WWYD? Long Distance Driving Dilemma...(31 Posts)
I had been planning to drive to London in a couple of weeks time with 22mo DD. It will be about 400 miles each way. I will be 33 weeks pregnant.
I hadn't even considered that this might not be the right thing to do until my DM started telling me "Oh, you'll never cope with the journey, its too far for you to be travelling on your own" etc etc. I should say that DM can be fairly negative/pessimistic and tends to look at situations from the point of view of whether SHE could do them, not the person who will actually be doing it. She wouldn't drive to London on her own now.
But she's made me think, will it be too difficult? I had thought it would probably be easier than getting the train, if we took it slow and did lots of stops to let DD have a break etc, although DD can be a bit difficult to keep entertained in the car.
For comparison, the train takes about 3.5 hours, usually with one change but there are a few direct trains. I will have to carry DD's buggy, travel cot, a rucksack with our clothes in and a day/change bag. I could get a lift once we arrive in London, so don't have to worry about tube etc. And it would be easier to draw/read etc with her.
I'm not a huge fan of long distance/motorway driving, but am perfectly capable of doing it if needed. I should also say that the trip may not end up happening for other reasons outside of my control, so if I booked tickets ahead (which I would want to do to get seat reservations) I may end up not being able to use them. There may also be a chance that DH comes with us for at least one of the journeys (whether on the train or in the car) but I won't know that until much nearer the time either.
So, train or car?
Car. Just allow yourself more time for lots of breaks. Get a portable DVD player to entertain her? Find places to stop on the way where she can have a proper play.
I couldn't be doing with changing trains and having to lug that much stuff between trains while heavily pregnant and looking after a toddler!
I would go by car with plenty of stops. Would you be able to stay in a hotel half way for a break?
I'd train in your situation. There will always be people willing to help you with bags etc. Just thinking back to 33 weeks pregnant for me I was constantly needing to pee and my bump and hips gave me a lot of discomfort, I'd have wanted to be able to move about a bit more. Not to mention having the toddler as well!
As long as you can fit behind thw wheel, you can drive. Take a break where necessary and if you have any extra medical needs take them into account.
You are pregnant, not dying. And you are correct, she is negative and pessimistic... YOU CAN DO IT😊😊😊
Car. Loads of breaks ehenever you need/want. DVD player and snacks for the child.
car is fine but that doesn't sound safe to do in one trip each way. Not because you are pregnant but because it is too far for anyone to do safely, especially with a possibly screaming toddler in the back.
so either take the train or book halfway hotels.
tired drivers kill.
Car - you can stop as and when you want/need, can control heating, bring plenty of drinks/snacks.
And if you feel you need to, it's a lot easier to stop altogether and find a hotel or whatever. But you certainly have a far better choice of places to stop.
I'd want to be in control, so car for me.
400 miles will take you at least 6 hours, probably more with stops and traffic.
I'd take the train, especially if there's only one change.
Would you have to bring a travel cot? Can't she share a bed with you or can you buy a cheap one once there?
How have you been in your pregnancy? I couldn't have made the drive at 33 weeks, but then I couldn't have managed the train either. Pregnancy is very subjective.
How is she in the car? I've done long journeys when pregnant (being driven) and it can be knackering, add in a bored frustrated toddler and you will need to allow for doubling your journey time. I would be tempted to train it and enjoy a more relaxing time. Could you borrow/ hire a cot? Or get a cheap kids blow up bed?
Thanks for the replies.
Pregnancy has been absolutely fine so far, no problems, no hip or bump pain.
I guess I could get a travel cot once I'm down there, which would definitely help with the amount of things to carry. DD has never slept in a bed, either with me or on her own! She just doesn't seem to like it or associate them with sleep!! We've tried a few times, at home and at other people's houses but she either climbs straight back out or howls
for hours She definitely needs something with sides.
And I could book a hotel half way down if I needed to.
