Taking a road trip with an infant is pretty easy. We drove about 6 hours once when our baby girl was only four months old. It was pretty uneventful. She wasn't walking or potty trained obviously...easy. The only thing we needed to think about was changing her diaper and feeding her a bottle. But the thought of a road trip as a toddler kind of freaked me out. We finally did a 4.5 hour trip the other day and it wasn't bad at all. I guess you can say we were well prepared. You don't need a ton of STUFF....just a few essentials. This is a list of things you might want to consider taking on your next toddler-family road trip. You might noticed that iPads, phones and DVDs players are not included. We decided that our little one would experience road trips like her parents did....no 21st century electronics.
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1. Fun Toys
The best way to keep your toddler occupied on a road trip is with toys specifically with their favorite toys. Take one or two of their favorite toys, within reason of course. You don't want to take things that are too cumbersome or inappropriate like bubbles or a giant teddy bear. Smaller toys are much better! Besides their favorite things here are some other ideas:
Books. You really can’t loose with books. Why not learn something while in the car.
Doll or action figure. If they have a favorite one even better.
Toddler car seat tray. If your baby likes to color these would be a great addition to your toddler car gear.
Ipads, Kindle, Tablets.
And having their own toddler backpack to get them started on being responsible and carrying their own toys.
2. Healthy Yet Yummy Snacks
If you are leaving in the morning or after lunch make sure to have a hardy breakfast or lunch so you and your toddler won’t be munching on snacks for the entire car ride. Here are are couple of snack ideas that we’ve used and have been successful. These are easy to pack! You can put each in a zip glade bag and carry in a mini toddler cooler. Love this little cooler.
Plain rice cakes
Plain, unsalted nuts like pecans, sliced almonds or walnuts.
3. Car breaks
This is a no brainer! Toddlers also get tired of being locked into a chair for several hours. Places to take a toddler break!!
Rest areas are an easy option. Let them out and all can go to the restroom and stretch your legs.
Playgrounds and Parks. While traveling and driving from Lake Quinault to Seattle, our baby girl was starting to get antsy which was surprising because she is a really good backseat car rider! We found a park near the highway. It had a toddler playground and picnic tables which was perfect for our noon lunch break. She had an awesome break until it was time to get back into the car.
Gas stations. If you are in a bind you can always stop at a gas station. Not one of the best places.
Restaurant or cafe. If your family is planning on eating out or getting coffee while on your road trip cafes and restaurants are a great place. Eat, walk around and stretch everyone’s legs.
Does your baby have a favorite blanket? Mine doesn’t but I must say that she does enjoy having a warm blanket on her legs while in the car seat. It doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter a cozy warm blankie is a must. In the summer because of the air conditioner in the car and in the winter because it’s cold outside. No need for a big blanket, a small baby blanket will do just fine. That cozy, warm feeling can sometimes lead to a car nap, which is always good!
5. Water Bottle
This is a very simple one…toddlers get thirsty and you want to be prepared for that. The best thing is plain old water. My little to this day has only drank formula when she was a baby, milk and milk with fruits, homemade orange juice and water. Train them early to love water!! Trust me it will payoff in the long run.
Here is a free downloadable Road Trip Checklist!!
6. Car Window Shade
If your traveling during a bright sunny day a window shade on their side could be the one things that could make the difference between a nap or a fussy car ride and miserable experience for all. Believe it or not there are window shades for your car passenger windows. Besides the window shade a back seat cover and carrier can be quite helpful. Not essential but could be a helpful side item for baby acessories n
7. Diapers and extra clothes.
The last few items that will make your road trip for enjoyable will be to be prepared for accidents. Diaper accidents are bound to happen sometimes but having the wipes, diapers and extra clothes within reach is very helpful. So instead of having everything packed away in the trunk or back of the car have those three items maybe on the backseat floorboard. And to prevent accidents from happening take breaks and check their diapers and change frequently. One more thing, take ziplock bags for those dirty diapers or clothes.
Finally, enjoy your road trip with these seven easy road trip hacks and remember these are moments of family road trips will be the ever lasting memories that you will always have. Being prepared can go along way in being comfortable and enjoying your road trip. Have Fun!!
Comment below if you have any road trip hacks you would like to share! I would love to hear them and don’t forget to download your checklist.