I sit here slowly regaining my own personal sanity from an 8 hour road trip with a toddler. We started off 2019 with a family trip to Tahoe. My son is a very active 4 year old and my husband hates flying. So naturally we decided to road trip it — all 8 hours of it. It actually worked out better to drive because it kept our travel costs down. We were able to pack freely. Snow gear is always bulky and being in the snow for a week, it really helped to pack up the truck with everything.
We actually just did some New Years organizing with these crates to organize everything we don’t need on a daily basis. We put all of our snow gear in one so whenever we go to the snow, we just pop the whole crate into the car and viola!
Surviving a road trip with a toddler is easy…
..If you’re prepared! Luckily ‘prepared’ is my middle name. I’m writing this blog to share my simple tips on how to survive a road trip with a toddler.
First things first…
Leaving early in the morning was a godsend. So doing that, we got Cash to bed early the night before. We stopped for coffee and breakfast about 1 hour in. Breaking up the trip into smaller increments really helps. I remember the flights I used to take to China, Japan, Switzerland, etc, felt shorter than trips to the East Coast. Why? Because the flights overseas break up the duration in smaller increments. There are movies, ice cream breaks, lunch breaks, layovers, and snack breaks. Flights over seas keep you way more entertained than US flights.
So we got Cash so breakfast and the next hour was all about breakfast. I really like stopping at Starbucks because the food is healthy, they have a drive through, and good coffee. I get the sous vide egg bites, a soy cappuccino, and a breakfast sandwich for Cash.
We also made a stop for lunch where we got out of the car, ate a long lunch, and did jumping jacks before getting back in the car.
The real secret though…
Was this tray table and activities for Cash along the way. I let him pack a backpack full of toys he wanted to bring. Since his tray table has a race track on it, he was able to play with his cars. I also packed his iPad, an activity book, and crayons. Since we left early, Cash took a nap after lunch which helped with the drive. I introduced new activities whenever he got bored.
This is pretty much what our road trip looked like:
8:30am – 9:30am: excitement of the roadtrip
9:30am – 10:30am: Starbucks breakfast
10:30am – 12:45pm: iPad time
12:45pm-1:45pm: Stopped for lunch at Holy Smokes BBQ
2:30pm – 3:30pm: Food coma/nap time
3:30pm – 4:30pm: crayons, activity, and singing the ABC’s 20x
The key to a successful road trip with a toddler is change
Kids need change of scenery. As a parent you can sneak in new changes of scenery without your kids even knowing. Keep activities handy and the iPad charged. I know some parents aren’t a fan of screen time but if it’s educational, is it really that bad?
Along with my easy tips and tricks to surviving a road trip
I’ve complied a couple road trip snack recipes to keep you guys on the road longer so you get there quicker!
1. Crunchy Air Fryer Chickpeas (+ the oven cooked method too) via Recipes From a Pantry
2. Healthy Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Granola Bars via Soccer Mom Blog
3. Make Ahead Starbucks Protein Boxes via Carmy
4. Healthy Green Gummy Snacks via Soccer Mom Blog
5. Vegan Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats via VegAnnie
6. Nutella Peanut Butter Muddy Buddies via Dancing Through The Rain
7. Strawberry Shortcake Bites via Bake Me Some Sugar
Hopefully your road trip is as seamless as ours. The best advice I can give is to plan ahead so you’re making as little stops as possible while entertaining as much as possible!