With the holiday season fast approaching, we are planning for some road trips to see family. Now that our little man is almost 17 months old (cue tears!) we travel a little differently than when he was first born. Long gone are the days of him sleeping most of the car ride and we’ve replaced those peaceful days with fighting the car seat, boredom and counting down the seconds until we reach our destination.
I make it sound just horrible traveling with a toddler, don’t I? It’s really not that bad. Sure some trips are better than others. Some days he’s a peach in the car and entertains himself with a small toy and a few snacks. Other days he can’t stand his car seat and is sure to let us know how unpleased he is.
But as I’ve told him over and over, Mommy and Daddy have to use the car seat because it’s the safest place for him to be. He usually fights me, but I at least try to reason with him (HA!).
With J’s family living a few hours away, we tend to travel on a regular basis. I wanted to share with you my tried-and-true travel hacks with you. I want you to be prepared for those long car rides you’ll be facing and nights away from home. Plus this time of year usually means the roads aren’t always the best, especially with temperatures dropping below freezing at night. So I like to make sure we have our little guy nice and calm during road trips so that it makes driving a little easier on us.
Not too long ago I shared some of my go-to tips when traveling with a baby. Now as he’s gotten older and a little more independent some of my tips have changed. But if you have a younger baby then these tips could really help you.
Let’s get into today’s post – tips for traveling with a toddler. Now don’t worry I am going to cover everything from the car ride to staying the night. So let’s do it.
What to bring in the car:
Few Favorite Toys – I typically bring one (or two) that makes noise and the rest are silent. I either bring a few balls, books or stuffed animals.
Diapers and wet wipes for any changes – I like to leave a few of these outside the diaper bag so I don’t have to dig around for an emergency stop.
Towel – in case there is a mess that needs to be cleaned up or we have to do a diaper change in the back seat.
iPad to watch movies
What to bring for overnight stays:
Pack-n-play – that way when it’s bedtime your little one has a place to sleep that’s all their own.
Blanket – it’s nice to have something that smells like home and can be a comfort to them
Favorite Bottle or Sippy Cup – my little guy still loves a bottle in the morning. We’ve been able to replace everything else with a sippy cup, but not his morning one. Since he takes medicine I prefer not to fight him just yet.
Favorite Foods – you pack snacks or non-perishable foods you know your little one likes. This works great if you’re eating out a lot or not sure what meals will be prepared.
Bedtime Routine – it can be hard to stick to a similar routine that you have at home, but try. Your little one loves having a routine and it makes it a lot easier on them if they are being put down about the same time each night and follow the same steps they would at home. For us, it’s bath, brush teeth, have some water, snuggle for a bit then be laid down.
Morning Routine – again, try to stick to the similar routine you have each morning. I know it can be hard, but just do your best.
If you plan on flying with your little one, then check out my tips here to make it so much easier on yourself and your child.