We had taken trips with Artie before, when he was a baby, but it was time for his first road trip as a toddler! Road tripping with a toddler is a lot different than traveling with a baby, they sleep less and move more… a LOT more!
When preparing for our trip I knew we would need to plan more breaks than before, but I wasn’t sure what else to expect when road tripping with a toddler. After several successful trips with my toddler, I am excited to share my tips for road tripping with a toddler!
Make A Plan
My very first road trip with Artie as a toddler was also my first SOLO road trip with Artie! We were meeting my parents at the beach and Dad had to stay behind for work.
I was so nervous the week before my trip. What if Artie had a meltdown halfway through our trip and I was stuck with an unhappy toddler in a town where I knew no one?! Am I the only mom who thinks of the worst case scenario?
Having a plan made me feel so much better. I knew we would need to take breaks for Artie to stretch his legs, and I knew when he usually takes his nap, so this is what I built our trip around.
I planned a stop at Chick-fil-A, an hour and a half into our trip. This gave us time to eat, potty, and get all of that energy out! Chick-fil-A is a great place to take a break with your toddler, they have great food, nice play areas, and clean restrooms!
For longer trips your toddler will need more breaks, so try to plan ahead so you aren’t stuck with no place to stop. Even a quick walk around a convenience store can help!
If you have time for longer breaks check the cities you are driving through for toddler friendly activities. Road trips with toddlers are much more enjoyable when you take your time and enjoy the journey.
Travel During Naps
Sleeping toddlers are much easier to travel with so plan your trip around their naps. Try to leave at a time that will include a nap during the drive. For longer trips consider leaving at night so your toddler can sleep through the drive. If you do travel at night make sure you have had plenty of rest beforehand!
Never travel empty handed when travelling with a toddler. You will need to bring all of the essentials and more!
Pack The Essentials
Bring along your diaper bag but also pack any other necessities your toddler may need during the drive. If your toddler will be napping during the trip bring along a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, or pacifiers. The things they usually sleep with will help them sleep in the car.
Would you want to be strapped into a car seat for hours with no entertainment? A few of your toddler’s favorite toys can help make the trip more bearable. Bring along books for them to look at or even a new toy that could keep their attention a little longer than the ones they have played with before.
If all else fails put a movie or your toddler’s favorite show. This isn’t something I usually rely on but on a long road trip letting them watch a movie is better than having a miserable toddler.
I love this tray for road trips! It holds your toddlers snacks, cups, toys, and even has a pocket to hold a tablet. Artie always drops his toys so this tray keeps everything together for him. It’s so easy to unsnap and take it off when your toddler is ready. The quality is great and it’s so easy to clean, I know it will last Artie through his toddler years.
Don’t Forget Snacks!
As a toddler mom you probably learned pretty quickly to NEVER leave the house without snacks, especially if your toddler has an appetite like mine. This is the last thing you want to forget on your packing list.
A toddler without snacks is not a happy toddler. Bring lots of snacks for your road trip! If you’re ten minutes from your next stop and your little one is on the brink of a meltdown, a few goldfish may be all you need!
As always with toddlers, road tripping with a toddler may not always go as planned. It’s important to stay calm and enjoy the journey! I was so nervous before my road trip with Artie but we ended up having a great time on our adventure together! I hope you have fun road tripping with your toddler too! I can’t wait for our next trip!
Click here for printable toddler scavenger hunts!
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