Tips on how to survive a road trip with a toddler.


“I was surprised, as always, be how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.”  ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

The writer in me I guess chose a quote by Jack Kerouac’s great novel “On the Road” to start this post. If you have never read it I highly recommend that you do. Let’s get to the bottom of this road trip story I want to share. A couple of days ago my son (almost two years old) and I needed to drive to a garage to get our car checked out. It turned out that this specific garage was approximately 64 miles away. One way no less – so it is a mini road trip. My family totally is into long road trips driving all the way up to Canada but these tips I will share work well for any road trip – even smaller ones. My son loves being in the car and does not mind long road trips; however, he can get pretty annoying at points when he is bored, hungry, wet or all of the above. I want to share a couple of tricks and tips how I survive a road trip with my son and make it as comfortable as possible for everybody in the car. 

For us, timing is important. My son loves loves loves to sleep. He sleep currently from 8:30pm until 10:00am without waking up and crying once. (Lucky me for the time being, right?!) So I try not to schedule anything for before 10:00am obviously. The key is to make your child as comfortable as possible – meaning if you can avoid it, let them sleep and schedule the appointments in the afternoon for example. This way they are not fuzzy and getting up on the wrong side of the bed. Then again, if your baby sleeps well in the car simply plan your time with their regular nap time or sleeping cycle. For the road trip to the garage I left two hours earlier simply because of all the traffic, stops, diaper changes etc. You never know. Plan accordingly and keep in mind that you need to stop and make a break. I can drive easily four hours straight without stopping whenever I am alone. My son needs to walk a bit and stretch his legs after driving for 2 hours. 

I always change my son’s diaper before we leave. On this note, make sure to bring enough diapers and wipes!!!! Nothing worse than to run out of wipes!!!  I don’t need a changing table for him while on the road. I simply change him on the backseat which works fine for us. If you do need a changing table, make sure you plan ahead and see where the rest areas are with somewhat clean bathroom and available changing tables. Also bring a set of extra clothing for the baby. Bring some garbage bags or ziploc bags for diapers, dirty clothing etc. 

Make sure you bring enough snacks. My son is into apple juice for quite some time now so I bought these from Trader Joe’s:

They come with a little straw and he loves them. So I always bring a couple of those and keep them in the car just if you are stuck somewhere longer than expected. You should also have at least two bottles of water in the car at all times and some snacks for yourself (Road Safety 101 my husband would say!) As far as snacks, I usually bring sliced apples and some crackers/pretzels in a ziploc for him to nibble on. When he gets really hungry I have to stop obviously. 

I always make sure I take some toys. He has toys that he loves and one stuffed little fox that he takes wherever we go (My sisters’s son Pauli has a stuffed clown called “Siffi” that needed to come along at all times as well!) I never thought I would ever do this but we bought an iPad headrest mount. My son loves to watch Peppa Pig and Maisy Mouse, and lately anything Disney Channel, so I downloaded some of the episodes and I put it on for him whenever he does not know what else to do anymore. Usually he is fine just looking outside the window. (yeah, my son is pretty awesome!) 

This is all we take on a small road trip and so far we had no problems. Is there anything else you would take? Feel free to share in the comment box below. I would love to know how you handle road trips with your toddler(s). 

Safe and sane travels. 

3 Replies to “Tips on how to survive a road trip with a toddler.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.