I would ensure you had lots of stops and get out to stretch your legs. Also wear flight socks. Being seated for such a long time with very little leg movement (motorways being a one foot on the accelerator job in my experience) increases your risk of blood clots.
Apart from that it would be a better idea than lugging buggies etc and a young child around a train station.
Can you plan at least some of the trip at nap time?
Or bed time?
Sing some nursery songs.
A colouring book and crayons (not pens!)
Snacks and drinks
Comfy clothes that don't matter about getting food on.
Play silly games. Name car colours.
Count green cars or busses or bikes.
You know your abilities. You know your toddler.
I would drive. Then I could pull off and walk around when I needed. Not when the train stopped.
I can put my air con on or open a window.
I can also guarantee that the time my toddler thought about sleeping would be when I had to change trains.
400 miles. You must be north.
Assume child sleeps 12-2?
Get in car at 11. With picnic lunch.
Child is amused with lunch. Then sleepy.
Child wakes at 2.
Stop at nearest town. Find big supermarket and go for a walk. Change nappy. Choose something as a treat. Comic or colouring.
Get yourself drink and snacks too.
Do the next couple of hours.
Another town for tea.
Or if dd goes to bed at 7, put her in pj's and leave at 7...
I'm at a similar stage pregnancy and have same aged DD and tbh, would only be considering either if it was completely necessary, especially on my own. Which I appreciate it might be. But if it's not, I would consider the logic behind it. I'm an anxious traveller though.
We would likely do car, mainly because DD would be likely to sleep for a fair few hrs.
Where in London? eg if coming from the west then Ealing will obviously be 1-2 hours closer than Stratford or somewhere south of the river. Don't underestimate the time that takes in London traffic - we find our sat nav is usually out by at least 40 minutes.
Train. I wouldn't do that drive even if I wasn't pregnant. Being in the car is horrible. At least on the train you can do stuff, you can have a drink and a walk, eat lunch, etc. And YOU can have a snooze as well.
If at all possible to hire/buy a cheap travel cot I'd go by train, purely because it would be more entertaining for your dd, and allow you to focus on her needs.
But if you need to take the travel cot, then I'd go by car. Allow a long journey time with lots of stops.
You know your dd best. does she mind being in the car? Will she be ok with dvds/toys/sleep etc or will she need lots of attention and get bored easily?
justhappy north west London, so very easy from that point of view. 10 mins off the A40.
lorna not a necessary trip really, just visiting my brother. it will be the last time I get to see him before the baby arrives. I would really like to go though.
*whycan't I use" that timetable looks good! thanks.
You know your limits but just to put it in perspective...
We drove to Scotland recently. Just over 560 miles in total. We stopped halfway (ish) near Manchester overnight. That was 265 miles. It took us 8 hours to do that distance - we had three 20 minute stops as we had DS (9 years old) with us. The rest of it was delays on M25 and M6. It should have taken us about 5.5 hours without stops to do that (according to the AA route thingamajig) and we only stopped for an hour in total...
On the way back we did a similar overnight stop - this time the down journey to the Morecambe area (to see friends) took us 6 hours - no hold ups, two stops (about 20 minutes each ish) and just under 300 miles to travel that day with the remaining 300 ish miles the next day.
DH did the driving and he was knackered by the time we stopped for the night.
When we got home his first words were 'train next time. Never, never again! '
If it is the amount of luggage stopping you using the train, have a look at something like www.sendmybag.com/quote
It's only 32 quid return to send a 30kg case anywhere in mainland UK.
Would that work for you?
I'd go by car. Gives you much more flexibility.
I would allow the whole day and plan in plenty of stops. Starting at bedtime gives you the problem of how you go for a wee when toddler is fast asleep in the car.
I'd go by car too. Lots of stops, make the journey interesting and don't rush.
Do not underestimate how tiring it is, I drove from Wales to Glasgow and back in two days. On the sunday I fell asleep on the floor after putting my DS down for his nap.
...and I took lots of stops.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.