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Traveling at night?

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#1 bluecupcakes

Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:00 PM

Hi all,
We are going away for christmas and it is a 12 hour car trip to get where we are going.  I have 3 children aged 5,4 and 2.  DP and I will be sharing the driving.  I am considering doing it overnight as in leaving at the kids bedtime hoping that they will just sleep the night and arriving at out destination in the morning.
Just wondering if anyone has done this before and how it went?  Did the kids sleep the trip?  We have done this trip before but this will be the first time with all 3 of the kids.
Thanks in advance original.gif

#2 kpingitquiet

Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:16 PM

I did a lot of car trips as a kid, and have done a few big ones with a child slightly younger (16mo at the time) than your youngest, and I've done a blue million long trips on my own. If it were just adults, I'd say drive through. But with kids I strongly recommend planning an overnight stop. We always drove until dinner time and had dinner near a motel/hotel where we stayed for the night, then started up again after breakfast and arrived at the destination mid-afternoon.

Even if they do sleep the overnight portion, they will probably not feel so fantastic when they wake after being stationary so long in a weird position. Plus, you two will be tired, too, as I don't know too many folks who manage to sleep solidly during car trips. Is there a motel or caravan park with cabins or something halfway?

I'm sure someone else will say it works fine but I wouldn't personally do it! original.gif

#3 casime

Posted 27 November 2012 - 05:53 AM

I do a lot of travelling and have just done Vic to QLD and back again.   I tend to stop at a motel and get an early night, then get up about 2-3am, put the baby in the car still asleep in his pjs, and start driving.  I like it because you get a fair bit of driving done before the traffic starts.   I usually stop again by mid afternoon, and sometimes will have a nap at the motel.  Twelve hours I would probably drive 2am-2pm, especially if I had a co-driver.

#4 butterflies

Posted 27 November 2012 - 07:58 AM

we have a caravan so drive to every holiday we have haad, be it 3 hours away or more.

We have done Gold Coast to Sydney in 12 hours with the caravan and 3 kids, we left at 10am and stopped for dinner for an hour(had packed a lunch)

sometimes it's tough but we have recently got portable dvd players for the kids and I wonder why we didn't do this earlier.

When we leave for holidays it is usually 3am wake up, the kids sleep in their clothes (comfy car clothes) they get in the car with their pillows and blankets and usually go straight back to sleep. then we will stop for breakky when the whinging gets too much LOL!

I don't take turns in driving as we tow the van and I am not confident doing that, so the driving is left up to DH which he is fine with.

I think driving through the night might be a bit much for the driviers, depends on how the passenger sleeps and if the kids are awake??

good luck

#5 BVB09

Posted 27 November 2012 - 08:12 AM

We will be doing the drive from Gold Coast to Sydney with a 5 and 2 year old. Have done this plenty of times in the past.

We do quite a lot of stops as we are in no hurry !

We stay at Port Macquarie overnight and continue the rest of the journey the following day. Seems to work for us, if the kinders are tired they will sleep in the car which they usually do.

I do not like driving at night ! I prefer to drive during the day.

I would consider maybe leaving super eary in the morning, at least you and your husband would at least have had proper rest, rather than sleep tagging in the car.

Have a safe journey original.gif

Edited by Sim 74, 27 November 2012 - 08:17 AM.

#6 melaine

Posted 27 November 2012 - 08:15 AM

We used to pack up the car, go to bed early and then get up really early to leave. It was a more pleasant drive if we missed the midday sun (not very good car aircon then!), so sometimes we'd stop somewhere shady for a couple of hours at the hottest part of the day.

We'd leave at 3 am and arrive at 4pm or so. As kids our parents would just move us from our bed to the car in our pjs and we'd doze off until the sun came up.

Depends on where you are driving though - its tiring driving at night, and if there are lots of kangaroos etc it can be a bit stressful!

#7 gizboo

Posted 27 November 2012 - 08:20 AM

We did it with a 3, 2 & 1yo.
We left home at 9pm, and arrived in QLD at 8am the next morning.
We only stopped to swap drivers, the kids slept the majority of the way, though at one stage they were up watching a dvd in the early hours, but crashed out again.
Admit we were shattered, mum (who were visiting) took over the kids and we passed out until that afternoon.

