Toddler Friendly Road Trip Essentials

I’ve been Pinterest-ing like a mad woman for months looking for all the pins on what I need for our first LONG road trip with a toddler. Our son is 2, and has a personality that constantly needs entertained. With that being said, I knew our first road trip wasn’t just going to smooth right over with just an iPad, so here are some things I picked up before we headed out, as well as things I learned on the way.

Our big trip is in August. We’ll be driving all the way to Islamorada, Florida (about 18 hours away) and my anxiety is through the roof just thinking about it. But for a little toe dip into the road trip pool, we headed to Silver lakes dunes in Michigan this weekend to sort of “practice” if you will. Here’s what I learned:

1. iPad

I know, I know, shame on me. But if I’m being honest here, this little rectangular magical device keeps my boy entertained (& quiet) for quite sometime. He’s basically been trained to only watch YouTube Kids so don’t worry, he’s not watching MTV or anything. He’s actually learned SO much from watching YouTube kids. Counting to 10, colors, shapes…I wish I could say that was me, but YouTube kids takes the trophy on that one. Your kid will live, let them watch the damn iPad for a little bit. It’s O.K.


Ok so my kid is like me, a foodie. But if we’re getting specific here, grab the most travel friendly snacks as possible. Some of the goodies I took along the ride were squeezable apple sauce, cracker and cheese dip individuals, and cereal (in a spill proof container). One thing that I picked up from Pinterest was putting a small box or even mini cooler in the backseat on the middle of the floor for easy access and to keep drinks cold. I didn’t use this tip for this particular trip but made sure the snacks were easy to grab when he started getting hangry. He’s so my kid. Lol.

3. Dollar Store Randoms

Sort of sounds like a waste of money, but grab some things he can tear up from the dollar store! If your kiddo is like mine and is reckless and tears up everything he lays his hands on, then you don’t want to buy stuff that’s expensive! I ran to our local dollar tree to grab coloring books, flash cards, random toys and post-it’s (Pinterest idea) and he had a great time throwing that list of things all over the car and also shredding them to pieces. If that sort of thing doesn’t bother you, this will be fun for them, especially for a boy.

4. Bedtime Faves

Don’t forget their blankey! Axel has a blanket that’s a must have during bedtime & I’m so happy I didn’t pull an airhead mom move and packed the sucker instead. It gives them comfort in a little less comfortable situation (car seat 😫) Naptime in the car isn’t so bad after all!

5. Wallet

Ok so this is something that I found on Pinterest and was mind blown at the fact that I didn’t think of this myself! Axel is obsessed with getting in my purse and playing in my wallet that’s filled with credit/debit cards, some sort of membership cards and insurance cards, etc. So make one for your baby! Grab some cheapie wallet and throw some expired cards in there and watch them go crazy!

6. Pull Ups/Potty Chair

Might get mom shamed for this one. If you’re little one is potty trained but still has accidents while they’re sleeping like Axel, put a pull up on them before hitting the road. My son is potty trained but will still wet his pull up at night and sometimes nap times. To make it easier on you mom, just put him in a pull up beforehand to avoid a soaked car seat and highly upset toddler with wet pants. I know sitting in a wet diaper probably doesn’t sound much better but it’s easier for the both of you. We even talked about bringing his potty chair for the long trip in August for moments when he’s got to pee but we’re too far from a resting place. Not the safest, but avoids the numerous stops for the “I gotta go potties” that kids at his age have every 20 minutes.

Wish me luck next month! After our next trip to Florida I will add more to this blog post if I find more things that make the trip even easier. Good luck to you momma’s out there that have a long road trip coming up with a little one and remember; don’t stress, don’t overthink it and remember, they have to sleep somewhere within that trip.

If you have more tips and tricks for traveling with a toddler that you’d like to add, please feel free to drop them in the comments below! Thanks for reading!


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