I have done a few long distance trips on buses and trains with Mr 6 over the last 6 years. The first time that he and I made the 12 hour trip from my parents place on the train, he was only a couple of months old. We’ve done that trip a few times in the mean time and most recently we travelled 8 hours to visit a friend for the school holidays. I’ve picked up a few little tips along the way to make the trip easier for everyone involved.
1. If possible, book travel times to suit your kids.
Do you have kids that fall asleep as soon as the bus/train/plane takes off? Book travel for night time so that most of the trip will be taken up by sleep time. If your kids don’t like to sleep then daytime travel, when noise isn’t quite as frowned upon, might be better for you.
2. Pack a range of things for the kids to do in their own carry on bag.
Giving kids their own bag of stuff (make sure they can carry it too!) means that you can keep it all in one place and still have your own bag. I also let Mr 6 pick the things he wants to put in his bag so I know that they are things that he is going to enjoy. It also means that he will have things to entertain him once we get to our destination.
3. Charge all of the things.
What on earth did we do before technology!? On our most recent trip we took an Ipad, Ipod and a portable DVD player. I also put the DVDs in a CD carry case so I can take more movies without losing space. Also make sure you put any devices on airplane mode so that kids don’t accidentally use all of your data, especially on overseas trips! Bonus tip: Buy a portable charger to recharge devices on long haul trips. Also keep devices switched off when not in use to conserve battery.
4. Pack snacks and drinks (transport permitting)
Food on and around transport is by default either ridiculously expensive, tastes horrible or a mixture of both. If possible, pack a lunch box to last the trip or meal times can get very expensive, very quickly. There is also the added stress of getting yourself and the kids to the food service area and back again. The last time we took the train there was 9 carriages between where we were sitting and the food carriage. Due to the train being an old diesel service all of the doors were manual and you had to cross over the carriage joins to get to the next one. It took us 20 minutes just to walk to the Galley.
There are so many horror stories that go viral of obnoxious people on transport and kids that go feral. However my experience has been that those obnoxious people are just looking for someone to be obnoxious to and you know your kids, you know how they behave. In my experience getting worked up often exacerbates the situation, just smile, remind yourself that it’s only for a short time in the scheme of things. You will be OK.
Have you done any long distance travel with your kids?
What are your sanity savers?