This summer, we’ve gone on quite a few road trips. The first one was miserable, as I learned that a newly potty trained toddler just can’t handle long stretches of highway with not a rest area in sight. Since then, though, we’ve gotten into a pretty good travel routine. Here’s what works for us:
- Put the toddler in a Pull-Up. (Acknowledge that this will set you back a few weeks in the whole potty training ordeal, but recognize that accidents and extra laundry beat pee on a car seat any day.)
- Pack a sippy cup and at least two bottles of water. (You might think she can handle a little jug of milk from McDonald’s, but you will be wrong. And she will be wet. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.)
- Keep a basket full of rarely seen toys on hand. We have a set of toys that we keep in the car, and with the exception of a few tantrum avoidance incidences, that’s the only place Annalyn can play with them.
- Make sure you have a box of Kleenex and a glove box full of napkins. And don’t forget the wipes. I’m just saying. Messes happen, and usually when a rest stop is just a memory but your destination is still a good hour away.
- Music is your friend. And obnoxious children’s music is, unfortunately, your best friend. About a month ago, Annalyn requested “Bob music,” so we’ve been jamming to Veggie Tales for a few weeks. I swear, Junior is tone deaf, but it sure beats listening to Rubber Ducky – again.
- Snacks make the road trip! Our snacks of choice (look away, all my healthy friends) are fruit snacks, Cheerios, Goldfish and yogurt-covered raisins. I prefer the fruit because they don’t create crumbs. But any snack that involves small pieces will probably work.
- If your child is attached to a pair of sunglasses (or headband or necklace or jacket or purse – or all of the above), don’t forget them. But don’t hand them over all at once, either. Dole them out throughout the trip, so he always has something new to whine about fawn over.
- Always take an extra outfit. For both of you. Trust me on this one.
- If you have room in the trunk, pack the stroller, the pack and play, or whatever equipment is appropriate for your child’s age.
- Blankets can serve a host of purposes. Keeping your kiddo warm, giving her something to hold onto as she (fingers crossed!) naps, and in extreme cases, keeping your seatbelt strap from digging into your shoulder if you happen to wear a shirt with a wide neckline.
Did you take any road trips this summer? Do you have any tips for traveling with children?
This post will be linked to Works for Me Wednesday and next week’s Top Ten Tuesday. And unfortunately, the photo is from last year, because I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get the completely adorable road trip photos of Annalyn off my camera and onto my laptop. (Technology does NOT work for me.)
i’ve started traveling with a cloth napkin–paper never seems to quite do the trick, and in a pinch, they tie on as a bib:)
we’re potty training now…nightmare!
Smart thinking! Multi-use is ALWAYS good!
Yep, this sounds like us too ;)
We bring the DVD player now for our 2.5 year old. She loves it :)
Perfect. Can’t believe I forgot to add this to my list!
You know we did! My #1 trick: in car DVD players. I don’t like being the parent that relies on them, but if it keeps two small boys from licking each other in the backseat and Mommy from going insane? WIN.
Definite win. :) We’ll be borrowing one for our long trip this fall. No way I’d go 14 hours WITHOUT electronic entertainment!
This past summer i went on a road trip from WI to TX in Two days with my sister her 2 little girls,and dog.
#1. Don’t go camping to save money. It doesn’t work!
#2. Don’t stay at a CAMPGROUND that cost’s 35 dollars a night!
#3. Make sure if you HAVE to camp your tent is not a 2 person tent. Because there’s not much room with two adults, two girls, and a dog!
#4. Well i cant think of any other tips….. The first three should give you a good idea though!
It was a great trip though, and we made LOTS of memories!!
UGH. Camping? With a dog AND kids? No thank you! :) (But memories, yes, please!)
I also rely on the DVD player.. My parents live 2 hrs away. Nemo is my friend.. In fact, I’m making the trip today with my 2 yr old, and two dogs.. Please pray for me.. LOL.. I have the snacks packed, the DVDs in the car and sippy cup on hand… Hopefully all will go well.. I will say, I am thankful today that my son is not interested in potty training AT ALL.. Now, come Monday when we get back, I’ll be back to begging him to PLEASE sit on the potty.. LOL
We’re driving cross country for vacation this fall, and we’ll definitely be taking a DVD player!
Oh you brought back so many fun memories of when my daughter and I traveled one summer! I left KS and picked her up in CO and then we went and got her brother from WI. Then we went to KS for a family reunion and after that we backtracked. We had a ball.
My grandson, who is perfect, was in his Bob the Builder stage. He got to see all sorts of construction machines and we were traveling in the ‘tear it up season’ :-) He did not need the cd to sing Bob the Builder. He would start out all on his own in the back seat.
If we ignored him? He would sing a little louder. If we still ignored him or talked louder he would work his way up to the top of his lungs. I don’t think he even realized it. He was very good on this trip. Thankfully we were not potty training.
This summer he traveled from CO to WI to see Grandma as I now live with Uncle Randy. He brought his little sister for me to meet the very first time. We took a day trip and it was so short she slept the whole way. When momma got her home? They started the training.
Thank you for writing about this. It was so cute and brought back some sweet memories for me. I have been following your for a few weeks now. I have my blog up and running and I am going to snag your link so I can visit you, hopefully everyday!
I love you, Grandma Patty Ann
If you don’t have a dvd player you can always use an iphone, video ipod, or touch (geez am I a walking Mac commercial?). Our big road trip comes around the holidays when we travel from TX to KY. Christmas is quickly approaching!
You ARE a walking Mac commercial – and I don’t own a single Mac product! (I know. Shudder, groan and roll your eyes. But it’s – sadly – true. I am deprived.) :)
I don’t have little kids anymore but I remember the days of long road trips. Several times I drove from Canada to Texas. I always used to bring a ball or Frisbee for rest stops. That way they could run around and wear off energy at break time. I also used to use a waterproof mat under the care seat (anything spilled, leaked,dripped or peedon the safety seat ends up draining through to the car’s upholstery ( I speak from experience ;-)
Ohhh, that ball or frisbee is SO SMART! (We have a towel under our car seat. WHY didn’t we think of it sooner??)
My hubby and I are both spur of the moment people, so we keep a bag for our girls packed and in the car at all times. For long trips a DVD player is essential. We travel pretty far by car – 20+ hrs – and the DVD is my best friend.
So smart to keep a bag packed. I love that!
I learned the hard way several road trips ago: always bring a roll of paper towels. Besides that, I’m all about the DVD player, new Dollar Store toys, snacks and drink boxes. And all the gear that you can squeeze in your car (pack’n’play, baby tub, you name it!).
Paper Towels – that’s a GREAT one!