Surviving a Six-hour Bus Ride With a Toddler

My little boy turned one year last month and to celebrate this milestone, we headed to Boracay for a 4 day/3 night vacation. We originally wanted to go to Davao or Cebu but I wasn't able to get a promo flight (I'm frugal like that!) so we ended up in Boracay. This world-renowned island was the last on our list because of the travel time it entails. Travelling from Iloilo City to Caticlan takes six-hour by bus and not longer than five hours by van (passenger) or private car. We could have opted for a van just so we can arrive sooner but comfort is more important to us so we took the bus since it has bigger leg room.

Long distance travel is not easy, more so with an active toddler in tow. Parents need to have a variety of tricks (or pakulo!) to keep the little one entertained thus a drama-free commute. I am sharing here what we did...

  • Bring toys and books. Bringing his favorite toys or books may give him a sense of familiarity but bringing something new can keep him entertained for longer period of time since he is curious about the new stuff. While buying a new one is the common option of parents, borrowing from cousins or friends is another option if you are on a tight budget. If for some reason, borrowing is not an option, you may want to keep a favorite toy a week or so before the trip and take it out during your commute when necessary. The logic is, you let him "miss" the toy so he will be excited the next time he sees it.
  • Bring a variety of food. Our boy is a voracious eater. His eyes sparkle each time he sees food or hears a plastic wrapper being torn open. So when he starts to get fussy on the road, we would give him biscuit to munch on. During our trip to Boracay, I think we brought around five varieties of biscuit so when he got bored with biscuit one, we gave him biscuit two, etc.
  • Mobile devices. I know we shouldn't be overexposing our little ones to gadgets but desperate times call for desperate measures. 😁 Before the trip, we loaded our mobile devices with nursery rhymes and installed apps such as Kidloland in case we need "reinforcement" during the six-hour travel.
  • Make use of stopovers. When our kid is awake during stopovers, we made sure to get off the bus not just to pee but also to let our son walk for a few minutes or at least look around unfamiliar views. Kids have short attention span so a new sight, sound or taste even for just a short time can make a difference.

The moment we arrived home after our vacation, I was beyond thankful that we didn't encounter any major problem during our bus ride. These four tricks indeed helped a lot!

Do you have more tricks to share? Please add it in the comment section below...


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