Family road trips are some of our most fun and memorable adventures. Road trips with a toddler can also lead to some of the most stressful adventures. Well not anymore! With the help of some family travel experts, Mommy And Me Travels has gathered the top 12 tips for traveling with toddlers by car to help make the ride more enjoyable for all. You can use these tips for taking day trips, overnight trips, or even heading out on an extended family adventure.
Update: 4 June 2020
These tips assume that you have already covered the essential packing items that you need for your toddler. Some of those essential travel items that you should keep within reach of you for your trip are diapers, wipes, their binky (pacifier), and a change of clothes for your toddler.
For Those Long Road Trips With Toddlers
1. TRY TO HAVE A CO-PILOT! – It’s less stressful if you have a co-pilot to help navigate, read road signs, and manage the phone, snacks, and music selection when you are on trips with toddlers. Having a co-pilot also allows you to switch off driving and sitting in the back of the car with your little one. While on a road trip with a toddler sometimes they just want to hold your hand and be part of the action and having a partner on the trip allows to avoid some of the fussiness. – Captivating Compass
2. DRIVE WITH SLEEPING KIDS! – We love to leave super early in the morning if we know we have a long haul drive ahead of us. If we can leave at 3am, then we get the first half of the drive under our belts before the kids even wake from their slumbers!!! If you are more of a night owl, then consider driving overnight so that the car trip with your toddler is while they are sleeping all night. – Gadsventure
3. BRING THE COMFY STUFF! – Bring comfy stuff like pillows, blankets, their lovey (stuffed animal)! You definitely don’t want to be on a long road trip with a toddler without their favorite stuffed animal. As a bonus, toddlers (and adults) like to snuggle and take naps on long car rides and these items sure do help. –Disabled Disney
Road Trip Food Ideas For Car Trips With Toddlers
4. BRING WATER! – Only bring water, do not bring flavored drinks. If you do, your toddler will chug them and you will be stopping to use the restroom (or change a diaper) every 30 minutes. We love our spill proof insulated cups to keep water cold. – Tips From a Typical Mom
5. GET YOUR SNACK ON! – You can never go wrong with extra snacks. When you can’t find a restaurant or you’re stuck in traffic it will be snacks to your rescue every time. We skip anything sugary or messy and always have wet wipes and a towel within reach. Use bento containers to keep snacks separated but full of healthy choices. – Full Time Field Trip
6. PLAN A PICNIC! – Picnics are a wonderful way to experience the outdoors with toddlers. Even busy motorways can have attractive rest areas or amazing small town parks. Plan ahead, bring a cooling picnic bag, and enjoy some memorable lunches. Bonus, for your long car ride with toddlers, is this stop will allow for your little one to burn off some pent up energy too. – World For A Girl
Travel Activities For Toddlers
7. SEMI-TRUCK HORN HONKING! – Our favorite travel activities for toddlers is a game where he is trying to get the semi-trucks to honk their horns. You play this game by moving your arm up and down as if you were pulling the string for their horn. He gets a big kick out of it and also is focused on finding “another big truck”. – Mommy And Me Travels
8. I SPY! – On the list next for road trip games for toddlers is I SPY. This game is easy to play and will keep your toddler entertained for as long as you are willing to play. Start by saying “I spy with my little eye something (insert color)”. I always try to pick something easier for them to guess like the color of their shoes. Then when they guess their shoes, praise them, and tell them it is their turn. Friendly tip… don’t get frustrated with them when they say something red as you are passing a stop sign. They saw it at that time but you won’t now. Just remember stop signs are read and guess it. They are toddlers after all. – Mommy And Me Travels
9. PACK THE TOYS! – You will probably need to pack at least 3 or 4 toddler road trip toys. Toddlers will get tired of sitting in the car and bored with the things you brought. Rotate the toys between different games (a few ideas above). A few of our favorite toddler road trip toys are the Baby Shark Mess Free Coloring Set, Hide & Seek Alphabet Pop-Up Board, a few Toy Cars, and (of course) an electronic like the Fire Kids Edition Tablet. We also use our Kids Travel Toddler Car Seat Lap Tray. The tray is a must for traveling any distance and trying to keep a toddler entertained. – Mommy And Me Travels
Frequent Breaks During Your Road Trips With Toddlers
10. HAVE A LOOSE AGENDA! – We love a very loose agenda when road tripping with toddlers – with time and freedom to stop in an interesting looking shop or café, or run across a field. We often take breaks in small towns to get coffee and snacks, interact with locals, and learn about their town culture and history. – World Wise Kid
11. TAKE STRETCH BREAKS! – Make sure you stop every two or three hours and let the kids out. When you stop for gas or a bathroom break, let the kids run around for a few minutes. It might make the trip longer, but it will be better for everyone to get out and stretch their legs. – State by State
12. HAVE AN ADVENTURE! – Make the journey and its stops part of the adventure. There might not be much between St Louis and Indianapolis, for example, but spending half a day to walk around the world’s largest attractions in Casey would be a really memorable adventure for the whole family! – Dandelion Seeds Positive Parenting
Final Thoughts On Road Trip With Toddler – 12 Tips For Traveling With Toddlers In Car
These tips of road trips with toddlers from well-seasoned travel mommies, will have you armed and ready for your next road trip family adventure. You can also use these great ideas for your kids that are a little older. Do you have other ideas to share? Have you tried any of these and had them work? Let us know below in the comments and we can help each other out for our trips while traveling with a toddler in cars.
Have more questions or want more ideas? Join our Family Facebook Group: Little World Adventure Travelers.
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