Road Trip Tips for Traveling with Toddlers



by Linda Castillo

My hubby and I were about to embark on an 8-hour road trip with a one-year old and a four-year old. I was worried about how we were going to survive the trip and keep our girls from going stir crazy, well and for that matter me too!

Here are some kid-friendly traveling tips that worked for us:

Stock Up on Snacks – It is inevitable that as soon as you hit the road your baby will want her bottle or your preschooler will be asking for a snack. Be sure to pack lots of snacks for the road. Some of my favorite on-the-go snacks include apples, bananas (be sure to pack carefully because they bruise easy), trail mix, gold fish and num nums for the baby. Also, fill a cooler with water bottles, milk for the baby and juice boxes to quench everyone’s thirst.

Entertainment – If you can invest in a portable DVD player or an iPad to play movies for toddlers during the road trip. The movies help break up the trip and reduce hearing the repetitive question “Are we there yet?” Also, switch up the music playlist to include tracks for adults and kids alike. Right now my eldest daughter loves Nathalia, so we played that CD a few times. And my baby feeds off her sister’s energy and begins to dance in her seat when she sees her sister singing her favorite songs.

Toys – So playing a DVD worked well for my four-year old who was facing forward but I had to think of an alternate option for my one-year old (seating backwards) who was essentially watching her sister watch a movie! For my baby, I packed some interactive toys to keep her busy.

Be Silly – One of the best things about road trips is building memories with your family. Think of games that you can play on the road such as counting cars, cows, reading books, puppets, singing songs and playing peek-a-boo. You would be surprised how many times peek-a-boo will keep your baby occupied.

Plan your Stops – Map out your trip and plan stops every two to three hours depending on your family’s schedule. Preferably, these stops will occur during a scheduled meal time allowing the family a much needed break to stretch, walk around, eat and use the restroom. Of course, there may be unscheduled stops along the way but at least you have a good plan to start with.

Be Prepared for Anything – You may be driving in new terrain that your kids aren’t accustomed to like curvy mountains. I recommend that you be prepared if your kids get car sick. Pack a garbage bag, towels, and antibacterial wipes in case your little one gets sick on the road. Also, it is important to have an emergency kit handy in the car. I also like to include an extra set of clothing for both my girls in the diaper bag so in case they spill anything I don’t have to dig through packed luggage to find a clean set.

I hope these tips help you plan your next family road trip adventure! Do you have any tips that work for your family?

Linda Castillo is the Founder and Executive Editor of She writes on topics that empower and inspire Latinas including art, motherhood, green living, culture, travel, and issues transforming the Latino community. Linda has earned a B.S. in Business and a M.S. in Mass Communications from San Jose State University.