Taking a Road Trip with a Toddler

We love to travel! Road trips, both big and small, have a special place in our hearts. When our daughter was tiny, she was pretty easy to just pack up and take anywhere we wanted to go. Now that she is firmly into the active toddler stage, things have gotten a bit more challenging, but definitely not impossible! Today, we want to pass along some tips that we use to pull off a successful road trip with our toddler.

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Pack Accordingly

Packing is an essential part of road trip preparation. It is important to make a list in advance so that you do not forget anything that you may need. While exactly what you will need to pack will vary trip by trip, we have a few items that we do not leave without! One of our most essential items is our daughters iPad. Her grandparents gave it to her mostly for car trips! If you do not currently have a tablet for your toddler and are on a bit of a budget, the Kindle is a great choice as well. Depending on the age of your little one, coloring books are also a great thing to bring. Our next road trip essentials are snacks and drinks. You can stop along the way to buy both of those things, but it just costs so much more. A soft cooler can keep your drinks cool without taking up too much room. Lastly, we like to be prepared with a first aid kit, sunscreen, and a flashlight. You never know when something might not go as planned.

Plan For Additional Stops

You will want to stop much more frequently than you would if your toddler was not on the trip with you. Even if it is not time for a diaper change or potty break, small children need time to get out and move a little bit.

For Longer Trips, Drive at Night

When you are taking really long trips and have two adults who can drive, traveling at night is a great way to cut down the time you have to entertain your toddler. It also will get you to your destination faster and save money because you will not have to pay for a hotel. There are a few drawbacks to this, like that you may miss out on seeing some sights along the way, so you will have to decide if this is the best driving method for your family.

We hope these tips can be helpful for your next road trip! Do you have a tip you’d like to share with us? Please leave it below!

14 responses to “Taking a Road Trip with a Toddler”

  1. I also think just having the absolute lowest expectations. LOL. We always go in like “well this is going to be terrible” then we are usually surprised

    1. I think low expectations of experiences like traveling are pretty important in general when you have a young child!

  2. Taking trips with babies and toddlers can be very difficult. Especially when they are tired and cranky.

  3. I agree that taking road trips with toddlers and babies can be very stressful. Especially when they are cranky and tired.

  4. I see your comment!

  5. I can imagine traveling with a toddler would be quite trying. I don’t have kids of my own, but my nephew is two and has totally hit the terrible twos, so I can imagine a road trip with him would be a little nuts.

  6. Driving at night has never worked for us, my boys don’t sleep much in the car. But the way we pack always makes the biggest difference. I keep a bag at their feet with a quick change of clothes, wipies, snacks, and things like that so they are quick to get to.

  7. YES ON SNACKS!!! And we try NOT to have our kids do electronics in the car, so we always stack a bunch of new books for them. And since one is prone to carsickness (esp. with electronics, even if she has her motion-sickness bands on), also the kiddo Dramamine and (in case THAT fails) several barf bags from various plane trips over time lol…

    1. Motion sickness is rough! I get it badly from reading while moving, but so far, my daughter has not gotten sick in the car. We will likely do more books in the car when she stops trying to eat them!

  8. I’ve never road tripped with a toddler but I can’t imagine it being easy!! We usually listen to an audio book when doing anything longer then 20 minutes and I am not sure how well a child would like that!

  9. My toddler is a wonderful traveler. I always try to travel at night because he’s a great car sleeper.

  10. All of those make a lot of sense. Although I have to admit my daughter did pretty well from a young age. The hard part wasn’t that we had to stop, but that we had to stop at the most inconvenient of times.

  11. Francisca Garreton Avatar
    Francisca Garreton

    Thank you so much for sharing these handy tips! I am traveling with my nieces and these tips will come in handy!

  12. Some very good tips here for sure. Travelling at night is a great one and can imagine saves on money too xx

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