*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using the link.
5 Helpful Tips for a Road Trip with Kids
We recently did a 12 hour trip each way with a 2.5 year old and 7 month old. I tried to prepare the best I could but there were a few things I leaned along the way. Neither of my kids are potty trained so we only had to deal with some diaper changing stops but what I’ve heard is to have a travel potty with you so those many stops can happen quickly without a nearby restroom. To be honest we should have stopped halfway but we were trying to save the cost of a hotel for a night. So in retrospect, I would have budgeted a hotel stay each way. I thought I would share a few tips that helped us and that I will remember for our next road trip with kids. I also have previously written a blog post about our trip to Disney World which included a road trip so feel free to check that out here for more tips!
Seriously the most important thing for me as a mother is to have snacks on me at all times. My toddler is a big snacker and her baby sister is learning fast. For road trips try to pick snacks that aren’t too messy for car seats. Some of our favorites are fig bars, apple sauce pouches, fruit snacks, pretzels, carrots, and dry cereal. Having snacks they dont usually get kept things exciting and fun. I pack popcorn for myself which I could share if need be as well. A special snack for the driver, my husband in my case, goes a long way as well. I also had some candy handy because this mom is ok with bribery when her toddler is having a fit and you are stuck in traffic.
I packed my toddler a bag of toys, books, coloring activities, and her tablet. She has the Kindle Fire which has some downloaded apps and movies. I’m not sure the trip would have gone as well as it did without it. Check the Dollar Tree and Target Dollar Spot for fun and affordable activities.
I also made sure her lovey was available for comfort especially during her several tantrums. Speaking of tantrums, we tried to handle them the best we could by remaining calm and considerate. It’s hard for me to be in a car for hours and hours, so I tried to remember how she must feel being stuck in her carseat.
I recommend having music that each person likes. For isntance a kid friendly CD of songs or playlist and also the drivers preferred music. That way when the kids are napping or not paying attention the driver can have some entertainment with their choice of music.
3. Planning Stops
We had the mindset we would stop every 3-4 hours if we could make it that long. Lunch would be eaten inside the restaurant to give us a chance to stretch our legs and be away from the car. Gas or bathroom stops would also be an opportunity to get out real quick and grab a fun treat maybe.
There where a couple times where emotions were running high for everyone so we just stopped and got some ice cream. Ice cream make everyone happy! Be open to spontaneous stops to change things up if necessary.
4. Wipes & Car Seat Insert
Wipes are my go to for so many things. I suggest having a pack out in the car so anyone can grab one if needed. I used them for cleaning the car seats when food got spilled and of course for dirty or sticky hands.
Both of my girls have these car seat inserts and they are lifesavers. They not only protect the car seat if your child has an accident but they also catch spilled drinks or food that falls. Their car seats were still full of fallen snacks and crayons but the insert caught some milk my daughter spilled and sticky candy remnants.
5. Quick Bag
I took a tote bag and filled it with the items I would need immediately upon our arrival it that evening for bedtime. It was also helpful when packing because it was my catch-all for those items I needed through the night and morning of our departure. Some of the items in there were: pajamas for us all, sound machines, bath essentials, diapers, and extra change of clothes. This also helped me not to have to overpack the diaper bag because I had extra necessities available for easy retrieval.
To My Daughters
Taking you girls on a road trip was not easy but watching you bond with your extended family made it worth it. We hope to take you on more trips in the future to both old and new places, making memories as we go. There is so much in this world to explore and I hope we can give you opportunities to travel and see the beauty. God has blessed us with two vacations this year full of special memories. Road trips are not the nicest or quickest way to travel, but they gave us time together and experiences shared. I hope one day to take a special road trip just us girls. Take road trips together and with your best friends.
Be adventurous and hit the road!