We’ve taken a lot of trips this year with a toddler in tow. There’s nothing like picking up toys that have been tossed across the car. Or listening to a favorite movie soundtrack for the (possibly) one thousandth time. Or, my personal favorite, listening to piercing screams from the backseat. If you’re taking a trip with a toddler, I’ve discovered five ways to make the journey more pleasant for everyone involved.
5 Tips for Traveling With Toddlers
1. Keep them busy. From short trips to twelve-hour car rides, I like to keep a “Busy Bag” in the car. This is just a reusable bag I keep filled with toys and books. These are “car toys and books” only, meaning they stay in the car so she doesn’t grow tired of them. She has favorites she reaches for every time she hops into the car! For long road trips, we’ve downloaded a few of her favorite movie soundtracks and her favorite movie onto the iPad. When she is fussy or tired, we pull out the iPad and have a sing along until she falls asleep. I recommend several soundtracks as I now know all the words to the Moana soundtrack in both English and Spanish. We also keep a few new “surprise” toys for long trips. These can be simple presents like a new coloring book or a new book. The most important tip I can add is if they have a toy, blanket, or whatever they need to help them sleep at night, don’t forget to make sure it is packed! Otherwise, you are in for long nights.
2. Include Easy to Pack Snacks. We like to have easy to take snacks that travel well. We take individually wrapped snacks, like fruit snacks or allergy-friendly cookies and crackers, for quick nibbles. We also stock Beachbody’s Daily Sunshine Smoothie for her sippy cup while we are on the road. It is perfect for kids with food allergies. The toddler at our house is always hungry because she is so limited in what she can eat. We’re always trying to find something that she will like that meets her dietary requirements: soy free, gluten free, and dairy free.That’s where Daily Sunshine Smoothie comes into play. Available in two flavors, Strawberry Banana and Chocolate, the smoothie is made from organic fruits and vegetables and organic pea protein. Daily Sunshine smoothies also include probiotics, 3 grams of fiber, and vitamins C, E, D, and calcium. Best of all, the smoothies have no artificial colors, sweeteners, or preservatives.
We like these smoothies because they are perfect to take with us during our frequent travels. Daily Sunshine comes in individual serving packs, which we mix with water and shake until blended. Voila! Instant breakfast or snack. It’s wonderful to have an easy to store snack for her. I can add a packet in her diaper bag for whenever we need it. We like the blend of ingredients too; apples, sweet potatoes, flaxseed, spinach, blueberries, acerola cherries, and strawberries. *Note: While Daily Sunshine Smoothie is recommended for ages four and up, we did talk to our doctor about preparing the smoothie for her. Because she is severely limited on what she can eat due to her many food allergies, we were given the go-ahead, but ALWAYS talk to your doctor about your child’s specific dietary needs if your child is under four.
3. Pack Lots of Comfortable Clothes. Remember the saying, “Pack half the things you think you’ll wear?” It doesn’t apply to babies. Seriously. Pack twice the amount of clothing you think they will wear. This will cover the times they “accidentally” discover how to dump out their sippy cup in the car all over their clothing, have an accident, or decide to play in a mud puddle before you can stop them. We’ve found the best clothing is soft and comfortable, like these pieces from Zutano.
Zutano has been in business for twenty-five years, specializing in unique baby clothes, including boots that are designed to stay on a baby’s feet. This is saying something because we have a horrible time trying to keep shoes on Little Critter. Made from the highest quality fabrics, Zutano is known for their unique designs and comfortable clothing. Clothing is available for both boys and girls and comes in sizes newborn to 4T. We received the Bavarian Dream L/S Swing Tee and Skinny Leggings in aqua and were surprised by how soft they were. At first, we thought we had accidentally received pajamas! Critter, who is not always a fan of clothing, doesn’t complain at all when we dress her in her Zutano clothing. These pieces are cute enough to wear anywhere but soft enough to wear to bed if she accidentally falls asleep for the night before she is changed.
4. Invest in A Baby Monitor. On several of our recent trips as a family, we’ve gone with the Airbnb route. It’s much easier to have an entire house to ourselves with multiple bedrooms. Of course, having a baby or toddler in an unfamiliar place (or even just at home!) can be challenging. We want to make sure Critter is okay every moment she is in her room. After all, what if she wakes up and tries to climb out of her crib? That’s where the Motorola MBP 855 Connect Monitor comes into play. This video monitor hooks up to your smartphone, tablet or computer, allowing you to watch video of the baby through the secure Hubble app. Imagine how convenient this is when we are downstairs and she is upstairs!
One of my favorite features on this monitor is the room temperature app. It displays the temperature of the room, allowing us to make adjustments so she is neither too hot nor too cold. And, if you’ve ever wanted to go high-tech, the monitor includes a 5-inch portable battery powered camera screen that is easy to carry around the house with you. You’ll be able to see the entire room in real time with cool features like tilt, pan, and zoom. Plus, there’s my personal favorite, infrared night vision. The full-color camera screen also allows two-way communication between us and the baby. The piece of mind is priceless!
5. Don’t forget Baby Sized Transporation. On our last trip, we decided to walk to one of our tours. No problem. The GPS said it was a mere twenty-minute walk. The further we walked, following the GPS instructions to the letter, the further the distance to the tour. What started as a twenty-minute walk quickly became a forty-five-minute walk. Carrying a baby in 90-degree weather for forty-five minutes is no fun! And the return trip, after our two-mile walking tour, was no fun either. We spent the entire walk complaining, “I wish we had brought the Little Tikes Quiet Drive Buggy.” This little car, designed for children ages 18 months to five years, has helped us through several trips! Sturdily constructed, this is one of Critter’s favorite toys. She is able to be fastened into the seat of the car and we are able to use the convenient handle to push her wherever we need to go. If we don’t want to push and she wants to ride on her own, we can quickly remove the floorboard to allow her to push with her feet.
She loves pretending to use the horn and steer the car, while I love not having to carry her for miles. The handle can fold down easily so the car can fit into the trunk for easy transportation. Plus, there are cup holders to keep her water (or mine!) in reach. And, if you don’t have pockets, a phone holder is located on the handle of the car. The Quiet Drive Buggy is available in red or blue and makes a great gift for parents who are on the go. Note: Assembly is required, but we, who are not good at assembling anything, managed to put it together quickly with no problems.
What are the essentials you must have for your toddler when you travel?