Planning out a road trip with kids? Or driving out of necessity and having to take your small children along?
You might be nervous, even dreading the experience. On the other hand, your someone who is up for the challenge and looking forward to hitting the open road with your little cherubs.
Both types of people have the same question, and I have a surprising answer that goes against the common advice I often hear from many families driving by car.
“When is the Best Time of Day to Leave on a Road Trip with Kids?”
THE ANSWER: NOT AT NIGHT!
I know, driving through the wee hours of the night sounds like a great idea because your kids are well, asleep! But really, on top of the fact that driving related deaths are three times more likely to happen at night according to the National Safety Council, here are the many more reasons for why driving at night can really become a nightmare for parents.
- Your tired.
- Other drivers are tired.
- Nothing good happens after 2am, except the sunrise.
- Car seats are not comfortable for your kids to sleep in for long stretches of time.
- The sound of your child crying at 1am because “you aren’t there yet” is disturbing.
- Driving on mountain roads at night are slightly nerve-wracking.
- Drunk Drivers
- Stopping at a rest area at 2am to feed your baby is not a good time. Trust me.
- Some babies hate the car.
- Some kids thrive on routine and you are breaking their nighttime routine, making for a very cranky baby that you can’t just stop to console and cuddle.
- Having to get sleeping kids out of the car at midnight because you have to pee from all the coffee you have drunk – really sucks.
- Those bright lights from the gas station wake everyone up in the middle of the night.
- Old eyes = I don’t see that great at night.
- Driving in a remote area and suddenly have to go to the bathroom, get food, or gas after 9pm? LOL, good luck!
- Even if you time it out perfectly and don’t have to do all the stopping or have any crying children – you still have to take care of the kids the next day.
My Tried and True Strategy for Hitting the Road with Kids:
When taking a road trip with kids, my advice, get up early after a good night’s sleep, and then hit the road. You will gain a few extra hours this way, and everyone will be able to enjoy the changing landscapes as you get closer to your destination. Make sure to stop often so that everyone can stretch their legs and re-charge. If you are traveling with a baby between 5 months and 2 years old, plan to stop more often and take it slow. Remember, the journey is as important as the destination. Make it fun and comfortable and safe for all.
And, if you see any interesting destinations from the road – make the stop! It is almost always worth the detour!
If you have to drive at night, I found these tips from Popular Mechanics helpful.
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