Traveling with a Toddler + Road Trip Essentials

Today’s post is all about traveling. In particular, traveling with your toddler. I got the idea to post traveling tips because I recently went on a long road trip with my daughter to visit family and wanted to share some things that really helped along the way.  I have made many road trips in the past and at this point in my life I am actually starting to enjoy them. In some weird way, there therapeutic. But this was actually the first time I had traveled with just it being the two of us. Luckily, I have to say, both the trip there and back were as smooth as I think they could possibly be. Seven hours in a car with a 2 1/2 year old was a journey to say the least. Before I left, I planned ahead as much as I could, which I don’t always do, and wow, what a difference it makes. 🙂  So I put together all my road trip essential items, including a kid’s packing list, snacks, activities, and simple tips for easy travels. 🙂

::Packing List::

For the journey ahead, with a  little one, it’s important to be prepared. From the messes, the tantrums, and keeping them constantly entertained, you have to be ready for anything. Before any trip I love to make a packing list. (I love to make lists in general, lets be honest) Having everything listed out for you and your toddler is such a big help. It’s the worst, when you get to where your going and you realize you forgot to pack something important, like your toothbrush or worse yet your undies. So I put together a list format that you can click and printoff, with everything listed in different categories. This packing list, in particular, is for young kids with plenty of space to customize  for everything you might need.

::Packing Tip::

After making your list, lay it all out. Outfit by outfit, paired with shoes and any other accessories. I do this for myself as well, when I pack,  just so I can see exactly what I need. Once it’s all laid out and ready to be packed away, put the little extras together. Meaning, pack undies, bows, socks or hair ties together separately in bags to keep it all organized.

:: Things to keep close by::

  • Paper towels
  • Pull ups
  • Wipes
  • Change of Clothes
  • Toys / Movies / Activities

Having the essentials close at hand is key. For any spills, accidents, mishaps along the way, these are the things you need to keep, preferably in the front seat.

Toddlers = mess, it’s just a fact

::Activities for the Road::

  • Mess Free Magic Coloring book & Play Pack (You can find these at target)
  • Movies (+ DVD player)
  • Snacks
  • Favorite Toys
  • Books

Pack activities that will make less mess. The mess free magic coloring books are amazing and keep a busy kid occupied for a good while. As for movies, if you have a DVD player this will make the drive easier and keep your kiddo entertained. I took 4 movies on our trip but we ended up only using one.

For snacks, keep it simple. Don’t get things that might upset their tummy, and have a good balance of starchy foods, sweets, and drinks. I only say this, because I have made the mistake of getting to much fruity snacks for the road, which only ends in potty accidents. :/

So think ahead as much as you can.

::Long Road Trip Tips::

Leave early-This is a very helpful tip when your traveling with a toddler, or traveling in general. Getting an early start makes the drive seem to go by way faster, and your kiddo tends to sleep a little longer as well. We left at 6:30 a.m. for our trip and it made such a big difference.

Plan out your Route- Although this can be hard to do, especially if it’s a new place your traveling too, it’s important to have a plan. Know your route and plan out pit stops. With things like weather and construction this doesn’t always work out, but figuring out stops to make for getting gas, bathroom breaks, and just getting their wiggles will help.

Stop to Eat and Play- Plan some time outside of the car. I know this will make the journey longer but it will be more enjoyable, trust me. Making one long pit stop to eat and get your toddler moving, will help you keep your sanity on the road. Packing a lunch to eat at a park, or my favorite, finding a McDonald’s with a playground is the best way to get them moving and ready for rest of the trip ahead.

Make nap time count- The more they sleep while traveling, the longer you can keep on trucking alone without any disruptions. Knowing when they typically nap is a great way to plan out the day. For instance, after we made our lunch stop and she played for a bit, and then nap time was shortly after. It made the drive a little more easy for her and for myself.

Phone Apps- This is something I always use as a last resort. It wasn’t until the last 30 minutes of our drive, that my daughter started to get frustrated, so I handed her the phone with some educational apps to keep her calm. It’s not my favorite thing to put my kid on a phone but in some cases, like traveling, it helps.

So if your in a bind, here are some links to apps for toddlers. They are FREE & educational!!


colors for kids


123 colors

puppy (fisher price)


I hope some of the tips were helpful. Comment below if you have any other tips I didn’t mention that you would like to add. I would love to hear them.

Thanks for stopping by!! & Safe travels!!


1 Comment

  1. 08/24/2017 / 10:57 am

    I always look for tips when travelling with kids. Got some nice ideas from you too 🙂

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