How to Travel with a Toddler

Going on a trip can be an exciting adventure for the entire family but it can also cause a lot of stress when you are traveling with a toddler. There are ways to make a road trip with a toddler more enjoyable but it takes some planning.

Pack Snacks and Drinks

A well fed toddler is a happy toddler. Make sure you have some of your toddlers favorite snacks to eat in the car or at rest stops. Bring plenty of water and juice. These can be kept in a cooler along with any perishable snacks. Crackers and pretzels are always a favorite but they can leave behind a crumbly mess. Cut celery, apples, grapes, and pears make wonderful snacks on the road. Bananas may be a favorite at home but they bruise easily and can become overly ripe in the heat.

Take Plenty of Breaks

A toddler cannot sit in a car seat for more than a few hours at a time. Make plenty of stops along the way to allow your toddler to stretch his legs and wiggle around. Many truck stops and gas stations along well traveled roads have playground equipment that can help your toddler to get some energy out. Being strapped in a car seat for too long can put your toddler at risk for blood clots. It will also give you a headache listening to your toddler scream for a break.

Plan Ahead

You cannot plan for everything but the more organized you are the better your trip will go. Know where your toddler is going to sleep at night while you are traveling so that you don’t have to make sleeping arrangements with a tired toddler. Make a packing list to be sure that you have not forgotten anything important.

Take a Comfort Item

If your toddler has a comfort item, such as a stuffed animal or a blanket, make sure you bring it with you. Your toddler will sleep better while you travel and adjust better to change if they have something that is comforting to them.

Bring Entertainment for the Car

Your toddler will enjoy traveling in the car much better if they have something to entertain themselves with. If you have a portable TV system, bring movies that hold your toddlers attention. Music can relax your toddler and help them fall asleep or can provide some entertainment watching Mom act crazy singing the words to the song.

It is hard to predict how your toddler will react while they are traveling but try and take care of yourself and get enough sleep each night so you are prepared for whatever happens. You may have a few toddler meltdowns but don’t let that spoil your trip. Enjoy the time you have with your family and don’t let the small obstacles that come up stop you from having fun.

photo by sean dreilinger

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    We recently took our son, who’s nearly three, on a road trip from San Diego to Phoenix. We played kids music and audio books. We brought along his favorite stories and a few toys. Coloring books with washable markers (crayons would melt). And we definitely stopped for lots of breaks. We held onto the movies for the last leg of the trip. Worked like a charm!

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