6 Tips for Road Trips with Toddlers

Planning a road trip with a toddler on board? Use these tips to make your trip stress free and fun! These easy hacks will keep everyone happy on your next family road trip.

Traveling with little kids is never easy. But with a little preparation and planning, you can make a road trip manageable and even fun with your toddlers.  I've picked up a few tricks to help you get ready and stay (mostly) sane when hitting the road with toddlers on board.

This post contains affiliate links. See my Disclosure Policy for details.

Planning a Road Trip with Toddlers


1.  Plan your trip around your toddler's schedule as much as possible. Toddlers are creatures of habit and keeping them in a routine makes life so much easier.  My kids are good car sleepers, so I always plan to leave right before nap time. They usually fall asleep pretty quickly and then I have a good 2-3 hours of quiet driving time.

2.  Stock up on good audio books and music. I love audio books for the car and there are tons of great choices for even the smallest listener. My kids adore the Eric Carle/Bill Martin bear books and we listen to them on CD all the time.  Or, stop by your local library before you go and stock up on tons of kid's audio books for free!


I'm also a big fan of Amazon Prime Music for kid's songs in the car - there are thousands of songs to choose from and you can also add in your own music to create your perfect playlist. Plus you can try it free for 30 days!

3.  Find green space along the way. If you're taking a longer trip, plan ahead and map out parks or playgrounds on your route. Allow extra time to stop and let the kids stretch their legs. Yes, it will take longer to get to your destination but everyone will be much happier.


4. Pack snacks.  Skip the fast food and convenience stores and pack some healthy, fresh options. Applesauce pouches, yogurt tubes, fruit slices, cheese sticks, and granola bars are all much better choices to keep your little ones full for the ride. I have several thermal cooler bags depending on how long we will be on the road - a lunch bag size works great for shorter trips or I'll use the a bigger one like this for an all day adventure.

5. Be flexible. The first rule of traveling with toddlers is that things will not go as planned. They will decide not to nap, or insist on only eating the one snack that you didn't bring. In the words of Elsa, let it go. Take a deep breath and do your best to stay sane and drive safely. It might mean a break for mom at the Starbucks drive through. Or an extra stop at a park. Take your time, you'll get there!

6. Give them something to do. Yes, you can turn on a DVD or the iPad and let them zone out (and I admit to doing this when I need to). But I also make sure they have a few non screen activities packed up and ready to go too. I have an organizer like this on the back of each of our front seats so I can keep a supply of small books and activities tucked away for when we need it (and the iPad fits in the top clear pocket, just in case).

I also always bring our Portable Dry Erase Drawing Kit on all our road trips - it is so versatile and keeps my kids entertained in the car or if we need to stop at a restaurant.

The Ultimate Family Travel Planner

Planning a family vacation? Check out our printable Family Travel Planner! It has everything you need for a stress free and organized trip. Click the See More button to check it out!




Check out what's new:

Laura R

Thanks for stopping by! Stay in touch by subscribing to my newsletter or connect with me on social media below.

3 comments:

  1. Good tips! We travel Up North (i.e. to a cottage on a lake, which is located in Northern Michigan) for a week every summer. The trip is about 3-4 hours, so I am always looking for ways to keep my little one entertained. We do strive to go during part of nap time, although she isn't really a great car sleeper.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We should travel together :) Audio books & green space are MUSTS on our trips too! I think it's the rest stops in Iowa that have awesome playgrounds when we're driving in the Midwest. Excellent tips!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for allowing me to share your post in my traveling with kids roundup. It will go live November 12th!

    ReplyDelete