Braving a road trip with babies and toddlers is so much easier with these helpful tips!
While traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic may spark a debate between some, families like mine have decided to travel locally. I recently traveled to Baguio with my two young kids, two nannies, one driver and three adults. Here’s how I pulled it off a road trip with babies and toddlers:
How to survive a road trip with babies and toddlers during a pandemic
1. Research your destination’s travel restrictions and requirements
The biggest hurdle for traveling for the first time is the daunting paperwork you need to do for the entire family. Most people dislike paperwork and because of the pandemic, some cities are very strict about COVID testing before entering–Baguio is one of them. In order to enter Baguio, adults need negative PCR or Antigen tests.
Children below 18 are not required to take a test. Each traveller needs to register their trip at the Baguio Visita website where you will need to create an account per person and upload your test results. Once your information is verified they will send you back a QR code which you will need to present at Baguio’s triage.
Give yourself about 1-2 weeks prior to the trip to start the process as the Visita website may experiences glitches. You can find the complete information and requirements at https://visita.baguio.gov.ph/.
2. Using Waze, RFID Autosweep and EasyTrip will make your life so much easier
Make sure to install Waze on everyone’s phones especially the driver’s so they can independently navigate without you.
Since toll booths have no cash policies, you’ll need to get both the Autosweep and EasyTrip RFID stickers. Make sure to get your RFID stickers and load your accounts before your trip. You can easily buy credit for both RFID stickers in many ways —my favorite cashless way is via GCash.
3. Always prioritize nap time
If you’re a mom of babies and toddlers like I am—mom of 2 under 3 years of age—everything revolves around nap times and planning your travel is no different. Prioritizing naps and getting enough sleep ensures happy kids and a smooth day for the parents. We decided to leave Manila at around 8am so they were well fed and could take their naps in the car.
Initially, I dabbled with the idea of leaving at 3am like most Baguio pros do, but I did not want to leave too early leaving the entire family and nannies exhausted for the rest of the day. We weren’t rushing our road trip with our baby and toddler, so I didn’t want to add extra stress to the trip and I am glad I did not.
4. If you can, take two cars
Think about your current car and how much space you will need for everyone and all that gear. I’d like to say pack light but when you’re dealing with two young children it’s almost impossible to pack light.
We took two cars going up to Baguio as not all of us were going back to Manila at the same time. This made the ride comfortable for everyone. Make sure to bring pillows for the adults too.
Walkie-Talkies are my must have for any trip. They are so much quicker to use than cellphones. No passwords, no fuss, no looking for your cellphone in your bag and your message gets sent across quickly without needing to rely on dodgy cellular signal. Every adult and car got a walkie-talkie!
6. Dealing with motion sickness
I did not know that my second child (1 year old) suffered from motion sickness until she vomited twice on her way up to Baguio. I didn’t know this because she was 3 months old when lockdown began and we hardly took her out of the house.
I mentioned this to my pediatrician and she said that motion sickness has been very common these days as babies weren’t used to car rides being home all the time. So if your baby hasn’t been out much, take them on short rides throughout the week to get them used to the motion of being in the car before going on your long ride.
Bring paper bags and lots of muslins and towels just in case. I also recommend stopping for breaks every hour or so to keep the kids from from getting antsy in the car.
7. Choose a comfy car seat
Children act out not for the sake of annoying us but it’s usually a cry for help. The more comfortable they are the easier they will be. Children should be in car seats for their safety—especially in highways. I understand how tiring this can be but imagine the loss you will feel if an accident took your child’s mobility or life and you could have prevented it.
Personally, the Looping 360 car seat was a game changer especially for my infant—both my kids love it. The rotating seat makes it easier for both parent and baby to get strapped in. The seat is really comfortable that I rarely have problems with the kids protesting being in their seats throughout the trip (without tablets.)
When kids get to a certain age where their legs hang its best to consider getting a footrest like the Knee Guard footrest. When legs hang and without a stable base for their feet, the force of gravity exerts pressure on their thighs and legs.
To protect themselves, kids end up sitting in awkward positions for extended lengths of time, hurting their posture and knees. I also always travel with my Creamhaus booster so my kids can eat comfortably in adult sized tables and chairs.
