A Handy Guide for Road Trips with Toddlers

A long road trip during holiday travel can bring along several potential hassles with it. Even though we can’t lower gas prices or lighten the traffic or make your bored toddler absorbed in the passing scenery, we can arm you with enough ideas, survival tips, and some common sense to make your journey half the fun.

Road trips with kids aren’t always fun fests as the movies make it out to be. But they can be made more tolerable and in the process even enjoyable.

A few tried-and-true tips to practice:

Pack one small bag with essentials that make it much easier to grab than paw through a big suitcase. Clothes for the next day, an extra change of clothes (for emergencies), night wear, and toiletries that you may need for one day and night.

It’s wise to take along your toddler’s regular pillow and blanket if space allows. This can be helpful if your trip includes an overnight stay. Kids find comfort in their own stuff, especially at bedtime in a strange place.

Bring on the snacks. As we all know too well, eating gives you something to do. But overeating or getting your kids sugared up may backfire. Take along some healthy fare, and make sure they don’t turn their noses up at it.

To beat the boredom, load some kid favorites – games, songs or movies – onto your smartphone. Keep in mind that kids often have trouble with headphones, so ensure that they’re comfortable before you start, and have at least one pair as backup.

Once in awhile, get into the backseat with them. Some face-to-face contact, a game of patty-cake, and a few tickling goes a long way toward distracting a fidgety baby or a cranky toddler.

Babies and toddlers will often drop, spill, and spit stuff up. Have a roll of paper towels, a box of wipes and a garbage bag(!) handy for easy cleanups.

Try to tune out the tears when the point arrives when no amount of singing, snacking, or engaging will pacify your child from wanting to get out of the car. It can be tough, but remind yourself that he’ll be safe in the car and won’t suffer too much from crying. With time, he’ll stop or eventually fall asleep.

It’s wise to find a local store or pharmacy if your toddler gets bored with his stash. Choose travel toys wisely. Local stores are likely to have an inexpensive selection of things that your toddler hasn’t seen before.

Make sure to stop often — for little and big breaks. You might want to reach your destination at the earliest, but having your little ones burn off steam will make the extra time worth it.

It’s always wise to allow for a stroll and a bathroom break, say 20 minutes after a meal stop.

While booking rooms, look for places that have pools or play areas. Even if it costs a little extra, it’ll be something to look forward to, and it will help your family relax better.

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