Traveling with a toddler can be quite an adventure (and quite a test of your sanity!). But if you know what to pack and how to plan, you can enjoy the journey instead of dreading it. Here are some tips to get you started.
Use a packing list
Sometimes the most stressful part of traveling with toddlers is the constant worry that you’re forgetting to pack something important! So instead of jotting down items as you think of them on post-it notes (that are sure to get lost or colored on between now and the trip…), follow a packing list instead. Try printing a packing list like this one and check things off as you pack.
Provide plenty of things to do
One of the best ways to get through a long trip with a toddler is to bring plenty of things to do in the car and plan on making several stops along the way.
1. Bring activities along
You’d be surprised what toddlers enjoy doing in the car. Coloring supplies, re-usable sticker books, snacks, and even puppets are all great options. Be sure to pack items in a bag and stow it at your feet so you can pass your child one activity at a time. Have your toddler play with an item until they are thoroughly done with it before you pass back another one. Doing this helps prevent them from burning through all their activities and snacks in the first hour of the trip and being bored for the rest of it.
2. Plan stops along the way
Be sure to also plan some stops along the way. While you may be able to go 7 hours with only one stop for gas/food, most toddlers cannot. They need to get out, stretch their legs, run around a bit, and get some fresh air! The good news is, these stops are good investments. Whether you simply stop at a picnic rest area to kick a ball around or you plan a longer stop like at a zoo or a relative’s house, these diversions are great for preventing boredom and tantrums. Plus, they can actually make the trip feel shorter.
Look into hotel amenities for toddlers
Another great way to make traveling with a toddler easier is to take advantage of hotel amenities that help your toddler unwind and get their energy out. While it may be tempting after a long day on the road to plop our little ones down in front of the TV, try taking them to the pool or the hotel playground. Walk the halls of the hotel with your child, go up and down on the elevator, or ask the hotel staff if they have any games, toys, or books you can check out (many hotels do!)