How to Survive a Long Car Journey Solo with A Pre-Schooler

A little while ago I made a solo seven-hour round car trip on my own with a pre-schooler! Fortunately it all went fairly smoothly and I had some amazing top tips before I left. So I’m sharing my experiences in this post in case you’re looking for ways to survive such a journey this summer!

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Managing a long car journey solo with a Small One

1.) Pack Well

I took two canvas style shopping bags with me and propped them, open, in the front seat next to me as the driver. One was full of toys and activities and the other food and drink! With the Small Boy in the back it made it much easier for me to reach and find things easily to pass to him.

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Two bags organised into snacks/drinks and toys/books

2.) Toys to take

Toys that were a hit were things I’d packaged up well before I went. I filled sandwich bags with little characters that the Small Boy could have fun opening and getting out and putting away again! A soft cloth bag filled with random hits of the moment including sunglasses, super hero character, pretend mobile phones. And small books are always a winner!

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Small toys in sandwich bags to make them look more exciting!

3.) Package up the food well

I realised I didn’t want to be chucking food and snacks back to the Small Boy for the whole journey so I packaged it up in smaller containers so he could help himself without having too much in one go. The jelly babies in these little pots were a life saver!

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Packaged up food into little pots – look away now if sweet treats are not your thing! ūüė¨

4.) Non-spill drinks

I took water in sippy cups, even though the Small Boy has long since been out of them and I also took Fruit Shoots which are nicely sealed so he could pop up and down the lid without help! Phew! Luckily I timed the drink giving well too – as I didn’t want him being dehydrated but equally didn’t want to stop for toilet trips every five minutes!

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Fruit shoots and sippy cups! The stuff of dreams!

4.) Take a bin

I used a plastic bag and opened it up on to the floor of the passengers footwell so I could easily throw unwanted bits and bobs into it. My empties as well as the Small Boys. I find if the car stays semi-organised I feel like I’m more in control.

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The bin to end all bins ūüôĄ

5.) iPad/DVD player with headphones

What did the Mamas of the world do before iPads? It’s a question I often ponder, and not just on long car journeys! Ours is an iPad mounted on to the headrest in-front to avoid any travel sickness from looking down. The headphones are for my own sanity as I’m not sure I can take three hours of Disney Moana songs blaring out at me, as much as I love her. I had the radio on in the front and we were all happy, for the one and a half hour duration of a film anyway!

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iPads + headphones = Happy Small Boy = Happy Mama

6.) iPad/DVD charger!

I remembered the charger, which was helpful as we neared our destination since it was soon to run out of power. Luckily the charger plugged into the car whilst we were driving and charged the iPad at the same time as watching so no time lost there! Phew!

7.) Good Sat Nav

Fortunately ¬†I knew mainly where I was going, but the driving near the end of the journey was, as it can be, a bit stressful. ¬†The Small Boy was getting restless and I was tiring and as wasn’t ¬†quite so sure where we were going at that fiddly last bit – so thank the Lord for Sat Nav!

8.) Stop for coffee and good food

We stopped both on the way down and the way back. I needed a break as much as the Small Boy. Driving a long way on your own is a big enough task, but trying to keep a pre-schooler happy in the process, is really hard. So I stopped and treated myself to a Starbucks and a pat on the back, the Small Boy ran off some steam and it really helped for the next phase.

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9.) Explain the trip a lot

From past experience I have learnt that the Small People really don’t know what’s going on unless you tell them! I know it sounds obvious, but the reason they ask ‘are we nearly there yet’ all the time is because they have no idea about time or distance. I started telling the Small Boy a few days before the trip that it was a REALLY long way, and took lots and lots of time to get there, and it would be very boring, and a very long journey! I did say it’d be fun though as we can stop at a cafe, you can watch the iPad and you can have snacks and drinks and toys in your car seat too. I kept on updating him during the trip how far we had come and how far there was to go and telling him how well he was doing too, it seemed to help him understand a bit more.

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All the fun when you get there finally – stretch those legs!!

10.) Look after yourself too

Don’t forget to consider yourself in all the planning too. Pack your sunglasses, tissues, wipes and water to have at hand for yourself. I ate well when I stopped, had a healthy, hot meal and some fruit, rather than a quick fix coffee and some biscuits, and felt much better for it. It’s perfectly okay to be proud of yourself for making the journey too! It’s a stressful one, so high five yourself for making it solo!

Lucy xx

 

 

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Win a week’s holiday at a 4-star campsite in France for you and your family!

Win a week’s holiday for you and your family

How would you like to win a week’s holiday at a 4-star campsite set in the grounds of an incredible 18th century chateau in the heart of the Vendee, France for you and your family?!

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Votre Vacances

Harrogate Tribe Christmas Night Out

If you come along to our Harrogate Tribe Christmas Night Out (Friday 24th November – save the date – ticket details to follow) you could be in with a chance of just that! The lovely Sarah at Votre Vacances got in touch after hearing about our last Harrogate Tribe event and said she would like to offer a week in one of her gorgeous chalets on the campsite as a raffle prize!

The prize is to be taken in 2018 – which is simply perfect for any cycling enthusiasts as the Tour de France is actually starting from the Vendee next year, making Votre Vacances a prime holiday location. But if you can’t wait that long, scroll down to the end of this post for details of an amazing last minute offer available this year too!

