Paul and I drove down to San Diego last week for renovation meetings, to get out of our LA house for showings, and to relax LOL. If you’re a parent who has traveled with kids, you know that it’s actually far from relaxing and I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation, but I’ll save that for another post. Since it’s just a couple hours away, we obviously drove…with both kids AND both dogs. It was honestly such a sh*t show thanks to our needy-ass dogs and Capri’s potty training situation, but I did come out of it with a few tips. Plus, I know we’ll need to do this drive somewhat often as we go back and forth from LA to SD and vice versa, so I need to figure this sh*t out.
WHAT I’D DO AGAIN
+ Bring tons of snacks
I feel like this is a toddler tip for any situation and it was definitely the case on the car ride. I packed Capri several things she could handle herself (these usually make a mess but take Capri longer to get through food with) and then had ‘surprise snacks’ that I pulled out when she was about to lose her sh*t.
+ Pack the tablet
Thank f*cking god for tablets!!!! Capri uses her tablet in the evenings but she doesn’t get it for long, so this was a good ‘treat’ for her. When she wasn’t snacking or sleeping, she was happy on her tablet. Pro tip: make sure you download things in advance and have games/shows they know how to work before you leave. We also waited until she woke up and was done with her other toys before pulling it out.
+ Prep before you leave
Paul got gas the night before and we did a general clean-up of the car before leaving. I packed all of the dog stuff in the car well before we had to leave, and I also had snacks and toys ready to go in the car. I also made sure we had extra paper towels, hand sanitizer, masks, wet wipes, and all the things you need when you have a car full of kids. I have this organizer in my car at all times but since our car was packed, I had an ‘essentials’ bag I packed within reach. This is where I kept diapers, wipes, formula, etc. for Walker, too. All sh*t I prepped the night before so it was one less thing to do before we left.
+ Go during nap time
We thought our best bet to have Capri was to leave during nap time and that worked out pretty well.
+ Pack new toys / activities
A friend recommended this tray to keep Capri’s activities in and to stash a few new toys or things to entertain her with. We didn’t end up using the tray but I did get her fresh sticker books, books, and I downloaded new stuff to her tablet so everything felt new & shiny.
WHAT I’D DO DIFFERENTLY
+ Not bring the dogs
I mean, if I have a choice, I’ll definitely be leaving the dogs at home, at least until we’re through with potty training and Walker is older. We had to have them out of the house and we were going to be gone a full week, so we needed to bring them, but I think the experience would have been much easier without them. Next time, I’ll bribe someone to watch them.
+ Drink less water
I made the mistake of hydrating like usual and then needing to pee almost as often as Capri. The water plus coffee wasn’t a good idea, so now I know to wait to hydrate once I’m home, or at least earlier in the day before leaving.
+ Get coffee before we leave
AKA have less stops! Stopping at Starbucks used to be easy, but when there’s a car full of humans and dogs and you already need to stop a million times, it’s not. Next time I’ll go get us coffee before we pack up (or make Paul).
+ Pack headphones
For both myself and Capri. Between Paul’s phone calls, the dogs whining, Capri’s tablet, and song choices, etc., it was a lot. I’ll never do that drive again without headphones for Capri and myself so I can at least tune out Paul when the kids are sleeping LOL.