Thursday, November 7

Tips on Road Tripping with a Toddler!

Dreydan is a professional traveler. His first road trip was when he was a whopping 9 days old at about an 8.5 hour drive. It's been a non-stop ride from there.
We've been everywhere from CA, AZ & all the way to AL and back. And that's driving.
These tips are things I've learned along the way that work out for not only Drey, but me as well.
Because when your toddler is happy, the whole car is too. 

one.Comfortable Attire ||
Seriously I'm the best mom, or maybe just a crackhead, but this is first & foremost in my book! If you're any sort of decent human, you can't travel in anything other than the baggiest pair of sweatpants you own. If you aren't comfortable sitting in a car for hours in jeans, neither is your child. I make sure Drey has on the comfiest undies, sweatpants & shirt that he owns. The homlier, the better{slogan for my life}. How do you know those are the most comfortable for him? The same way that crazy lady down the street knew her cat wanted be cremated & scattered across her lawn. We just know, okay.

two.Entertainment ||
This is super broad and needs like 100 sub categories. But there are only 3 I'll focus on...
  • Toys- I have a secret. When I'm going a road trip longer than like 6-7ish hours, I will hit up the dollar store and buy like $10-$15 worth of  toys. When Drey starts getting restless, I'll pass back a couple of his new toys & VOILA! instantly happy & distracted. He'll eventually get bored of those & I'll pass back more new toys. Repeat for the remainder of the trip. Once I'm back home, I toss the whole bag of used & abused $1 toys in the trash. It's brilliant & you're welcome. If you DON'T want to waste money on toys that are destined for the trash, then just make sure you're packing their favorite toys. Common sense, right? You'd think so, but some people are stupid... Before you leave, let them help you pack a "special" bag just for their road trip toys. Keep it convenient & accessible in the car so when you need to swap toys, it's right thur.
  • Books/Coloring books- This goes hand in hand with the toys. On some of our longer trips, I've bought Drey a couple books about being on the road and traveling and he just loves it! He gets so excited that the characters in his books are doing the same thing he is. Simple minds make for simple entertainment haha. If you don't want to buy anything, just make sure you let them help you choose which books of theirs will accompany them on the trip. It makes them feel important. And then when they fight with you about not wanting "that one!" you can argue back with "you picked it!" And then you win even tho they don't understand it. But it's okay because deep down, you know it. Holler.
  • Electronics- Dreydan has a Leappad, Leappad Reader, iPod Touch, & a portable DVD player. I'm not bragging, I'm actually embarrassed now that I'm talking about it. Eeesh.. These aren't necessarily my favorite, but on road trips, they're heaven! However, they are my "last resort" entertainments. When he's bored of crashing his cars, killing dinosaurs, reading books, & just won't sleep, I'll pass back the iPod or start a movie for him. Don't forget the headphones! Happy child, happy travels.

three.Snacks! ||
I'm sure you all know this. Snacks are important when traveling on the road. Throw a toddler in the mix, and they become an absolute MUST. Dreydan takes after me and has a compulsive snack eating disorder when he's bored. It's a real problem that I made up, Google it. Now, I don't know what kind of parent you are, so I'm not going to tell you what kind of snacks to pack. All I'm going to say is this, if you're going to keep them cooped up in a car, let them have special treats! Maybe snacks they wouldn't normally get at home. Give in, be cool & let your toddler be free! I let Dreydan pick his road treats every time & these are some of his faves: Fruit Gushers, GoldFish, anything chocolate, cheeto's, chocolate, chocolate & any sort of candy made of chocolate. And if you're wondering if I deprive him of chocolate, I totally don't. That boy eats chocolate for breakfast. All I'm trying to say is, have lots of snacks & make sure they are either their favorites and/or picked out by the child themselves. Done.

four.Frequent Stops ||
I can drive all day & only stop when I need fuel. I'm just cool like that. But when you have a toddler, it's crucial you let them have breaks. They need to stretch their legs, walk around for 5 minutes, get some fresh air, pee, diaper change, whatever you need to do. Rest stops along the freeway are always a good place to take a break. For the most part the bathrooms are clean and I feel safe. Elderly couples everywhere... if that doesn't make you feel safe I don't know what will. Unless you're in rural Missouri. Don't stop anywhere in rural Missouri. And don't be that crazy person yelling WE NEED TO KEEP MOVING! You sound and look like a fool. It's okay to lose an hour of your drive because you've had to stop 3 or 4 times to let the little babe run around. They'll be happier about getting back in the car, which makes your drive from A to B go very smoothly.

