Road Trippin’ with Babies and Toddlers

A 2 hour snooze sure makes the miles fly by!

Traveling with little ones, no doubt, takes a bountiful supply of grace and patience. We’ve had our fair share of travels by plane, train, and automobile with Jemma in tow … starting with a train trip at 3 weeks old, a plane at 1 year, and countless road trips in between. I wouldn’t count myself an expert on any travel situation (especially since every child reacts differently to travel at different ages), but I have logged enough hours on the highway that I wanted to share a few of my favorite tips for road trip success.

  • Prepare a Schedule – Knowing what you’re getting yourself in to is half the battle of a road trip. These tips are all definitely road trip winners:
    • Leave home with a full tank of gas
    • Route your trip and know your back-up plan
    • Know your gas and food stops along the way, plan to run and play and use up some energy when you have the opportunity
    • Aim for your long stretch to be during a for-sure naptime or even better, bedtime
    • Know that things will change! Be flexible and enjoy the journey :)
  • Pack Less-Mess Snacks – Sticky hands, spilled liquids, utensils … no thank you! Think less mess when packing road trips treats. Here are some of our current faves:
    • Dried fruit
    • Granola bars without chocolate bits, melted chocolate is the worst to clean up … I know
    • Squeeze pouches with yogurt or fruit purees
    • Bite-size crackers like goldfish and Annie’s bunnies
    • Marshmallows – Jemma’s new favorite treat
    • Cereal
    • Veggie sticks
    • Pre-filled sippy cups, and lots of them!
  • Pepper Them With Interactive Activities – As you know, little ones play in 10 minute increments … if you’re lucky. Have lots of options within arm’s reach and be ready to keep the fun rollin :) We’ve had good times with these activities:
    • Puzzles and games with magnetic pieces
    • Peek-a-boo flap books
    • Etch-a-sketch
    • Educational movies or just new episodes of favorite ones
    • Milestone surprise bags filled with $1 store trinkets and other treasures
    • Make an I-Spy Bag
Last, but not least … my #1 tip! Bring an extra pair of hands! An aunt or grandma is perfect. Aim for someone who will be excited to sit next to your little one and sing songs, read stories, and monitor snacks. Seriously, if you can, pack a helper for sure!
That’s that … my handful of ideas for those of you brave enough to trek onto the highway with your littles! As my Dad always said while pulling out of the driveway for road trips – Traveling Mercies!  

What are some of your kid-friendly traveling tips?

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I was compensated for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.
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  1. says

    We're prepping for a 2 week trip to Yellowstone and back here in a few weeks. 18 hours each way. Total rite of passage with a 5 and 2 year old. Wish us luck! And/or sanity!

  2. Ktsberg says

    Any tips for flying? We leave for Hawaii in 8 days!!!

  3. ThatMamaGretchen says

    We flew when Jem was just a year – she did well, alternating between short naps, reading books, watching movies, and eating snacks :) Pack lots of options and hope/pray you can score one of the rows with an extra seat :)