5 Tips for Road trips with Toddlers

This was another post that got a way from me. I’ve had it in our drafts shortly after moving to Tucson in December 2018. We drove from Seattle, Washington to Tucson, Arizona. These tips are still relevant and we continue to follow them any time we’re in the car for long periods of time!

1. Lower your expectations

Before kids, my husband and I would drive for 12 hours a day with minimal stops. I knew this would not be possible with Emilia and it would not make for a fun ride. We planned to drive in two hour increments, a max of eight hours a day, and to stop driving at least 2 hours before Emilia’s bedtime.

2. Be flexible with their schedule and follow their cues

It is very easy to get off-schedule when traveling with kids and I try my very best to keep her on her routine. Emilia normally goes to bed around 7-8pm but on our first travel day, she had so much energy after we stopped driving, she did not show any tired cues until 9pm. Rather than stress about being off schedule and try and force her to bed, we used that time to play and explore our city for the evening.

3. Frequent breaks

We used Roadtrippers to plan out our stops about every two hours. You can filter the results to show hiking trails, playgrounds, eateries, and points of interest, etc. We tried finding playgrounds and short trails for us to stretch our legs and break up the monotony of the car ride. I highly recommend uploading your itinerary to the site and seeing what pops up along the way!

4. Use a toy basket/bin

We brought two baskets full of toys and plushies. We knew driving for hours would get pretty old for our daughter. She ended up loving flip-the-flap books, a wallet with old cards, board books, her animals she slept with, an empty cup, and water bottle.

5. Snacks

We packed a little cooler with tangerines, babybel cheese, water, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We also had bambas, simply pressed Kind bars, and bananas.

On our way to Sterling, AK!

Essential Items

Lusso Gear Car Seat Organizer for Front or Backseat with Red Stitching Great for Adults & Kids Featuring 9 Storage Compartments for Toys, Magazines, Tissues, Maps, Books, Documents, Games & More This is a great organizer for all your on-the-go snacks. We currently have it in the middle seat between Emilia and Benjamin’s car seats. It keeps items easy to reach and from moving about in the car!

Enovoe Car Window Shade – (4 Pack) – 21″x14″ Cling Sunshade for Car Windows – Sun, Glare and UV Rays Protection for Your Child – Baby Side Window Car Sun Shades These were great for blocking the sun out of Emilia’s face.

Skip Hop Style Driven Backseat Baby Car Mirror, Black This mirror attaches to your head rest. I feel secure when able to see Emilia in the back seat, especially when eating a snack.

Munchkin Snack Catcher, 2 Pack, Blue/Green We packed her cereal and cheddar bunnies in these cups. They are great if you don’t want food all over your back seat!

Munchkin Miracle 360 Sippy Cup, Green/Blue, 10 Oz, 2 Count These cups are great for on-the-go! We use them daily when out and about and they’re great for the car. The only time liquid splashes out is when Emilia throws them on our tile floor.

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