five.Car Vitamins ||
When I was little my mom would give us "car vitamins" while traveling. It knocked us kids right out! I loved them. I felt better, was happier & I never threw up. I have thee worst vestibular system. I don't know what that means or what it consists of, but I've diagnosed myself with it not working right. Dreydan has the same problem. He gets car sick very easily & I have to pull out the Dramamine. I always have the car vitamins handy because I know that look on his face when he's not feeling good. The first time I gave it to him was on a flight to Alabama. He was 10 months old & his pediatrician assured me he would be okay with a little less than half of a pill. He totally was. Here's a tip within a tip: If you choose to give your child Dramamine, they have orange chewables available! I'd suggest those. Keep the cold air on their body & make sure they're comfortable. If you don't "feel comfortable with pills", then enjoy cleaning out their carseat full of throw up and the lingering smell that lasts for days... Been there, f&#k that.

six.Deep Breaths, Be Happy! ||
We all get grumpy when we're stuck in a car. Tantrums & fussing are inevitable. And you know what? It's okay! Don't get upset with your babies when they're having a grump grump moment. Take a few deep breaths, remind yourself how long you've been in the car, & put yourself in their position. Not literally... that'd be retarded to squeeze yourself in their carseat. But if it helps you feel better, then who am I to say no. If they're not happy with a movie, their toys, snacks, whatever.. stop and take a break. I can't stress it enough tho, don't get mad. It'll put a bad juju on the rest of the trip and it doesn't help your child feel any better. Most of the time it's the adult that needs a break. So check yourself before you wreck yourself. Fake it till you make it. Word?

These tips are sorta molded around Dreydan. He's high maintenace & bossy.
But I think the overall idea of them will help you and hopefully your first/next road trip will be a success!

Did this help anyone? Maybe give you a little insight?
Anyone have any tips for me?! I always love to hear how people keep their babes happy on long trips.
Lets face it tho, your child will probably never travel as well as mine. I'm sorry.

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  1. Love these tips, especially hitting up the dollar store for toys. Pinning this post for future use- we are flying to WA state (cross country) with our little guy who will be a little over 18 months by the time we go. Eeeeee I'm already terrified.

    1. Thank you for pinning! I flew with my little boy when he was 10 months old and I slipped him a little Dramamine before the flight and he slept the entire way. I had treats and snacks ready for him in case he woke up but never did! Good luck with you flight!

  2. these are definitely great tips! I love the $ tree toy one also. and the chocolate... so funny.

    1. Thanks! Yes, dollar stores are my best friend ;-))

  3. once my husband gave my kids dramamine on a flight and he didn't realize they weren't the chewable kind. my kids did not appreciate that when they bit into them!
    great tips!

    1. Hahaha! I bet! At least it has the same effect tho, right? Haha
      Thanks for the comment, Dara!

  4. Thanks for the tips! our daughter is only 7 1/2 months but we have already take 3 4hour trips. It's been easy so far, but I'm sure it's a whole different world with a toddler.

    1. I think it was harder traveling with Drey when he was between like 5-12 months. He was MUCH more needier and I had anxiety about him sitting in his diaper for too long... So far, he's been an awesome toddler traveler.

  5. As a father of 21-month-old twins embarking on what WAS an 11-hour drive home (without kids) to visit family, this is a gold mine of advice! Thanks for the tips!

    1. Wow, thank you! I don't have twins, but after driving for 2 days in a car with cousins the same age, make sure they have identical toys! We had to stop and duplicate toys {and a couple books} for both boys because it was like WW3 had started when one had a toy the other didn't. They were beyond spoiled to say the least ha.
      So if your little ones are anything like my son and his cousin, you'll want 2 of everything haha.
      Thanks for the comment!

  6. Lots of great ideas here! I wrote a post about taking our 3 year old on a plane trip and what we did for him:

    We have an iPod for our kiddo, too. Sometimes it's embarrassing that he has his own, but it is a savior. I got it from a swap of services (I baked their graduation party cupcakes, they gave us their old iPod.).

    Visiting from the Let's Be Friends Blog Hop!