I promised a post about how to road trip with a 2 year old. I’ll admit I spent a good amount of time stressing about how to make this work so that we all had fun, and I’m happy to say that the pre-planning paid off!
Tips and Tricks:
-Decide how many hours your little one can handle on the road. Sky is good for about 6 so we planned our hotels accordingly. (Know that 6 hours of driving is actually a 7 to 8 hour day from point to point).
-Plan enough quick little potty breaks, but avoid too many unnecessary stops. By the end of the day/end of the trip the more we had to get her in and out of the car seat the crankier she got!
-Plan for a long lunch and play break. Packing our own lunches for the trip really helped with this. Every time we needed to stop for lunch we were able to pick the best playground/park and not worry about nearby food options.
-Plan entertainment! I packed a goody bag a day full of books, toys, stickers, crayons, coloring books and anything else that was different or new that I thought she would like. The $1 Store is great for this!
-Make the most of nap time!!! If we didn’t stop she would stay asleep, so we made sure we were able to drive 2 to 3 hours without potty/food breaks during nap time.
-Pack the must-have comfort items! I forgot the blanket and Violet dog in the back of the truck the first day and it was not a good thing!
-If an unexpected items becomes a toy and it won’t hurt or ruin anything, then let it be! Sky loved playing with the sun shade for the front window, kept her happy for 20 minutes at a time easy!
-Have snacks on hand and ready to go! I pre-bagged morning and afternoon snacks in single serve zip-lock bags, and had a small cooler with water and milk in sippy cups ready to go. I had snacks and drinks ready to go for Mark and I as well.
-Buff up on favorite songs and games. There are a few she likes from Play To Learn, so anytime things got tense I busted out in her fave songs. I’m sure Mark’s ears are still recovering!
-Turn off the radio and just talk. I think sometimes Sky just wanted to know we remembered she was in the back seat. Mark was really good about turning off the radio and talking with her about what we were seeing on the road, doing numbers and ABC’s with her, and playing peak-a-boo in the rearview mirror.
-Be flexible! A movie every night in the hotel room is a great reward for making it through the day..even if movie night at home is only once a week. We had to skip a few stops we really wanted to make because she was asleep or because she was doing so well that we didn’t want to mess it up by getting her out of the truck.
At the end of the day and the end of the trip we wanted to feel like we all had fun, it’s her vacation too, and since travel and long road trips are part of what we enjoy we want to make sure she grows up enjoying them not dreading them!
What tips do you have for road-tripping/traveling with little ones?