Trip to France – the Journey

We’re all going on our summer holidays!

And by ‘all’ I mean mummy, daddy, a 2 year old and a 13 week old newborn. And by summer holiday I mean France, the Dordogne to be precise.

But before we get there let’s deal with the journey. The newborn is easy as she just sleeps. The key to a (relatively) stress free journey (when is it ever stress free with a toddler) is preparation.

First of all it is worth checking french law for rules on travelling with children as some rules are different to the UK such as placement of car seats, and the penalties can be severe. The RAC website gives a good overview.

Regular breaks

The journey to the Dordogne from North Yorkshire takes 14 hours. We have planned 2 stop overs, 1 near Calais and 1 in Orleans. We are using the channel tunnel as it is quicker than the ferry. We will also break each journey up into time slots of 2.5 hours. That way the baby can have regular feeds and will sleep when we’re moving. And if planned right the toddler will sleep for one of those stints as well.

Prepare your child a couple of days in advance by telling her you are all going on holiday and we she will need to be patient in her car seat for a couple of days but it will be worth it.

Reward good behaviour, if she travels really well a treat like an ice cream when you arrive will work wonders.

Entertainment

Entertaining a 2 year old on a long journey is tough. We decided to let her ride up front with daddy so mummy can travel with baby in the back. Daddy makes an event of it by waving at other motorhomes and giving the horn sign to lorry’s to get them to sound their horn. Spotting lorries and tractors and other large vehicles is a fun game.

Keep each activity to about 15 minutes to avoid boredom setting in.

If all else fails, we have a trick up our sleeves. We have downloaded back to back episodes of Postman Pat and Fireman Sam to an iPad which we have fixed in the visa above her seat.

I feel sick

Travel sickness can make travelling really difficult. We made the error last week of going for ice cream in the Yorkshire Dales. The combination of creamy desert and twisty roads led to a big mess in the back of the car. Having learnt our lesson on the day of travel we had a small breakfast of toast and water. Probably best to avoid milky drinks and deserts when travelling just to be on the safe side.

Make sure they have a drink of water or juice to hand to sip throughout the journey.

Music

Singing songs and getting the toddler to do the actions will also pass the time. There are loads – jump on YouTube for some inspiration. Listening to music can also while away the hours. Download a selection of their favourite Disney songs to keep them entertained.

Go bag

We always travel with a go bag to hand with wipes, nappies, snacks, water, spare clothes, toys and books. That way you can quickly react to any situation to stop it from escalating.

Above all, remember the journey is part of the holiday so make it fun. And be prepared that you may need to deviate from your plan by changing your route or planned stops. At the end of the day, happy children, happy holiday.

3 thoughts on “Trip to France – the Journey”

  1. Wow! I am impressed you are planning to have only 2 stop-overs to get to the Dordogne. We usually take 5 days to drive to the south of France from Calais and tend to drive only in the morning as in the summer it gets too hot and unpleasant on the road. Most French motorhomers tend to stop at midday for their lunch and it can be difficult to find a free space at motorhome aires, which are usually excellent and much cheaper than campsites or even free.
    I hope all goes well for you. The Dordogne is beautiful and fascinating in equal measure. Enjoy the journey! 👍

    Liked by 1 person

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