On the way home we stayed a night halfway. It was a lot more relaxing.  original.gif

#8 Therese

Posted 27 November 2012 - 08:20 AM

All I ever imagine is that my children wouldn't sleep once they were woken up to get in the car. And I imagine all 4 of us being overtired to begin with.

So I wouldn't do it.

#9 tothebeach

Posted 27 November 2012 - 08:20 AM

This year, we drove Syd - Gold Coast.  We also drive Syd-Melb once a year.   Rather than go overnight, we get up very early and go.  For Syd-Gold Coast, we left at 4.  The kids are excited about going in the dark and are awake for the first 1-2 hours, then fall asleep for a few hours so you only need to make your first stop 5 or so hours into the trip.  We stopped for breakfast and continued on.    We prefer not to do an overnight stop, just a waste of everyone's time.  Kids have slept in the car so won't go to sleep at night.  Disaster all round.

Last time, we stopped at the butterfly farm for a few hours.  Made the day seem like a tourist day, rather than just a travel day.

Edited by tothebeach, 27 November 2012 - 08:24 AM.

#10 MrsLexiK

Posted 27 November 2012 - 08:40 AM

As a child we used to go on 10 hour+ holidays a bit.  We would either get up really early or leave in the middle of the day and stay somewhere.  My dad did all the driving.  

My DH, his friend and I drove from Melb to sunshine coast.  We left at about 9 or 10 pm chirssy day and got there in the afternoon boxing day.  (Everyone else had either taken a few days to get there or flown) My DH and his friend just drove the whole way, one would drive and the other would sleep and then they would switch.  We had a TV/DVD player wired in the car and also a portable DVD player for me (who got the front seat) I didn't sleep too much as I was worried about all passangers being asleep at the sametime.  We were also towing a boat so it is heavy driving (hence why I could not drive as I was on P's) I don't think I would be prepared to drive through the night with kids unless they were all in comfy rear facing seats, I personally hate sleeping in the car myself.

#11 sparassidae

Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:24 AM

I agree with Ferdinand. Driving at night is dangerous, your body is used to sleeping. All the "stop revive survive" stuff says stick to usual awake times. Sure get up a bit earlier for a good start, but no way would I risk trying to stay alert at 3am while driving a car full of my loved ones!


Edited by sparassidae, 27 November 2012 - 10:25 AM.

#12 Charlies Angel

Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:40 AM

My dad always said "a hour before lunch is worth two afterwards" - meaning that the more km done whilst you are fresh in the morning is best.

I wouldn't recommend driving through the night - so easy to doze off. I would also suggest regular short breaks especially if you are not sharing the driving.

#13 PrincessPeach

Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:50 AM

It depends where yo uare driving to.

As kids my parents used to do a lot of the Brisbane-Rockhampton drive in the early hours of the morning (leaving at 4am, but if we were heading out west, then we would time it so that we would be in toowoomba for Dawn - just so we can do the country roads in the daylight - there are too many roos at night.

#14 Jupiter123

Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:02 AM

It all depends on how you are feeling, have you driven long distances before and have you driven long distances at night before.

We did Canberra to Brisbane and Brisbane to Canberra in 2011 during the night and it really messed with us. It was hard to do and we had to change drives every hour and a half which wasn't really great for the passenger to get a rest.

We have just did the Adelaide to Canberra trip (13 Hours) during the day with an almost 3 year old, and I must say it was so much better than doing the trip through the night. We left about 4am and arrived about 5.30pm.

I would recommend doing the trip during the day, as you will feel more refreshed and would be safer since your not driving tired.

Edited by jupiter123, 27 November 2012 - 11:07 AM.

#15 lozoodle

Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:09 PM

We always do this when we drive to the Gold Coast from Sydney in May each year. We leave our house at about 1am after a few hours sleep, take it in turns driving, and usually arrive by about 10 or 11. We don't really do any stops, just somewhere for breakfast and toilet for the kids at about 7am, and then keep on going. Its great, they sleep most of the way and you don't hit a lot of traffic. Plus you don't feel like you waste an entire day. When one of us drives, the other sleeps in the car.

Its usually only about 4 hours until the sun is up and then the rest is easy.

Edited by lozoodle, 27 November 2012 - 12:10 PM.

#16 Jembo

Posted 27 November 2012 - 08:22 PM

For me it depends as well on where going etc.  DP is a truck driver so is used to driving at night, however I do still think there is more of a tendancy to drift off, especially as everyone else is asleep and it is usually fairly quiet.

