How to Survive a Road Trip with Toddlers

surviving a road trip with toddlers

Happy Tiny Tuesday, friends! You guys, I can’t believe my girls go back to school next week! It honestly feels like summer just started and now it’s coming to a close. No complaints over here though as we made the most of our summer. From pool time to exploring more of Dallas to road trips, we had a blast! And yes, I did say road trips – plural. I swear that every time I do a long drive I promise myself I’ll never do it again. And then a year later I find myself planning yet another road trip.

This past July I took 3 consecutive road trips with my girls. Another way of saying this is I drove 14+ hours each weekend in July. Sounds crazy, right? It kind of is. For some reason all of our vacations landed in July this year and all of them had to be road trips. The first one we drove to Houston to visit my brother. The second one I drove my girls to Missouri to see my grandparents and then on up to my parent’s lake house in Wisconsin. And the final road trip was to Colorado to go camping.

Although I complain from time to time, I actually don’t mind road trips that much. I grew up taking road trips and so did my husband, so we both have fond memories of it. We also feel like there are just certain vacations where a car is needed due to gear. For example, when we go to the beach we drive because of all the beach toys/equipment. The same thing goes for camping. And every single summer we take at least one of those trips. So, our girls have been going on long road trips since they were babies.

Taking annual road trips with our girls from the time their were babies until now has given us ample time to perfect it. Over the years we’ve figured out the best way to survive a road trip with toddlers.

road trip survival tips:

  • dvd player + headphones – I am the first to admit that because of mom pride I was totally against dvd players in the car. That is, until my friend told me of the blissful road trip they had because of dvd players. Before investing in a set of dvd players, we borrowed from a friend. Oh my gosh guys, if I could recommend one product for road trips, this is it. Each girl has their own dvd screen with their own set of headphones. They watched movies the majority of the ride leaving us in silence. Silence! This allowed Trav and I to listen to podcasts, talk and actually hear each other, and listen to mommy and dadd music.
  • books – dvds don’t last for forever, so we brought a couple books for the girls to look at when they got bored.
  • water bottles and more water bottles – this is a tip I got from my mom. Pack water bottles for everyone. Then pack everyone an extra water bottle so that when you run out, you have a back-up! This not only keeps everyone hydrated, but it ends up saving you some money when you stop for food.
  • snacks/cooler – let’s be honest – kids are hungry all the time. So, to avoid tantrums and avoid stopping for food every 5 minutes, we packed two snack bags! One large bag contained enough snacks to feed an army. Then we had a cooler with extra drinks and snacks that needed to stay cool. It made it super easy to pass off snacks whenever they got hungry.
  • blankets – comfort is key! – we brought pillows and blankets for each girl to make sure they were cozy. This also decreased things they were able to complain about. Haha.
  • backpack of toys – we allowed each girl to bring one backpack full of whatever they could fit into it. This kept our car from feeling cluttered, but it also gave them options of things to play with.
  • TP – never say never, guys! It is highly likely that one of your kids won’t be able to make it to the next gas station. So, have TP on hand for those road side emergencies.
  • easy shoes – this is key. Put on shoes or sandals that are easy for your kids to take off and put on themselves. We put keens on our girls.
  • paper towel roll – spilling is inevitable with kids. Be prepared.
  • mini bag of change clothes – to save yourself from rummaging through bags and repacking the car, make a separate bag. We packed one small backpack full of a pair of change clothes and extra panties for each girl. Again, you never know what could happen.
  • grace – lots and lots of grace. Road trips are hard for adults, so they seem doubly hard for kids. There will be some tears, probably some complaining, and probably some yelling. Give them grace. 🙂

I hope this helped you guys! Please let me know what your road trip tips are in the comments!