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10 tips for traveling with toddlers {roadtrip}

10 tips for traveling with toddlers in_the_know_mom #oursummerjourney

This post of 10 tips for traveling with toddlers is sponsored by Safety 1st. 

Happy Labor Day Weekend! Road-tripping with kids can be a daunting task, especially with a toddler or two in tow.  The key to a successful car trip is to be prepared for everything… especially meltdowns.  What is it that keeps your toddler happy?  Whatever it is, bring 2 of each!  The summer may be ending but traveling is not… we’ve got a lot of adventures left in 2014 so pack up the car and let’s head out on the road!

#oursummerjourney in_the_know_mom tips for traveling with toddlers

Gabe’s in.  Let’s go!  That’s one comfy looking car seat!

#oursummerjourney in_the_know_mom #husvarphoto

My 7 year old is an easy traveler.  At this age, all she needs is a bottle of water, a couple snacks and her Nintendo 3DS.  Oh and the iPad.  Easy.  My 19 month old, not so much.  He’s what we call high maintenance.  It’s been awhile since I had a toddler, so I’ve been re-learning how to cope with this cute yet trying age.     Rule #1: always be prepared.

#oursummerjourney in_the_know_mom tips for traveling with toddlers

10 Tips for Traveling with Toddlers

  1. Pack convenient food and beverages and make them accessible -> I’m not an advocate for convenience-packaged foods because I find them wasteful and unnecessary… except in the car.  Kids need to be able to grab and eat, if the packaging makes them less messy — BONUS POINTS.  This is why I love juice boxes and squeeze pouches.  Keep these items within reach of the kids.
  2. Prepare for mess -> Bound to happen, right? Kids create mess, especially little toddler boys, so be prepared.  I keep wet wipes on hand in several places throughout the car and a hand towel for larger spills (though I say a little prayer I won’t need it).
  3. Create a designated trash bag -> With all of these packaged foods you are going to need a trash can/bag.  Not to mention the used wet wipes, napkins and other garbage that accumulates on a road trip.
  4. Entertainment.  Have it -> Best case scenario, have movie-playing capabilities in your car.  It isn’t that costly to have after-market screens installed and they make life a LOT easier when road-trippin’.  Also remember handheld devices for app games and books, as well as your kids favorite toys.  My toddler doesn’t care much for the majority of his toys, except books.  He LOVES board books, so I always bring a few.
  5. Keep them comfortable -> Dress them comfortably and make sure to have an air vent open and flowing in the back; bring a blanket for chilly times.  Better not forget any special binkies, bankies or stuffed friends… for Gabriel it is his bunny and pacifier. Most important, put them in a safe, cushy car seat like the Safety 1st Advance SE 65 Air + Convertible Car Seat.
  6. Make a toddler-friendly playlist -> We are a music-loving family.  We don’t fight too much for the TV remote, but we DO struggle with the music controls.  Toddlers tend to love music just as much as the rest of us, so pay attention to what they like.  It doesn’t have to be The Muppets soundtrack (though that’s always a favorite).  My boy loves reggae island music — something about the beat that gets him bouncing, so I made him his very own playlist to make the miles fly by on car rides.
  7. Give him a break -> Stop for breaks often.  Get out of the car at rest stop parks and let the kids run around.  Sitting in a car, all of that energy is building up and they need to let it out!  Pack a frisbee or soccer ball so the whole family can participate.  Bonus points: pack a picnic lunch.
  8. Plan to travel over naptime -> Do the rest of the family a favor and plan your ride so it covers naptime.  Better yet, travel at night and they can sleep the whole time!  Remember to bring all sleep essentials.
  9. Engage them -> Often times toddlers are a bit ego-centric and they do not like to be ignored.  Avoid hurt feelings and meltdowns by regularly talking to your toddler.  Ask him/her questions even if they are not talking yet.  Encourage older kids to play with the younger ones.  At your next pitstop, switch seats and sit in the back with your kids for a stretch.
  10. Relax, mom -> No one is happy if mom isn’t happy.  Remember to pack for yourself, something we often forget to do.  Being a parent means thinking of others before yourself, but factor your comfort in before you hit the road.  Grab a good book, plenty of water, snacks and wear comfy clothes… whatever you need to have a zen trip!

#oursummerjourney tips for traveling with toddlers

If Gabriel is happy, we are ALL happy! As long as he has snacks in the cupholder and board books on his lap, he is good to go.

#oursummerjourney in_the_know_mom

Our final summer journey is a trip back up to Joshua Tree where we just can’t seem to stay away from for too long.  The drive is beautiful as we head through the windmills and desert landscape.

