pre-select restaurants along the way that work best for everyones appetite, we don’t want upset stomachs (be it your tot or yourself) on a long car ride.

5)    Keeping it clean: Between kids, pets, friends and family traveling in your car, keeping it clean is a challenge. Carry spill free drinking and snack containers (snack traps are a great option). Make sure you are traveling with garbage bags and wipes. Take a break for meals to keep the crumbs and the smell out. And let your tots carry their own back-packs so all their toys can be stored in there. We will write a more detailed blog on this shortly.

I often travel to Boston, which is a 4-5 hour trip with my 2-year-old son, I take off around his bed-time (6:30PM) and am able to get to Boston while he is still napping. If you are going to be traveling for longer hours you should not drive late nights for your and your tot’s safety, but you could travel a part of the way while your tot is napping, take a break at a hotel along the way and travel the rest early in the morning. It always helps to avoid traveling during your tot’s lunch or dinner hours.

I hope that all you parents traveling with your tots you have a fabulous time and wishing you a safe journey.

Let us know if this was helpful, leave us a comment below.

Staying in a hotel, B&B or renting a house this summer? You must read this.

With spring setting in and as we get ready for summer, we all are (I hope all my fellow moms are) either traveling or getting ready to travel with our tots. You have packed all the necessities and gathered all your gear. You have made sure that you are carrying all the necessary medicines and prescriptions so your tot (and you) can combat any sickness on the trip. Despite of this, the last thing we want is us or our tot/s getting sick from viral infection that lasts more than a week. If you are planning to stay in a hotel, a B&B or renting a house this summer with your tot/s you must be aware of hidden germs in rooms. The 2006 ABC News video discusses how 90% of travelers are surprised by cleanliness in rooms .

As the video suggests we could take simple precautions by doing a quick housekeeping service of our own before you settle in your hotel room. Trust me this took me less than 10 minutes to do:

  • Carry antibacterial wipes, before your tot/s enter the room, wipe down all the accessible table tops (side tables, coffee tables, desks, TV stands, shelves, bathroom counter-tops). If you see dust on your wipes on the first surface you clean, you want to be a little more detailed in your clean-up process
  • Wipe down the remotes and video game console gear (if your tot is a video game junkie like me)
  • Wipe down the handles on the room, the bathroom, the doors/drawers
  • Wipe down the toilet seat
  • Do your own turndown service, take off the heavy bedspread, store it away in the closet where your tot cannot access it. Put away all the decorative pillows, they have probably been gathering dust for a while
  • Make sure you and your tot/s are not walking barefoot in the hotel room, keep socks or slippers on at all times
  • Carry hand sanitizer and make sure your tot/s are sanitize their hands before enjoying a gluttonous meal
  • Rinse the drinking glasses, or bring your own disposable drinking glasses
  • If you are traveling with very young tots, please bring your own sheets and a light blanket

With this basic housekeeping you can keep ensure that all members of the family are safe and healthy during your stay.

Also review the TripAdvisor.com list of Top 10 dirtiest hotels in America for the current year and make sure that you are not staying at one of them. This list is culled from reviews written by real travelers. The news report from ABC News includes the 2011 list of the dirtiest hotels and a short helpful video on personal housekeeping.

Happy travels and do share your experiences with us on TitterTot.

Toddler On Board – video by Southwest Airlines

Until I took my first trip with my son I always wondered what the experience would be like. Unlike most airline carriers, Southwest has always been very forthcoming in reaching out to its customers. They have leveraged blogs, YouTube and their website to provide its customers all the information they might need. With the video below they are providing pertinent information in regards to what a parent could expect when flying with a toddler. Having taken a few flights with my son, the drill below is the same no matter which airline you choose. Of course not all airlines have jets equipped with changing stations and few crew teams are as helpful as you see in this video.