Road Trip with a Toddler (Best Laid Plans…)

I thought it would be a great idea to turn our drive back to the UK from Austria into a road trip. I had all sorts of plans. First we would be organised and be ready to leave on time. We would head off early and stop for breakfast by the scenic Lake Bodensee (Constance in English). Then drive for 3 hours or so to our lunch stop at Wildpark Pforzheim. We would then have time for an afternoon break at one of the fab looking playgrounds in Luxembourg. Before stopping for the night on a farm near Arlon in Belgium. On the second day, we would then have a simple, short drive to the coast to catch the ferry. However, a road trip with a toddler does not always go to plan. Here is the reality of day one…

Road Trip with a Toddler – the reality

Road Trip with a Toddler

  1. Leave an hour late. Because we have once again underestimated how much there is to still pack into the car in the morning.
  2. Set off.
  3. Remember we need to pick up something from a friend’s house.
  4. Finally set off.
  5. 20 minutes later, toddler copiously throws up all over self, clothes and car seat. This is the toddler who is never ill.
  6. Spend 20 minutes at the road side frantically trying to clean a car seat with wet wipes. And extract spare clothes from the car without everything else falling out.
  7. Set off again.
  8. Peer round at toddler every 30 seconds to make sure she is ok.
  9. Realise that you have not bought gifts for people back home.
  10. Veer off motorway to pop into the Milka factory shop to purchase gifts. The air around here smells lush – basically of melted chocolate – mmm.
  11. It is now way past breakfast time and you are a mere 30 minutes down the road from where you set off. So have breakfast in a petrol station car park. Not a scenic bench overlooking Lake Bodensee.
  12. Plough onwards. Having picked up some air freshener from the petrol station to try and make the car seat smell nicer.
  13. Do actually make it to Wildpark Pforzheim at something that could almost be called lunch time. Late lunch time. Give the toddler a well-earned break running around pointing at animals.
  14. Hit the road and wave wistfully at lovely looking playgrounds in Luxembourg as they pass by.
  15. By abandoning the afternoon stop we actually make it to Arlon before dark. So the toddler can have another hour or so running around the farm pointing at animals – yay!

I think the moral of this story is to be flexible when travelling with toddlers. And to have a plan b (possibly plan c, d, and so on…) And just relax and go with the flow. To be honest, the toddler is just as happy stretching her legs in Lidl as in a wildlife park. Oh, and don’t give her a different milk to normal just before setting off for a 7 hour drive…



Suitcases and Sandcastles

20 thoughts on “Road Trip with a Toddler (Best Laid Plans…)

  1. Oh, that throwing up in the car!! My son did that recently five minutes after we left our holiday cottage. We were so grateful that we could just head back to sort him out and that we didn’t have to drive that day. This is exactly the sort of story that puts me off road trips with my kids – and they’re much older than yours. We never, ever leave the house on time either!! Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    1. I really don’t know why I can never get out the house on time – even if I plan ahead and allow extra time…

  2. Oh goodness that doesn’t sound like fun. Being Australian we seem to have road trips in our genes. We drove from Melbourne to Adelaide with our 4 week old twins and it was ok, although a bit awkward trying to tandem feed in the car… er yeah, that was awful actually! Thanks for joining #FarawayFiles

  3. Great to read the negatives of travel for a change, I look back over lots of my travel experiences with rose tinted glasses! I had to sing Old Macdonald Had a Farm approximately 500 times on a drive back through France, the song still gives me the shivers five years later! #farawayfiles

    1. It easy to forget all the times that travelling is boring / uncomfortable / unremarkable!

    1. Thanks for your kind comment. I did consider not writing about the trip, but then thought, hey, not all travel is a beautiful experience!

  4. I think that sounds familiar to anyone with kids, haha. We certainly NEVER manage to leave on time… 😉 And throwing up in a car is the worst. Our little one managed to soil the car of a taxi driver in Bali and a minibus in the Philippines. Mind you, they were both very bad and inconsiderate drivers, so maybe they had it coming LOL. #fearlessfamtrav

    1. Ha ha – I like the idea of your little one expressing disapproval of the drivers 🙂

  5. The best part of this story was the Milka shop. One of my favorite things about international travel is a triolade from duty free.

    We are doing our first road trip with a kiddo in a few weeks. She’ll be 3 months, and the drive is 4 hours. We will be how it goes! Her first flight will be at 4 months.

    1. I’m sure it will be fine – our first flight was at about 2 months. I guess my main tips would be to allow plenty of time at the airport for feeding, nappy changes, etc. And on the plane make sure you have the essentials you might need close to hand / easy to find in your hand luggage. Have fun!

  6. Haha! This made me laugh! Sometimes to hardest part is just getting going. We’ve learned the hard way that being flexible when travelling with kids is a necessity! #fearlessfamtrav

    1. It is a balance between having a plan and being prepared to completely throw the plan away I find!

  7. I’m sorry, but I laughed a lot reading this! 😀 But it was a sympathetic, “I feel your pain” sort of laugh that is meant to be supportive, not mocking. I hope you understand, and that you get to visit the playgrounds of Luxembourg City next time (they really are wonderful!). #FearlessFamTrav

    1. I think laughing about it is the only way to approach it when things don’t go to plan!

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