Road Trip with a Toddler

This winter we packed our bags and hit the road to Florida.  We had planned to stay for a few weeks, but then it turned into 3 months – and was the best decision we have made in a long time!  Below are a few tips and suggestions for traveling the long distance with a toddler.

  • Break up your dive.  If going a long distance like NYC to Florida, consider overnight stops. We did Baltimore (Family), Raleigh (1 night), Savannah (2 nights), and arrived in Boca.  On the way up we did Amelia Island (2 nights), and Charleston (our 2 nights turned into a week). I would then recommend Richmond to NYC.
  • Use nap time for driving.  While I have heard of people driving overnight, that wouldn’t work for our child.  Or our own mental well being. I would recommend eating a great breakfast and letting the little one run around.  Then, get in the car and hit the road about 1-2 hours prior to nap so that you can get in a good chunk of a drive. Once baby is asleep, its smooth sailing. You can then plan to stop for lunch once they wake up and hopefully you will be close to your next stop! Every child is different so do what is best for them, which is often different than what is best for you.
  • Pack Snacks. Sometimes my toddler is most entertained by eating.  Stopping at a rest stop just to grab animal crackers is a waste of time.  Have those packed. Some of his favorites to have readily available are: ANNIES fruits snacks, Yogurt pouches, fruit pouches, pre packaged goldfish and crackers.
  • Allow for TV time. We rarely bring out the ipad to entertain our son.  This road trip was an exception on the longer drives. He was highly entertained by Fisher Price ‘Little People’, Blippi, Caites Classroom, and anything with cars and trucks. We also did some coloring, played with toy cars, ‘danced’, and played ‘I SPY’ to pass the time.
  • Use the same pack N play through the trip. I know it’s easier to have a crib already set up at the hotel.  However, bringing your own and having the same one each night will make for an easier adjustment since your little one will feel a sense a familiarity.
  • Use packing cubes.  When traveling with a toddler (or not), they are a great way to stay organized and separate clothing.
  • Pack a ‘road trip’ bag separately from your ‘vacation bag’.  We had so many clothes for all different weather. But we didn’t want to bring our huge luggage in for the one night stops.  So, often times we would combine our clothes together into a separate weekender.  This way we didn’t have to lug around a giant suitcase in and out of hotels.
  • Fill up the gas. The night before traveling, ensure your gas tank is full. It is one less stop you will have to make.  However, if you do stop during your drive, take the toddler out of the car and use the 5 minutes for a leg stretch.  It was more helpful to him than I would have thought.
  • RENT BABY GEAR.  We used the company BABY QUIP to locally rent things that we didn’t want to bring with us.  This was a great way to save space and still have everything we needed.  Use code SHELBY10 for a discount off your first order.
  • BE FLEXIBLE.  Things may not go according to plan.  Leave extra time, keep a smile, and go with it! Enjoy the ride!

As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions and follow me on IG for more tips @TravelFitLove.

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