Travel and Road Tripping with Twin 2 year olds pt 1

Travel and Road Tripping with Twin 2 year olds pt 1

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How ’bout, no to Travel

After a disastrous overnight to visit my grandmother, for a solid year, I refused to travel with my twins more than 2 hrs from home. We are dedicated to our schedule ’cause, duh, twins. And after a scary night of repeated escapes from a travel crib at a friend’s I was scared to death of trying to get them to sleep anywhere other than safely at home. If anyone asked if I was coming to visit with the twins my response was the same: NOPE.

Tractor on a tractor
Semis and ‘Trailer Trucks’ made my toddlers happy.

Planning for disaster

To celebrate my Mother’s 70th birthday I planned with my siblings to get together at a lake house for a long weekend. Since getting everyone agreeing on a location and date was a monumental undertaking, I started planning 2 months ago for a four day trip with toddler twins. And planning. And planning. And planning. And then, with two days notice, I agreed to go visit a dear friend for a long weekend.

I’m pretty sure I thought our friends would say they were too busy for us to come visit. They weren’t. Oooops. So now, because I’m an idiot, I’ve got 1300 miles of road trip in the span of 10 days.

My game plan is simple (hah, get it?):

  1. Read every single blog post about traveling with toddlers ever written.
  2. Ask everyone I meet, regardless of their parent status, helpful hints for traveling with toddlers.
  3. BUY ALL THE THINGS (kinda only sorta just kidding on this one).
  4. Pray.

Other people’s advice. What I learned from reading other people’s blogs about traveling with kids: your kids do not equal anyone else’s kids

Just because someone else has success with a travel strategy, doesn’t mean you and your kids will. This goes quadruple for having twins. You know your kids best – use similar strategies to what works at home. If you aren’t a big screen time family, don’t expect your kids to suddenly be hypnotized by electronics. If your kids need exercise, for Pete’s sake stop and let them run around. There are parks everywhere in the USA – there is Walmart and Target.

Pinterest is full of adorable projects you can spend tons of time making only to watch your child discard, ignore, or throw up on. Save your time and effort. I hit Amazon and the dollar section at Target hard for a bag of “treasures” to dole out to the kids during the trip. I used approximately 25% of what I got. LeapFrog My Own Leaptop computers the children flipped their lids over when they used them for the first time are worth absolutely jack shit when your two year old decides they are ‘done’ with the drive – but they have proven to be worth the investment over the long haul. Melissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow! were the biggest hit. And the entire Daniel Tiger catalog.

Be ready to compromise on some things in the name of sanity. My twins watched 1000% more TV over four days than they have seen in their entire life. They ate whatever was at hand. Bedtimes were flexible and we let them sleep extra when they were able.

Two boys on a bed
See my boys turning into zombies while they watched Mulan at midnight in a hotel. The key to road trips is picking your battles.

Remember – it’s the destination, not the journey, you left the comfort of your cozy home to visit.

Pick wisely and make it worth it. Don’t go somewhere that generates stress. Just Don’t. Our first trip is to our dear friend’s house where no one cared if the kids fell apart, threw up, or cried. Where someone else cooked all weekend and doled out drinks when we needed them. Our second trip is with family who will help endlessly with the twins.

Your kids will not explode if they deviate from the schedule for a few nights. But they probably won’t be performing monkey’s either. Don’t expect them to love your friend’s and family as much as you do. They don’t remember them. Or expect that they will adore your destination and everyone there and then they will be completely heartbroken when it’s time to leave.

Will I travel somewhere I have no additional help? NOPE. Will I go anywhere I can’t let my kids be themselves? NOPE. And I’m not going to expect my kids to be their normal delightful selves when they are traveling. See the contradiction there? It’s the essence of Road tripping with toddlers.

Two boys playing in the background of a picture during travel
We packed toys, but our friend’s had some toys the boys had never seen to explore. I explored the bottom of some drinks.

Pick your overnights carefully

With a tiny bit of research we found hotels with two rooms for the same price as one. Letting the boys sleep and letting us have space to decompress after a long driving day was key. Pack strategically – I had all 400lbs of the boys gear set up for easily pulling out of the car including food and snacks for kids and grownups – and liquor or beer. Despite all my planning one twin puked each night we were in the hotel. We trashed rather than try and wash and transport puked on PJs and Dad’s clothes. Sacrifices were made.

Look at part 2 for the Gear Guide for Parents who have lost their minds enough to think a road trip with twin toddlers is a good idea.


We share in Fort Birthday

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