November 29, 2018

Toddler Road Trip Tips

Planning a road trip with your family? Check out these helpful tips for ensuring a smooth ride on the next road trip with your baby or toddler.

Toddler Road Trip Tips

Have you ever heard the one about “happy toddler, happy car ride”?


Ok, so maybe I made it up. But, anyone that has taken a road trip with a toddler knows it is the absolute truth.

Planning a road trip with your little one(s) can seem like a daunting task, but it shouldn’t be scary. While it may take a bit more planning that if it were just the two of you, the memories you will create with your family while on the road will make it all worth it. 

These tried, tested and true tips for a road trip your little one(s) will ensure a smooth ride for all.


Plan the road trip around the kids’ napping schedules. For us, we plan around our toddler’s nap schedule since our 3 month old can sleep anywhere at any time. It’s hard to fight the car nap.

Keep in mind that babies and toddlers do not have the patience or attention span for super-long road trips that you might. As they grow, so do their attention spans, allowing them to sit in a car for longer stretches. But until that time, if your road trip is going to be a long one, plan for frequent stops to stretch your legs. Break it into manageable segments with stops for playing, eating (including nursing the babe) and regular potty breaks (if your toddler is potty training). 


When packing the car, if you are travelling with another adult, leave space in the middle of the back seat in case one of you need to join your child(ren). Whether its to calm a fussy baby or read a few stories with your toddler, take the time in the backseat to bond with your kids. 

If you drive a vehicle that does not have a separate trunk, be sure that all items are secure so that if there is a need to stop suddenly, items will not fly into the front of the vehicle and potentially hurt the passengers. 

Create a car kit, filled with activities for your little ones (see: Activities)

Toddler Road Trip Tips
Toddler Road Trip Tips


Snacks, snacks and more snacks. You can never have too many snacks.

Put snacks in separate containers and provide them one at a time to avoid overwhelming youngsters.

For safety reasons, be sure to bring snacks that you know your child could eat. The last thing you want it for your child to start choking while strapped into their carseat in a moving vehicle.

Some of our favourites include goldfish, granola bars, baby carrots and hummus.


Music is one of the best tools for keeping families content and entertained during a family road trip. 

A few of our current favourites that always get the whole family singing:
I Like to Move It - Crazy Frog
Who Let the Dogs Out - Baha Men
Let It Go - Disney’s Frozen
Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) - C+C Music Factory

Note: These will probably change as our little one gets older and starts to understand the meaning of the lyrics. But until she loses that innocence, they’re a good beat to get her moving and grooving in her seat. 

GoogleMusic has some great family-friendly playlists, including my personal favourite, Disney sing-a-longs.


For when they are awake (or if they don’t sleep at all), activities are important to keep them occupied. 

Whether it’s a quick trip to the store or a three hour road trip to visit my parents, our toddler always has to bring her “stuff”. Within reason, we let her pack her own backpack. It usually includes her iPad, a colouring book and crayons, a few Shopkins and some other random toys.

If your toddler enjoys some screen time, be sure to bring along your iPad and some toddler-friendly headphones (such as these). Our toddler’s iPad is loaded with all of her favourite apps. Check out her favourite apps, here.

>> You may also like: Traveling with a Toddler: Busy Bags 

Toddler Road Trip Tips


This usually includes a blanket, the stuffed animals of the week and her PawPatrol travel neck pillow (which doubles as her dolly “breastfeeding” pillow at home).

Extra Supplies

Motion sickness, blowouts and spills are bound to happen. Make sure you have extra diapers and wipes, clothes, towels, garbage bags, snacks and lots of water, just incase. If your child suffers from motion sickness, a bucket may also be a good addition to the car emergency kit. 


Of course, your number one priority during a road trip (especially with a baby or toddler) is to arrive at your destination safe and sound. 

Before setting out, be sure your vehicle is up-to-date on any oil changes or scheduled maintenance. You should also keep a roadside emergency kit in your car filled with bandages, medicines, a flashlight, and other useful items (including the extra supplies, listed above).

Another thing you should never hit the road without? The proper car seat for your little one.

When it comes to vehicle safety, we don’t mess around. Especially with this scary and eye-opening car accident experience when Morley was just 7 months old.

Toddler Road Trip Tips

Now that she is bigger and forward-facing, we only trust the best when it comes to her car seat, and that is the Diono Radian 3 rXT ($399.99 Canadian MSRP). This all-in-one convertible car seat accommodates rear facing children (5-50 lbs), forward-facing (22-65 lbs) and those in a booster seat (50-120 lbs). 

Here is what we like about our Diono Radian 3 rXT car seat:

  • Sits upright and further back in the seat, giving more space for her legs and feet between the seat and the back of the driver seat.
  • As she gets older, the sides and seat bottom expand to accommodate a growing child with extra leg support and comfort.
  • Adjustable head support so that she can sleep comfortably. It is also reinforced for enhanced side impact safety.
  • Colours.
  • Fabric is easy absorbent, easy to remove and machine washable. (I know this first hand. Morley also has a Diono in her grandpa’s car. When she was younger, she had a projectile vomit incident. We were able to easily remove and wash the seat fabric.)
  • Perfect for airplane travel. Folds easily to be checked as luggage. If gate checking or using on the plane, it even turns into a backpack with additional straps for carrying ease). 

Do you enjoy taking road trips with your children? What are your tips and tricks to make them successful? I’d love to hear!

*Disclosure: To & Fro received product and/or compensation in exchange for this post, however, all opinions are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links.
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