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Lots of spacious pitches

Support the Harrogate Homeless Project

Sarah is a big supporter of the Harrogate Homeless Project (the chosen charity for the Harrogate Tribe Christmas event) and wanted to offer the week’s holiday as a prize after sharing her story of her own elderly grandparents, who often volunteered at the Harrogate Homeless Project, right into their seventies with overnight stays too.

Votre Vacances

Votre Vacances is a family business from Harrogate, with eight chalets at the historic, 4-star Ch√Ęteau la For√™t campsite in western France. Everyone knows I love to support local independent businesses on the blog so when I found out I could do that all the way in France too I was over the moon!

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About the Campsite

The campsite is set in a 50 hectare area, set against the backdrop of a stunning chateau. There are two outdoor swimming pools (one can be covered over) and a lake. There’s also an adventure course (zip wire- type activities), a bar, a shop, a takeaway and a restaurant which is set in the courtyard of the chateau. Sounds picture perfect n’est pas?!

 

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Adventure courses over the lake

Holiday A’hoy

As part of our holiday this year to France we’re heading to check out Votre Vacances for ourselves and will be reporting back with a full low down all about it! We can’t wait to discover and enjoy all it has to offer! There sounds like there’s so much to see and do in the surrounding area too! Can’t wait

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Gorgeous grounds

Packed and ready to go

We just have the packing to survive before we head off on our mammoth road trip – so if anyone has any top-tips to share for journeying to France by car with four other humans please let me know!

Road Trip Essentials

The lovely folks at safe.co.uk sent us a little care package to help with the trip, including this fab travel safe (which I would have never thought to take but such a top idea – esp. when camping), an on-the-go mobile charger (bloggers essential) and the Small Boy is thrilled with his neck pillow too! No gin for Mama though ūüėÜ, which I feel is the real secret to travelling long distances in confined spaces with the Smalls!ūüėú

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Who knew travel safes were a thing!

They have some proper travelling tips, which surprisingly don’t include gin, over on their #SafeTravels website.¬†

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I hope if you’re heading away on your hols your packing is coming along nicely! I still have SO MUCH TO DO and do let me know your top survival tips for the road trip please!!

Last Minute Holiday Deal

If you’re looking for a last minute holiday, Votre Vacances has a¬†Last Minute Deal at the end of the Summer Holidays, where you can stay from Sunday 27th August, for 5 nights- for just ¬£465, or 7 nights for ¬£650 and still be home in time for the start of the school year! Email the lovely Sarah at¬†info@votrevacances.com for more details or to get booked in!

Lucy xx

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WIN a pair of Car Seat Protectors and Tablet Holder by Hakonsted!

The lovely folks at Hakonsted sent me these fab car seat protectors¬†for my car which come with an adjustable tablet holder! They’re¬†perfect! They fit easily, have pockets for drinks cups, space for books, extra storage pockets for storing items and even an attachment for a tablet so the Small People in the back¬†can watch movies on the go!

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Hakonsted Car Seat Protector

The Small Boy spends a lot of time in the car on the school run and while we ferry the girls about to after school clubs and activities so it makes his journey much more exciting! Plus it helps save my car from too many muddy footprints when he kicks the back of my seat!

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The car seat protectors were really easy to install, they just clip in to place. The tablet holder was quick and straight forward to fit too. It adjusts to fit any tablet size, and also moves around very easily as well so it can be angled for better viewing.

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Tablet holder which is adjustable to fit any tablet

They normally retail at around £28 and are available on Amazon (although they were on offer at time of publishing the post at £16). The car seat protectors come as a pair of two kick mats and one car tablet holder.

GIVEAWAY: WIN A PAIR OF HACKONSTED CAR SEAT PROTECTORS AND IN CAR TABLET HOLDER

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The great news is that Hakonsted have a set of¬†car seat protectors to giveaway to you guys along with the separate tablet holder. So to be in with a chance of getting hold of two FREE super duper kick mats for the back of your car along with an in car tablet holder all delivered straight to your door, then just send me an email!¬†All I need is your¬†first and last¬†name to¬†lucyplayford@harrogatemama.com with the subject Car Seat Protectors. That’s it!

The giveaway closes on Saturday 1st October. All the terms and conditions are below.

That’s it! Good luck!

lucy-xx

Terms and conditions:
1.) The giveaway is for you to receive one set of Hackonsted Car Seat Protector sets Рwhich includes two kick mats and one tablet holder.
2.) The giveaway will run from Sunday 25th September until Saturday 1st October at 23.59hrs.
3.) The winner will be contacted on Monday 3rd October by email.
4.) A reply to the winning email is required within 24 hours before a new winner is chosen.
5.) There is no cash alternative for the giveaway.
6.) Hackonsted will be responsible for the redemption of the giveaway, any matters arising must be taken up with them directly.
7.) No purchase necessary to win.
8.) Entrants need to be over 18 to enter the giveaway.
9.) Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ are in no way associated with this giveaway.
10.) I will not share or sell your email address with any other parties.
11.) The winner will be chosen randomly and contacted via email.
12.) Harrogate Mama blog reserves the right to publish winner’s first name and last initial.
13.) Harrogate Mama blog also reserves the right to choose a different winner in the case that the randomly chosen winner refuses to co-operate with rules, reply to winning email in 24 hour time period or does not have a verifiable entry.
14.) When you enter this competition you are signing up to receive emails solely from Harrogate Mama blog which will be sent infrequently and to which you will be able to unsubscribe at any given time.
15.) Only one entry per person please.
Disclaimer: Hakonsted sent me a set of kick mats with their compliments to review but the views are my  own.
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