How to Have a Happy and Safe Road Trip with Toddlers

image001Family road trips are a longstanding tradition. Whether it’s taking a trip to grandma’s house for the summer or traveling to the beach during spring break, road trip with toddlers is a fun and great way to save on the cost of trips for the entire family. However, when you are traveling with small children, especially toddlers, there are few things you will need to take into consideration.

7 Ways to Have a Happy and Safe Road Trip with Toddlers

1. Safety Is Your First Priority

Your child’s safety is the most important aspect of any road trip. Make sure your child’s car seat is installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Many businesses, including hospitals and health clinics, will install your child’s car seat for free or for a nominal fee. When embarking on a road trip with young children, it is always a good idea to keep extra provisions, such as non-perishable food items, water, and a first aid kit, in the vehicle at all times. Make sure your cell phones are charged, and you may even want to invest in a hand-crank style emergency charger.

2. Make a Plan

As with any trip, you will need to make sure you have everything you need on the day you plan to leave. Plan your trip well in advance of your departure date. If you plan on renting a vehicle, a good choice (if you have a large family) is to make the reservation for the vehicle up to several weeks before you plan to leave, depending on the availability of the type of vehicle you are choosing to rent. Allow yourself enough time to pack, and make all the necessary arrangements.

3. Choose the Travel Time Wisely

You child’s sleep and play schedule is the key to minimizing the stress that can be caused by a long road trip. Try to be on the road when your child is sleeping to allow yourself some uninterrupted drive time. If you are not too tired, you can even try driving into the evening hours when toddlers are more likely to be nodding off. Another option could be that you would set out extremely early in the morning while your children are still sleepy. Either option can give you up to several hours of peace and quiet, while your children catch some much needed sleep.

4. Split up the Trip and Stop Regularly

A major bonus of taking a family road trip is that if you need to stretch or stop for any other reason, you can simply pull over! No matter how many activities you bring, riding in the car for hours on end can be boring. Your kids will need a break. Make sure you allow yourself time to pull over and get out of the vehicle. This strategy will make the trip more bearable for your children and can save you from pulling out your hair after being in the cramped confines of a vehicle for several hours.

5. Prepare Plenty of Food and Drinks

When you embark on a long road trip, you are going to have to plan for hungry children! While stopping to grab a bite to eat during breakfast or dinner might work with your travel plans, stopping each time someone gets the munchies will cause some major delays. Make sure you pack a variety of snacks for your family to enjoy along the way. Dried cereal, dried fruit, nuts, and granola bars are a few good options. Avoid things that may spill easily or cause a big mess. Allow your kids to bring spill-proof cups and refill them from a larger container of water or juice.

6. Keep Your Toddler Entertained

There really has never been a better time to be a kid in the backseat of a car on a long road trip! There are so many activities available, from high-tech apps and electronics to car-friendly versions of classic board games. There is sure to be something to keep your children entertained for hours on end. Whichever entertainment options you choose to provide, you can keep things interesting by rotating toys and games and encouraging turn-taking if you have more than one child. A portable DVD player is a great option if your children are into movies or music.

7. Get Planned with the Possible Quarrelling Beforehand

Traveling with young children can be a challenge. You can avoid some of the pitfalls of traveling for long periods of time by ensuring that your children are well-rested and well-fed. Recruit older siblings to help keep younger children happy by providing them with snacks and entertainment. Infighting between siblings is normal part of everyday life, but that quarreling can be magnified when they are in a confined space for long periods of time. Make sure each child has their own set of supplies and give them frequent breaks to get a little space.

Watch this video and find out some great tips for road trip with toddler:

Pack These Things to Survive the Road Trip with Toddlers

As important as it is to make sure you have everything you need, it is equally important to make sure you can access all your travel necessities. You don’t want to be digging through hastily packed bags while your toddler is in the middle of a meltdown.

  • Pack separate bags with snacks, toys, change of clothes, and toiletries.
  • You may want to bring a portable potty if your kiddos are potty trained. Public toilets can be few and far between on long trips, and even when you come across them, they’re not always the most sanitary places.
  • Pack carsick bags or plastic grocery bags for in-car emergencies and pillows to keep everyone comfortable.
  • Keep toys and snacks in separate, easily accessible bags.
  • Stock a small cooler with reusable ice packs to keep drinks and snacks cold.

All Categories