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5 Things - Traveling with Toddlers Addition

We’ve spent the last week visiting our families in Virginia for Thanksgiving. Up until a few months ago we lived a short 30 minutes away, and now it takes 10 hours in the car to see them. We always have the best time when we’re with them, and it’s so so hard to leave (but that’s a very long blog post for a different day).

I have so many tips I want to share about traveling with toddlers! We’ve done our fair share of traveling the past 7 months (hello RV life) so I’ve compiled a list of things that I think might be helpful to others with young children. I posted a few of our go to items on my Instagram story as we were driving to Virginia last week, but here’s a detailed look at what keeps me sane on these 10 hour long car rides.

  1. Long car rides and potty training

Two words, car potty! This is something I’ll always recommend, whether you’re traveling or not. When Isla needs to pee, she tends to wait until the very last minute to let you know so we have very little time to get her out of her car seat and into a bathroom. It’s so much quicker, easier, and cleaner to sit her down on the car potty. We have on that comes with little baggies to help with cleanup and can collapse into a bag to make it easily portable.

Sometimes we’re not quick enough and an accident will happen, but we always make sure she is sitting on top of a waterproof changing pad in her car seat. That way her entire car seat doesn’t get wet, we just switch out the changing pad and it’s like it never happened. I keep a few changes of clothes nearby as well. Ultimately you just have to accept that you’ll be making way more stops when you have a potty training toddler, or young children in general. Technically our drive is only 8 hours, but we give ourselves 10 hours between our stops and letting the kids get their energy out.

2. Snacks: the more snacks the better.

I always keep a big bag of snacks easily accessible. We usually do yogurt bites, dried fruit, pouches, sunflower seeds, and some type of crackers or protein cereal. I also like to pack clementines and bananas since they’re super easy. I keep Yum Earth lollipops on standby to surprise Isla with here and there. In the beginning of our traveling I would pack a full on cooler with a ton of different fruits, vegetables, cheese, yogurts, you name it. But it neverrrr got eaten and I hated having to throw it away so I stopped doing that. We always stop to get a quick sandwich or something quick on our trip to break up the drive anyway so it’s just what works for us.

3. Toys, toys, toys.

Both Isla and Elliot have their own backpack that we always keep in the car filled with little toys and activities, a change of clothes, a small blanket, and a few of their favorite snacks. It helps keep the car organized and makes it easy for me to find what I’m looking for. I like to have a variety of things for the kids to do to help limit their boredom as much as I can. Elliot’s backpack has board books, a ton of random little toys, a light switch board (his all time favorite), and a few vtech/leapfrog type electronic toys. He’s also at that age where he’s starting to play with Isla’s toys as well (and vice versa). Isla’s backpack has her IPad and headphones, drawing board, dry erase book and markers, a lot of books, an etch a sketch, a Barbie set, stickers, a few random toys, and a dress up mini mouse. We usually let her pick out a small toy to buy before our trip that she gets to open up in the car. We try to limit her time on her tablet but make an exception for these long trips. She usually plays educational games like Homer and PBS Kids or will watch a “slow” show like Pete the Cat to help pass the time. Both kids also loving using our Toniebox in the car! It keeps them entertained and lets Isla be in charge of what music or stories we listen to. Elliot just loves playing with the Tonie figures.

4. Podcasts and music

Podcasts are a perfect activity to keep the kids engaged without a screen. I’ve personally gotten into listening The Crime Junkies podcast but wait to do that until the kids are sleeping! The kids really like to listen to Garden Keeper Gus (my favorite) or the Pinkalicious & Peterrific podcast series. We’ll also have car “dance parties” to their favorite songs to help get the wiggles out.

5. Patience and understanding

Traveling with a 3.5 year old and a 1 year old is hard! Isla doesn’t understand the concept of time and Elliot doesn’t understand why he’s stuck in his carseat all day long. We try our best to make it fun and interesting and even though our kids do extremely well on long car rides, tears will ultimately happen. Sometimes we’ll need to make an unexpected stop to reset or break out those lollipops I mentioned before. I’ve talked to a few people about how daunting these long trips can be with little ones, but if you plan ahead it really does help make these trips just a little bit easier!

I’ve linked a few of my favorite long car ride items below, hopefully they’ll help make your trip with kids a little less stressful too.

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