Saturday, May 8, 2010

Things I've Learned Traveling with a 15 Month Old

Traveling with kids doesn't have to be complicated. But let's face it, it is! With toddlers there are even more challenges. When my daughter was an infant, road trips were easy, she slept the entire time even during two hour drives. Now that she in the 'in-between' stage, it takes a little more imagination on my part. She can't face forward yet, she doesn't sleep the whole time, and in addition her 40 to 50 word vocabulary makes communicating tough. So here are some things I've learned the hard way with a child this age so that you don't have to. The sippy cups, snacks, diapers, napkins, and clothing for every type of weather can really make your head spin. Keep it simple and keep these tips in mind.

Pack in advance: Even if it is just a day trip, don't leave the packing for the morning you leave! When I do, we always end up leaving two hours later than planned. Pack the night before. If you are going away for several days, pack two days in advance. Just add the little stuff you use every day before you leave. Don't even bother packing without a list, you will not forgive yourself if you forget something important.

Keep road trips short: If you are planning road trips, try to keep them within an hour drive. If it is longer I suggest a long stop over to stretch legs and have a snack. At this age a baby is not old enough to say "Are we there yet?", but old enough to have very little patience.

Don't expect help: Though it is great if you spouse or a relative helps you pack, don't count on it. I've learned that I would rather be pleasantly surprised than frustrated and disappointed. If you plan on not having help, at least there will be a realistic time frame for when to leave.

Always have a change of clothes: Even if you are just driving to a local park or someplace a short ride away, please take a change of clothes for the baby to save yourself some sanity! I don't know about you, but usually when I take some I end up not needing it, whenever I don't though - something always happens. She either gets dirty, a diaper leaks, or a car drives through a puddle next to us. It's nice to have the peace of mind that you always have something to change baby into. Don't forget to also take something warm for colder evenings.

FTD (food, toy, drink): The most effective way to distract a toddler, in our case at least, is with anything edible and a favorite soft toy. Avoid giving your baby hard toys in the car since the object may become very dangerous in an accident. Finger food that isn't too messy is a win win for toddler and you. You can also take along some music that you baby enjoys, in our case it is just classical.

GPS: We've survived for a while without a GPS (like the Garmin nĂ¼vi 260W 4.3-Inch Widescreen Portable GPS Navigator) and I know we could live just fine without one. But after a good share of "The baby is crying and we're lost", we decided it was a good investment. I'm so happy we did! I can't say enough about how helpful it is! We feel so much more comfortable now going somewhere we've never been before. Plus that leaves one less thing on my 'to do before we leave' list without having to get directions. It keeps us calm and cool and my head out of the road map. No more wasting paper on printing directions either.

Hope this helps with your next toddler road trip! Post you own tips in the comments!

Photo: Cavell L. Blood


  1. I totally dread trips with my 15 month old and a three old. I agree on all points. Pack in advance is so true. Even if we go for one day, I still end up packig for hours and having a whole car full of stuff

  2. Thank you for this!! many good tips especially the soft toy tip.. didn't think about the accident !! your a life saver (:


We LOVE your comments, please share your thoughts!

Blogging tips