Monday, May 13, 2019

Tips for Road Trips With a Toddler

Good Morning friends! We have several trips on the horizon and are so happy that Lily Grace will be coming with us for all of them. Two of them are short enough distances that we can drive, and one of them we will need to fly to. I have already started prepping for the long car rides we are about to have with Lil and figured I'd share some of the tips I have learned from traveling with her over the past 2 years. 
Lily Grace running around St. Augustine, FL

None of these are anything crazy that you probably haven't heard of before, but these are the things that have worked like charms for us-- and our girl has made MANY a road trip! 
LG in Vero Beach, FL

1. Drive at Night-- If possible, do as much of your driving at night as you can. Devin and I try to take turns with this if we need to. We have learned that a car ride with a sleeping toddler is MUCH easier than a car ride with an awake toddler. If we have a long car ride (6+ hours), we typically try to leave Charlotte around 4:00 pm. This gives Lil a few hours to be awake, then we stop for dinner and diaper change/put on pajamas/etc. before hitting the road again. When we drove to Vero Beach, FL last summer (8.5 hours), we tried to make it as far as we could before pulling over at a hotel for the night. Then we get some sleep, a decent breakfast and coffee before hitting the road for the remainder of the trip.
Lil on the beach in Hilton Head, SC

2. Try to Find a PlayPlace in Advance-- Thank God for the internet. When we have a long trip, we try to estimate where we will be around dinner time. Then we Google to find a restaurant with a PlayPlace near the highway there. So for example, we are driving to Jacksonville, FL at the end of this month and know that we should be in Columbia, SC around Lil's dinnertime. I have already Googled to find where there is a Chick-Fil-A with a playground that isn't too far off the highway. This way we don't have to veer too far off our path in order for Lil to run off some energy. Obviously this plan goes out the window if we hit traffic, so I pack some light snacks for her if we need to buy a little extra time.
At Disney World for the Marathon 2016

3. White Noise-- If your child sleeps with a white noise machine, this is a MUST! Devin and I (and I'm sure all of you too) like to talk to each other and catch up while we make these long car rides, which can be problematic for a child trying to sleep in the back. We downloaded a white noise app (White Noise Lite) and found a sound that is similar to her white noise machine at home. We put it on one of our phones, turn it way up, and put it in the backseat cupholder out of reach. This helps to drown out both the noise of us talking, but also other outside noises as well (car horns, traffic, etc.)

Amelia Island, FL
4. Bring Books/Magazines-- When we have a big car trip coming up, I head to the library and stock up on books for Lily Grace to look at in the car. She LOVES to read (thank God!) and can quietly sit looking at her books and magazines for a solid 30+ minutes if they interest her. She is obsessed with the Highlights Hello and Ranger Rick Zoobies magazines and will read them over and over again. We just got her the older version of Hello, High Five, and I'm sure she will like those too. Sometimes one of us will read her a book from the front seat and that seems to spark more interest in the book, causing her to want to read it and reread it to herself. I know some moms do TV in the car, but LG has no interest in TV (this is both a blessing and a curse), but do whatever works for you! If your kiddo likes any movies/TV shows, this seems like a great time to let them watch!

Wrightsville Beach, NC
5. Bring Snacks-- We aren't normally a big snacking family because I find that Lil eats better at her meals when we don't snack, but when we are on a road trip, that philosophy goes out the window. If we are towards the end of our trip and she is sick of everything else we've tried to do, a snack can buy us a little time. She has a little backpack that we use as her diaper bag now and we keep it stocked with some non-perishable snacks for emergency situations. I usually keep raisins, goldfish crackers, etc. in there. I pour them into one of these cups because it keeps her from eating them too quickly.

6. If All Else Fails, Break Out the Lollipops-- If all else fails and you are trying to return your kiddo to a happy camper, a lollipop isn't going to hurt ;) We buy either the Trader Joe's ones or these YumEarth Organic ones on Amazon, but whatever works for your kiddos and family!


  1. These are such great tips. I love the lollipop idea! Thanks for linking up with Hello Monday! Tanya - The Other Side of the Road

  2. That is the last thing I need to pack for my 18 month old for the plan ride: books! He loves to sit and look at books or be read to!

  3. Aww great tips! I don't have children yet but love to read ideas for traveling with kids. How did the disney marathon go?! do you have a post on that!?

    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams 

    1. I was the exact same way! I actually ran the marathon months before I started the blog (it's still relatively new) so I haven't written a post about it. But I could easily write one now even though it's been awhile. I'll have to do that!

  4. Really cute and precious photos dear! These are great tips, thanks for sharing!
    Jessica |