Toddler Travel {road trip edition}

This summer we took one very long road trip with Behr to Massachusetts and back. From this experience, I learned that other mothers better cut out for this stuff! Actually, I realized that there are mothers I should learn from. Now when we take road trips (even short ones), I have an arsenal of information to help me prep. Here are a few of the best tips from some of my favorite bloggers:

Schedule - hold it loosely
  • We drove 12 hours to Indiana this spring & it wasn’t nearly as trying as I thought it would be! We did five hours one day, and seven the next, staying in a hotel overnight. - Julie, Green Eggs and Hammes
  • Take your time - allow yourself PLENTY of time to arrive to your destination. Allow time to take rest stops, potty breaks, snack stops, etc.  - Lena, Mattie Mae Designs
  • We made plenty of stops with at least 15 minutes to let him stretch his legs. - Julie, Green Eggs and Hammes
Toys - keep 'em rotating
  • Have a bag full of surprises! Play-doh, new coloring books, special toys, etc, will make your little one feel like it's a treat and a special time! - Lena, Mattie Mae Designs
  • Whether traveling by air or car, I cannot stress how important it is to have activities planned for every half hour or so, especially for young children with shorter attention spans. If they know there is a plan, anticipation and morale stay high and they are more likely to be on their best behavior so that they don't miss out on the next thing. - Darcy, Message in a Mason Jar
  • I brought Levi’s Melissa & Doug magnet board with each magnet of the letters & numbers up to 10. He was super into that, and that board ended up being so valuable to us! It served as a “tray” of sorts. He would push his cars & trains around on it {I brought 1 zippered pouch full of his favorite small wheeled-toys for him to use} He would use it as a desk to color on with the coloring books & papers that I brought with us. We also brought our crayon roll, which proved to be a great companion for him! Just even pulling the crayons and sliding them back into their slots was a good time waster, but he especially loved coloring. - Julie, Green Eggs and Hammes
  • Bring one new toy to pull out the first time they get antsy. It helps immensely! One new thing was exactly what Levi needed to help him get by for a while. - Julie, Green Eggs and Hammes
Food - their preference is more important than yours
  • Stop to eat your meals. Do not try to eat in your car. Getting out for an hour or so is so important while you're traveling. - Lena, Mattie Mae Designs
  • Plan ahead with food they will like. Pack some of their favorite snacks. Our boys are pretty picky when eating out, so it is a great idea to pack food you know they will eat. A hungry toddler equals a cranky toddler. Keep those tummies full! - Kim, Lucy Jane Totes
Pack - because you've got the room
  • Baby Gates: When our boys were little and we would visit relatives, I always packed our removable gates. Think about the house you are going to visit. Do they have kids? Is their house baby-proofed? Are there steps? On one vacation, it took about ten minutes of being in a vacation rental before our two year old was walking through the house with a large knife. We were lucky to be able to gate off the kitchen...easy solution! - Kim, Lucy Jane Totes
  • Booster Seat: Meal time works much better at our destination when I remember to bring along our booster seat. Even if we are just going for a short day or weekend trip, the booster seats brings sanity to all of us. - Shannon, The Scribble Pad
  • Baby Monitor: Even now that our twin boys are five, the monitor gets packed. You may want to sit out on the deck at the beach or may be sleeping on different floors. They may wake up more often and may be scared of their new surroundings. I want to be right there to comfort them (and not wake up the rest of the house). - Kim, Lucy Jane Totes
  • Travel Crib: If you know that many trips are in your future, I highly recommend the Phil and Ted's travel crib. It is light weight, fits well into the car or trunk, and set up is easy, even if you arrive at your destination well past bedtime! - Shannon, The Scribble Pad 

Do you have any other travel tips that have saved you in a pinch? 

Other helpful posts about driving with children:
Road Trip with Kids by Darcy, Message in a Mason Jar
Car Rides with a Toddler by Lena, Mattie Mae Designs
and last week's post, Toddler Travel {plane edition}

 Disclaimer: compensated affiliate links may be used in this post.


  1. Good tips! I'm sorry I didn't respond to your request. We haven't actually taken that many road trips with Ayla yet, unless you count all the driving around from Texas to Oklahoma and back, but we usually do that during her naps. Taking the booster seat is a great idea, because so many of the places we go, they have a kid so they either have to take turns or someone ends up sitting on a lap, which can get pretty messy!

  2. Those are some great tips! I've pinned it for future reference.



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