8. Sort out the (car) sleeping situation
My son still looks for my cuddles in order to sleep. Since he we cant cuddle while he’s strapped onto his seat my lifesaver was the Baa Baa Sheepz Bed-Time Buddy, a bamboo pillow with fabric tags at the sides for baby to pull and bite on. It was pretty new at the time of our trip but to my surprise worked like a charm!
Each child is different so your sleep association will depend on your child. Depending on their age and personality, sometimes holding their hand and explaining why you can’t get them out of their seat while in motion is enough.
9. Bring a portable potty!
I don’t know about you but the thought of a toddler in a public bathroom makes me want to run. I now keep a potty in each car—we use the Potette potty for the car and the ultra comfortable MamaFrog for the home. I also learned that keeping a portable urinal or empty bottles in the car and diaper bag at all times come in handy for toddler boys!
As for the moms, I found this contraption called a women’s urinal or potty funnel on Lazada that allows us ladies to pee without touching the seat! The sight of the contraption makes me laugh but is a lifesaver during long car rides or public restroom visits.
10. Keep your snacks mess-free
Kids like adults are more likely to act out if they’re sleepy or hungry so I always have food available. I like to prepare mess free fruits as healthy snack that satiates hunger but won’t fill the kids up before mealtime.
Easy fruits like suha, apples, or grapes are great for the road. For sanitary reasons we like to bring our own utensils and food containers when eating out. We like bringing our Takenaka bento boxes on trips because they have compartments for different food and it has a built in fork.
The Marcus and Marcus line is also a home and travel favorite–we bring their silicone bibs, water bottles, collapsible snack container, and silicone utensil pouches for the children.
I also bring one day’s worth of frozen food in a cooler. When we arrived at our destination I sent them to the supermarket or wet market to buy food of their choice for the duration of our stay.
11. Bring your own water bottles
Let’s try to do our best to preserve mother earth by bringing our own water bottles, buying 5 gallon water bottles or better yet our own water purifiers. I brought my Crazycap UV sterilizing bottle that can sterilize any clear water–even from a steam in the mountains should we have gone hiking.
12. Disinfecting on the go
I always travel with a portable UV Care germ zapper that can quickly sanitize the surfaces and air in the car and rooms. If you suffer from allergies this can help too. People, pets and animals should stay out of the room while the UV light is on so getting a UV light such as the UV Care germ guard with a safety feature that has 360 degree motion sensors that shut off when it detects any movement within 8 meters–this is really useful especially if you have children.
As doubtful as I was when I first learned about the Happy Noz onion stickers I’ve tried them and experience them work wonders. Ever since then their stickers are part of my emergency kits and always travel with them. While in the car, I like to use the Happy Noz antivirus or anti bacteria stickers so that it prevents the family from catching anything from each other. I also bring the Airtory air purifier and the Marcus & Marcus portable ionized air purifier which is safe and ozone free. In this day and age, you can never be too paranoid and proactive.
To sanitize surfaces, Aqua Clean’s hypochlorous acid is miracle cleaner and a mom’s best friend. Electrolyzed water is used all over the world industrially to sanitize hospitals, veterinary care, and even in food safety. It is powerful and effective yet its completely safe for babies and pets.
13. Bring a nanny
I always laugh at this quote because its so true. “Traveling with kids is not a vacation. It’s a change in location.” Traveling with kids is fun but oh so tiring especially if you have very young ones. Personally, I bring my nannies not just because I need all the help I can get but because they’ve been cooped up in our home due to the pandemic.
Traveling with them makes it easier for me but my nannies also enjoy the new experiences and change in scenery. I also find it to be great bonding moments with them, as they too are part of the family. Bringing the nannies can also help during nap times or if you’d like to eat out or go on a date with your partner.
14. Have a stroller handy
Yes! My son barely uses a stroller but I brought mine just in case. If you have limited space, our BabyZen Yoyo folds well and takes up very little space. For the sake of naps, bring the stroller in case you find yourself out of the house during nap-time. It was a last minute decision to bring the stroller and I am so glad I did. Strollers are also great at carrying all your bags!
** This trip was taken in December 2020. Please check your destination’s LGU for any travel requirements