We head on out of here in just a few weeks (eek!) and I was wondering if you more well traveled folks had any tips for traveling 16+ hours with a baby and two dogs. We're taking both vehicles so we can separate the dogs/kid. DH has a 10' box trailer that we're bringing some stuff along in as well.
Lots of stops, I know, but what about entertainment for DD (who will be just over a year)? We're thinking about investing in an iPad or similar tablet so she can watch movies/play Doodle whateveritscalled (we wanted to get one anyways). Lots of snacks. She HATES to sit in her car seat for more than a couple of hours at a time.
We're planning on breaking the trip up into two 8 hour days.
Also- Any recommendations on pet friendly hotels? We'll be heading from VT to KY.
If you and DH are ok to drive at night, I would recommend heading out at bedtime and getting a big chunk of the drive over while DD is hopefully blissfully asleep in her car seat.
Disadvantage of the IPad is that she will inevitably drop it and then scream when she can't reach it. Same disadvantage with any little toy, especially if you don't have a non-driver to cater to her. Do you both absolutely have to drive? Can you contain dog in crate somewhere and pull trailer as well? That way you can both drive and put pedal to the metal and get it over with and one parent is free to sit in the back with DD and help keep her entertained.
If she is the type to actually watch a movie, you might be better off to get a portable DVD player that you can suspend from a carrier between the 2 front seats.
I find infants pretty transportable if you can synch car travel with bed time...
I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.
Can your daughter handle an iPad on her own? Something like that can be more of a distraction to you than a toy for her if she accidentally hits the wrong button or drops it on the floor. Perhaps a portable DVD player would be a better option. Get one that attaches to the head rest so it can't fall on the floor.
My daughter has cerebral palsy and is a horrible traveler. For our annual 15 hour (straight through) drive to IL we employ many movies and a lot of animal crackers.
If you have the vehicle for it, I think 1 car would be better. This way an adult can sit in the back to manage the child so the other can safely concentrate on driving.
They have headrest attachments for iPads...which would be a good idea, so you aren't having to stop the car to get it off the floor when your daughter drops it . You can fit quite a lot of movies on a 64GB version, much less to carry than a slew of DVDs.
I agree with the suggestion to take one vehicle if you have one big enough...adult backup in the car will help. If it's a wagon or an SUV, you can get one of those grates to but between the "way back" and the passenger compartment to keep the dogs away from your daughter.
When I travel with dogs and/or kids, I plan the stops before I leave, of course you need to have a bit of flexibility for emergencies, but it helps a lot to know where there is a toddler friendly playground, a wooded area for the dogs to walk, a kid/dog friendly beach, etc... and directions to it off the highway in advance. Planning something fun along the way will help stave off boredom.
We have the option to have one car transported, but the pick up station is in NJ, so there really isn't any point. The truck would be pretty cramped with all of us.
I'm hoping that she'll be forward facing by then, which will make things easier to hand back to her, but she's tiny, so probably not.
We were talking about going overnight, and trying to do it all in one shot, but the military requires that we stop (I think, they did when DH traveled. He couldn't drive more than 8 hrs at a time). Until everybody gets caught up on sleep, it'll be rough but doable.
Good point about the DVD player vs. iPad! Y'all are right about that!
I think it is just as hard to travel with young kids as it is with dogs! You can only keep them entertained for so long, so expect some screaming( from being confined in the seat). This is good since it is usually followed by exhaustion and sleep. We went 2,000+ when the kids were 1 1/2, 3 & 5. I spent the whole way turned around facing the back trying to keep the peace and handing out snacks. I never got a chance to admire the view!
We stopped to eat where everyone could get out to get some exercise and although I couldn't say it was fun( at the time) we did get through it and the return trip home still a loving family.
I can't help you as my road trips with kids and dogs were in the days when dogs rode in the back of the truck and kids roamed around loose inside the truck. With luck there was a camper window and occasionally the dogs and kids could change places!
feed the dog with ample time for him to empty everything out before you load up. When I travel with dogs, I limit their water intake until we get where we are going. They get their food and free choice water until about 4 hours before we load up, so they are all emptied out, then on the trip very limited water. Then when we get wherever we are stopping for the night they get unlimited food water etc.
they are on a schedule eat in the morning blah blah blah, they will live with it for a few days on your trip and it will make life easier for everyone. It is much easier if they can potty the same time as everyone else at gas stops and whatever and there is nothing worse on a long car trip than a farting dog.
"Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin