Do your future family vacation plans include long road trips? Traveling with toddlers is trickier than it seems. Traveling can be a new experience for young children, and they are unaware of how to behave during longer drives during a road trip. So for that, I have some great tips based on travels with my own children.
It’s important to carefully plan the trip when traveling with kids, but especially when you have a toddler on board. Planning and packing for a road trip are similar to flying with toddlers. It’s more than just having a packed diaper bag and carrying sufficient snacks. Here are my tips on how to prepare for a road trip with your toddler.
How to Road Trip with a Toddler
If this is your first child, it can be confusing for you to keep it. They may start crying at unusual times, sometimes without reason. So, the following list will provide you road trip with a toddler tips:
1. Carry Food and Snacks
Toddlers seem to get hungry in short intervals, and most of their tantrums come from hunger. Therefore pack and carry snacks that they like. This helps ensure they get healthy snacks and helps you avoid fast food drive-thrus. Finger foods can be one of the best distractions for toddlers. Apart from their regular meal that includes cereals or boiled vegetables, give them delicious new treats, they will keep them engaged for some time. Food is one of the road trips with toddler essentials. Get some of our favorite healthy travel snacks here.
2. Read the Stories
We all know that children love listening to stories, the case is quite similar to toddlers on a road trip. If you have a road trip with a toddler packing list, be sure to add some storybooks (both in print and audiobook) to it. Before the trip, read stories about where you are going and about being on a road trip. During the trip, you can easily create an exciting diversion when you read stories to them. They get engrossed in the story and forget about the car and the road. This can be a good distraction from the monotonous road. Stories often help them fall asleep. You will have some peace during their nap time. Toddlers tend to throw fewer tantrums when they have been well-fed and well-rested. Road trips with kids will always be fun with some exciting stories.
3. Plan Fun Activities
Plan for activities that can be done in the car. Carry travel games, toys, and books that will keep them occupied in the car for hours. You can give them window clings or coloring books if they are the kind of activities your toddler enjoys. If allowing crayons, be sure the back seat has a car seat protector. You can also allow for screen time and watch movies or cartoons on a dvd player or digital device. Cartoons seem to keep them occupied for a long time. Any interesting activity will keep their attention off the road. Remember to add some good music to your road trip with a toddler checklist. Music keeps your baby happy and controls their restlessness. You can play some soothing music to help them fall asleep and to calm their nerves. Babies can get quite worked up in a new environment; therefore, some familiar music will always help them stay calm.
Related: Want to Take a Classic Road Trip with Kids? Get these Child Oriented Planning Tips for a Route 66 Road Trip
4. Keep It Short
If this is your first road trip with a toddler, it would be best to keep the duration short. Do not engage in trips that extend over several hours. Your toddler may get car sick and extremely restless. Wait till they get accustomed to the new experience and then slowly start taking longer road trips. When you are ready to take long drives, plan frequent pit stops along the route. This is essential if your child is potty training. A few minutes at a rest stop or even a gas station will let everyone stretch their legs and work off some energy before you carry on with the trip.
Related: Here are some great US Road Trip Destinations with Kids
5. Driving at Night
Night-time means that your toddler will spend most of the time sleeping. Their biological clock compels them to sleep even if they are in a car and traveling somewhere. Toddlers also tend to stay calmer when driving at night due to reduced heat. Therefore, if you want to take a road trip with a baby, consider traveling at night.
Try to carry some lavender essential oil, as it has a calming effect. Packing a bib is always advantageous as it will keep your baby’s clothes safe. Carry a teether or something they can suck on to help them fall asleep quicker. You may also want to take a baby oil with you, massage it when your child starts getting restless.
A road trip for a family can be a fun and exciting experience. Therefore pack all the essentials before you set out on the trip. Maintain a road trip with a toddler checklist, this way, you will not miss out on any essentials.
Toddlers demand a lot of attention, and they deserve it. After all, they are the youngest and the newest member of the family. Therefore, they should get pampered and taken care of. Do not force or scold your toddler for anything during the trip, take some time, and explain their mistakes to them.
Find more travel tips and destination inspiration:
- The 5 Best Moab RV Parks For Your Type of Vacation Experience
- 20+ U.S. Road Trip Destinations with Kids You Don't Want to Miss
- Make It A Weekend Getaway – Westin & The Dallas Galleria
Author’s Bio Amalia Liberman is a wife and a mother of two as well as a novelist and writer, the author has been featured in Women's Health magazine and also written different articles in lifestyle magazines. Her passions lead her to search out knowledge with all her searching and she doesn’t mind sharing her findings.