Sunday, May 6, 2012

Road Trips with Toddlers

This month we will be taking a road trip. Normally an eight hour drive to Washington D.C. will be more like 10 to 11 hours with a three year old and a five month old. It will be the longest road trip with kids to date! Honestly, I'll take all the tips I can get, so fire away in the comments!

[above: Baby E with her older cousin Baby A, sitting on grandma's car!]

I can handle a two or three hour drive with kids - easy! Leave before nap time, boom! They're asleep and you're practically there when they wake up. This on the other hand... will get very interesting. We're contemplating leaving at bedtime and driving through the night because it seems it would be more relaxing for everyone involved, not to mention avoiding traffic sounds splendid. Thankfully both my husband and I are pretty easy going people, we take life as it comes. We don't panic, we handle stress pretty well, so I'm not worried. But as I have learned being a parent of littles, you need to be prepared for things to go smoothly. 

I'm not going to share my entire packing list with you so I don't bore you with the details, but here are some things we are taking that are must haves or nice-to-haves for a road trip with small children.
  • Snacks: My kids are always happy when there is something in their mouth! Yours too? This goes without saying, ample snacks make for a smoother trip and happy bellies. We love nuts, dry fruit, olives, baby carrots, cheese, and crackers to name a few.
  • Sippys: They are always hungry and of course always thirsty. Dehydration can cause headaches among other things, so to enjoy your time away stay hydrated - kids included. We absolutely loved our Safe Sippy 2, but we lost it and I'll be buying one for this trip for Baby T while Baby E already uses a stainless bottle from G2V, I highly recommend it for older toddlers. 
  • Gadgets: I'm normally not a gadget person, but I'm all for some technology if it means keeping your toddler from crying or being restless in the car. We're taking our Vinci tablet!
  • Potty covers: If you have a toddler in the middle of potty training, or one like Baby E that is completely out of diapers and trainers, disposable potty covers are a must for public restrooms. Look for ones that are long in the front and cover all sides so that your baby doesn't touch the toilet. We like the Green Sprouts, they are waterproof, plant based, and petroleum free.
  • Eco disposables: I usually advocate for using cloth diapers on vacation, and we did last time. But for shorter trips and hotel stays it just would not be a good idea. I highly recommend the Bambo Nature diapers for short term travel, they rock on absolutely every level (except maybe the price).
  • GPS: If you don't have one yet, you must get one if you're traveling with kids. If you're by yourself, sure you can pull over... take your time... find your way... use an old fashioned map... With kids, you must.get.there.now! They don't like to wait. Ever. It will save you a lot of hassle and will pay for itself with peace of mind. Just make sure you double, triple check your address entries!
  • Sun and Bugs: Nothing like a gorgeous vacation day spoiled with pesky pests or a sunburn. We religiously use the Badger Anti Bug Balm, ever since we first reviewed it we keep buying it every year. We also love their sunscreen. You can even kill two birds with one stone if you get the Anti Bug Sunscreen!
  • Rain Gear: Don't let rain keep you from enjoying vacation! Some ponchos, umbrellas, and/or rain coats are great to have, even if you don't get to use them. Of course if you don't take them, it will rain you know.
  • First Aid: Our first aid kit includes band aids, a thermometer, teething remedies, arnica cream, and some versatile homeopathic remedies such as arnica, belladonna, etc.
  • Comfy Shoes: A day of sightseeing can be ruined with uncomfortable shoes. I cringe when I see toddlers wearing shoes with hard, inflexible soles - it sets them up for a lifetime of foot and back problems. Soft, flexible shoes from natural materials are totally worth the splurge for your kids. We love Bobux, Little Soles, Shooshoos, and Livie & Luca.
What is your must bring gear for travel with kids?

PS: This post contains a few affiliate links for stuff we really love and use.


  1. well, if you driving with kids, although we never had long trips like that, and were planing one or we possibly will have one while moving. Having DVD player in the car if you have one helps, to cut some time and do something different to pop a movie to watch.
    Also a good CD with kids songs or a story telling is fun also. Of course lots of paper to color for toddlers.

    1. Yes, DVD is not a bad idea. I generally don't like that, but on a road trip I would be fine with them watching an hour here and there with breaks. I did think of music and forgot to put it on the list! My kids LOVE music and can't go a day without it! :)

  2. We love books on CD in the car. Maybe some of your daughters favorites can be taken out of the library :)

  3. Dry fruit works well with my child too. She loves dried mangoes and townhouse crackers. She'll eat those with her sippy cup of water and be happy for a while.

  4. We are going on a vacation soon and you had some wonderful tips I had not thought about and some reccomendations I have got to check out, thank you!

  5. Thank you for this post! We are planning on taking a trip with in a few months, DD will be 14 months (almost 15 - yikes!) So we can use as many tips as possible. Once we get to where we are going we always have a great time but she is no fun in the car haha.


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