So you’ve been planning a road trip for months. You have the destination picked out. You’ve paid for the hotel rooms. You even have a daily itinerary. The only problem? Every time you even think about sticking your cute angel faced toddler in that car seat, your stomach drops a little. Let me tell ya, you are not alone! I have been where you are, and I’m here to tell ya, don’t despair. Taking a toddler on a road trip is possible!
A while back, I decided to surprise Dan and Little Miss with a trip to the big city. As some of you may know, road tripping with a toddler can get a little stressful at times. Especially if they don’t have anything to do. Or if there isn’t any stops along the way so they can get out and run off a little energy. And if they don’t eat on a regular basis, well. . . you might have World War 3 on your hands! We’ve taken Little Miss on several trips now and many day trips. Along the way we’ve learned a thing or two. Little things that make life a little more pleasant for all parties involved. Today I’m going to share a few tips for taking a toddler on a road trip.
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10 Tips for Taking a Toddler on a Road Trip
- Get lots of rest the night before. Sleep is SO important! Little Miss is normally a great sleeper, but not so much in the car seat. On our most recent road trip she didn’t get enough sleep the night before and during the drive we got a 45 minute nap out of her. Add in a restless first night and we had one exhausted little girl the next day. (Thank goodness we got two naps out of her that day!)
- Keep ’em hydrated. We use a metal reusable water bottle with a straw and lid (affiliate link).
- Snacks. Lots and lots of snacks! Take a little cooler and take along some cheese and crackers and maybe some fruit. The whenever you make a pit stop you’ve got a little something to feed them to stave off the hangriness!
- Don’t bury the diapers and wipes! When you’re trying to stuff the car full, it’s easy to bury the diaper bag. Don’t do this, because the one time you do. . .well, you know!
- Take distractions. Books, this cool reusable water coloring book from Melissa & Doug (affiliate link), notepads, crayons, pens are great distractions. Play a road trip game (affiliate link).
- Take frequent breaks. Is your toddler going on meltdown mode? Maybe she needs to stretch her legs. It’s amazing what a 15 minute stop to look for some cool river rocks will do for a toddlers disposition!
- Take extras. Extra clothes, extra coloring books, extra pens, extra this, extra that
- Invest in a 12 volt fan. Even though we had ac in our vehicle we still invested in a little ac fan for her car seat. I can’t imagine how hot they get with all that padding around them. Little Miss loved her fan!
- Don’t forget to charge the camera or phone or whatever it is you use to take pictures. It never fails: they do something incredibly awesome, you go to take a picture and the camera dies (or it dies on you in the middle of the zoo-not speaking from experience or anything!)
- Plan on having lots of patience. They’re gonna get cranky. They won’t nap when they should. They’re gonna get bored, even if they have every toy from their toy box.
Our most recent trip was a blast and we survived with only a couple of meltdowns. Those were easily fixed with food and a nap. Little Miss did really great and we look forward to taking her on lots of trips in the future. What tips would you add for taking a toddler on a road trip?