#oursummerjourney in_the_know_mom

With a fully prepared car, we had two relatively happy kids all day.  With them content, all that was left to do was enjoy the beautiful scenery on the drive through Joshua Tree National Park… ending in a pitched tent for a night of camping under the stars.  Perfect way to end Summer ’14.

#husvarphoto joshua tree in_the_know_mom

 What traveling with toddlers tips do you have?

This trip, and all future others, has been made way better with the Safety 1st  Advance SE 65 Air + Convertible Car Seat… a big cushy (and safe) throne for baby boy.  I’ve never seen a baby sleep quite so comfortably in a car seat before, and that’s a big deal! Love me some sleeping babies! Learn more about the seat at Safety 1st and keep in the know by liking Safety 1st on Facebook.

#oursummerjourney 10 tips for traveling with toddlers


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  1. […] Literally the only “toy” that can make my son stop and sit is a book.  He LOVES board books.  Hey, if he’d rather sit and quietly look through books as opposed to banging on plastic light-up toys, so be it. = ) Board books are perfect for roadtrippin, which I talk about it my post yesterday: 10 Tips for Traveling with Toddlers. […]

  2. Owen's Mom
    September 1, 2014 at 8:48 pm — Reply

    What a cutie!! Kids are all so different, but every Mom learns to be prepared with entertainment and snacks. My oldest is the high maintenance one. Luckily my current toddler is a dream! But I wouldn’t go anywhere without plenty of snacks.

  3. September 1, 2014 at 11:30 pm — Reply

    What a cutie!! Kids are all so different, but every Mom learns to be prepared with entertainment and snacks. My oldest is the high maintenance one. Luckily my current toddler is a dream! But I wouldn't go anywhere without plenty of snacks..

  4. September 2, 2014 at 6:22 am — Reply

    Traveling with kids can be a breeze if the right planning is done ahead of time. I love your great tips and your photos!

  5. September 2, 2014 at 6:24 am — Reply

    I actually miss those days. Toddlers bring such laughter to any trip…

    • September 2, 2014 at 12:11 pm — Reply

      Yes they do — and thank you for reminding me how lucky I am!!

  6. LisaLisa
    September 2, 2014 at 6:39 am — Reply

    Love the pictures! I try to be prepared too when it comes to traveling with the kids. Planning ahead makes the travel so much smooth, great tips!

  7. September 2, 2014 at 6:58 am — Reply

    Great tips, I give my kids their own backpacks so that there are no messes. Snacks are a must!

  8. September 2, 2014 at 7:00 am — Reply

    These are some good tips! When my nephew was a toddler we always tried to tire him out before car trips so that he would sleep most of the way!

    • September 2, 2014 at 12:13 pm — Reply

      AH! I should have added that tip — great one — a fierce game of tag before a car trip does a world of good!

  9. Danielle K
    September 2, 2014 at 12:01 pm — Reply

    Excellent tips! Giving them a break is a big one for us when we travel. We try to plan our road trips to have fun places to stop at for an hour like a park or something.

    • September 2, 2014 at 12:15 pm — Reply

      Great tip!! We like to stop at parks and playgrounds too if we can find them… better to plan ahead. Smart girl!

  10. September 2, 2014 at 12:10 pm — Reply

    Your photos are amazing, I could take my eyes off them, they looks so professional , great job!

    • September 2, 2014 at 12:45 pm — Reply

      Thanks so much!! We do have a legit photography business separate from the blog that bleeds over into my posts =)

  11. September 2, 2014 at 12:13 pm — Reply

    Awesome pics!! You make it look so easy, haha! We find that traveling long distances at night, when the kids are usually asleep is the best route for us. That way they’re not miserable the entire time. I love all these tips though, especially making movies available while driving. That always keeps ours entertained!

  12. dedezoomsalot900300623
    September 2, 2014 at 12:43 pm — Reply

    Love those pics! Woody looks very happy to be going along for the ride. I totally agree with having a DVD in the car if at all possible. Sure, there are times when you should just unplug. But in the car, it’s a lifesaver!

    • September 2, 2014 at 12:51 pm — Reply

      All of my rules go out the window for roadtrips with kids! Wasteful convenient food packaging? CHECK! Kids glued to the movie screen? CHECK! = )

  13. September 2, 2014 at 12:55 pm — Reply

    Great tips, this came in handy when I was traveling with my son.

  14. September 2, 2014 at 1:20 pm — Reply

    Terrific tips! I agree on the timing. We always let our kids stay up late the night before, then we’d leave early in the morning and the kids would sleep a chunk of the trip away.

    • September 2, 2014 at 1:32 pm — Reply

      Another great idea!!! I think I vaguely remember my parents doing that a lot before our beach trips!

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