Also depending on area, wildlife are out, and if where we are, you could hit a cow, also quite a few trucks drive at night as well.

We tend to do the up at 4 am thing as well if we need to be somewhere with more time or have a long drive.

#17 JRA

Posted 27 November 2012 - 08:24 PM

QUOTE (sparassidae @ 27/11/2012, 10:24 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I agree with Ferdinand. Driving at night is dangerous, your body is used to sleeping. All the "stop revive survive" stuff says stick to usual awake times. Sure get up a bit earlier for a good start, but no way would I risk trying to stay alert at 3am while driving a car full of my loved ones!



And as Jembo said, depends where you are driving the wildlife can be a huge risk as well.

#18 Shellby

Posted 27 November 2012 - 08:37 PM

I agree with Ferdinand. Driving at night is dangerous, your body is used to sleeping. All the "stop revive survive" stuff says stick to usual awake times. Sure get up a bit earlier for a good start, but no way would I risk trying to stay alert at 3am while driving a car full of my loved ones!

I also agree with this. We do early starts, but in saying that I'm normally up at 4am for work anyway and Dh by 5am - so starting at 4am is like normal day for us.

When I was a child we drove from Coffs to Melbourne couple times a year and Coffs to Bowen (just past Airlie Beach QLD) and I know a couple time we tried the drive overnight and it just wasn't worth it as everyone was tried as you don't sleep well sitting up, it would get dangerous anyway and we end up pulling over at 2-3am and then stuck sleeping in a car instead of a motel. So we did it in 2 trips, start at 4-5am finish by 3pm then start again the next day.

#19 schoolmum

Posted 27 November 2012 - 08:49 PM

I second leaving early. We would regularly do 800km drive with two very young children, on outback highways. It was safest for us to leave early, about 5am,as we had 2hrs of dirt road to drive, and to avoid roo's we would do that before sunrise. We would then stop for breakfast, change nappies (yep they were that young) and get in day clothes. Then stop for an early lunch, and then get to our destination early afternoon.
Driving overnight will mean that you will both be feeling very average once you arrive, not a good way to start a holiday.

#20 Isolabella

Posted 27 November 2012 - 08:50 PM

QUOTE (Ferdinand @ 27/11/2012, 09:45 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I wouldn't drive through the night unless you're a shift worker and used to staying up through the night. Tiredness is likely to take over otherwise.

I would drive 6am-6pm instead.

I do the drive Syd-Melb by myself (with DS) semi-regularly. It's an easy drive during the day, but as soon as it starts to get dark I feel super sleepy. I leave at 6am and get there about 4pm without any dramas.

We do Melb to Sydney and back four times a year. We leave 7-8am and arrive 6-7 pm. Have three kids. Now 3,5,7 but have been doing this drive since the middle one was 6 m old

#21 lizardqueen

Posted 27 November 2012 - 09:09 PM

Not worth it, it's not safe to drive at night when you are normally asleep.  Besides, if you arrive completely shattered after driving all night, you end up wasting your first day of your holiday sleeping anyway.  I haven't been able to sleep in the car since I was a kid.  I'm not convinced my kids would sleep in the car either.

We generally just get up at 5-6am and do most of the driving early in the day when we're fresh. On a drive to Qld we stayed overnight at Coffs Harbour.


#22 Feral Grey Mare

Posted 27 November 2012 - 09:17 PM

My aunt and uncle did this from Shepparton to Newcastle every Christmas starting when their three kids were under five. The cousins slept almost all the way and were awake once they arrived. Aunt & Uncle then slept while rest of the family looked after the kids.

#23 bluecupcakes

Posted 28 November 2012 - 02:28 PM

Thanks all for the replies it has definitely given me more to think about.  The majority of our travel is on the Hume Hwy but there is about 2 hours through bush to get on to the highway and the same to get off the highway so the wildlife thing does bother me.

I was all set to do the drive on the Sunday before Christmas just leave early and arrive in the afternoon / evening.  Now MIL has decided she has her heart set on taking the kids to the carols that evening so is putting the pressure on us to come earlier.

I really didn't want to travel on the Saturday as DP only finishes work on Friday and I wanted a day at home for him to relax and me to get organized!

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