Perhaps you’re holidaying in your own backyard, or coming to New Zealand to face your fear of heights with a bungee jump or skydive, but have been warned throwing yourself from a plane or bridge may pale in comparison to travelling with a baby?
Don’t fear, the team here at Snap Rentals have the ultimate guide to a New Zealand road trip – with young children in tow.
Push the boundaries of luggage allowances and pack that nappy bag with all the child traveling essentials you can fit. We’re talking reusable nappies and wipes (yes, you can travel AND still use nappies / wipes that won’t end up in landfill!), wipes, digital thermometer, infant fever medication, toys (especially new ones they haven’t seen before), changes of clothing suited to the climate you’re leaving from and arriving in, pre-expressed milk, formula and water. And never, ever, underestimate the power of a spare pillow.
Some savvy parents have even been known to pack little bags of ear plugs, a treat and apologetic note to hand to passengers around them on long haul flights.
If you’re lucky enough to be traveling with a partner or adult accomplice, discuss before the trip how you will travel different scenarios. How will you share responsibilities in the car, on the plane, bus or in a train?
Don’t try and tire the little tykes out
While it may seem like a tactical plan for peaceful sleeping child travellers, parenting experts like Kate Nicolle say this is a no-no. Instead of little angels catching up on sleep, you’re likely to end up with overtired terrors, she warns.
On the road
Choose a car that suits your family’s needs. Snap Rental’s selection is available to view online so you can suss out how much leg and luggage room you’ll have – as well as the best sound system to crank Frozen.
Our cars are all late model, with the highest safety specs – so you know your family will be as safe as possible during your trip. We have car seats to hire too!
In the car
Midwife and childbirth expert Helen Pullar advises parents to make regular stops, allowing young babies in carseats to move around (it can be bad for their young spines to spend too long in the car seat).
Besides, it doesn’t hurt for the whole car to get some fresh air, and New Zealand has such great scenery you won’t be complaining about the frequent breaks.
Watch the temperature in the car isn’t too hot for them, and use a sunshade over their window for added protection.
Dressing the kids (and yourself, for that matter) in natural, breathable clothing helps regulate their temperatures and keep them comfortable.
Long drives might be great for getting the littlies to sleep, but plan your drive times so as not to disrupt their sleep patterns too much.
The rules for child restraints and car seats in New Zealand are available here.
Essential Baby’s Sue White even has recommendations for how to pack the car, too.
“Be wary of loose items that might fly around the vehicle in case of a sudden stop. I only keep soft items (say, a green shopping bag filled with baby blankets) on the seat next to the baby’s capsule, wedging hard items (like a bag full of food) into a spot where it’s less likely to cause havoc (try the space between a capsule and the seat in front of it).”
She also has a handy tip for the adult travelers, too.
“Don’t forget to pack snacks and a thermos for the adults; all too often you’ll whip through that cute country town in order to keep the baby sleeping.
“Murphy’s Law says they’ll wake 20 minutes later, so it’s nice to have a cuppa when you stop in the middle of nowhere.”
Have some fun
A helpful article on Under5s recommends hanging colourful mobiles in front of wee ones to keep them occupied (you can also purchase mirror to clip over their seat so you can see each other).
Pack books, games and tasty snacks as ‘Thrive Market’ recommends in this video:
Singing along to favourite nursery rhymes or making up songs or stories about the passing scenery, is another tip.
And a cute one: “If two adults are travelling, take turns driving and if there is room spend a while in the back beside the children, they love this!”
Check out this 50 best nursery rhymes playlist on Spotify …
Off the road
Depending on your route, you may need to prepare for some all terrain walking, that is: Serious buggies, prams and child carriers. Baby on the Move is a New Zealand service specialising in supplying all the rental needs for holidayers here.
They can even organise rental equipment – including prams, backpacks, front packs and port-a-cots to meet you at the airport. They also work to ensure all the gear will fit inside your vehicle. Hire Things is another great service – and also caters for other non-baby requirements.
Finding accommodating accommodation
When booking your accommodation, ask about the availability of port-a-cots and high chairs – and if you’re arriving late at night ask for them to be put in your room.
Arriving with your sanity
White recommends not planning anything big on the day of your arrival at a destination. Once you factor in all the stops, rests and perhaps a youngster’s meltdown or two – it is unlikely you, or your passengers, will be up for much. Plus, rushing to get somewhere only adds extra stress to these journeys of all journeys.
Travelling NZ with kids? Let us make your road trip a piece of cake.