Road Trip Tips with Toddlers

We have taken many road trips with Dominic and have come up with many helpful tips to make these drives a lot easier with a busy toddler.

We have also flown a lot with Dominic so be sure to read my flying tips with a baby or toddler.

Road trips with a toddler can be tough, but with these tips you will all have a much more enjoyable time!

Dominic asleep in the car

Being from Massachusetts and living in Buffalo, NY, we travel back home at least a few times a year. We have learned a lot of things with each trip we take that helps to keep us all sane on these long 6+ hour drives.

A lot of these tips work great for babies as well as we did many of the same things when Dominic was a baby. In fact, driving with a baby is a lot easier as they tend to sleep a lot more than a toddler does.


  1. Plan your drive time. We try to plan our drive time around Dominic’s nap time. We will leave 1-2 hours before his nap (if possible) so that he doesn’t get too ansty sitting in the car seat before passing out for a nap.

  2. Bring snacks. You can never have enough snacks for toddlers! Bringing snacks is much more budget friendly than having to stop all the time for snacks. Bring easy snacks that won’t be too messy too. See one of our fave on the go snacks HERE. Don’t forget about snacks for yourself too!

  3. Fill up the cups with water/juice/milk. Dominic prefers drinking water so we bring 2 cups of water so that he doesn’t complain of thirst. Whatever your toddler prefers, bring at least 2 cups full, just so you don’t have to stop for a drink.

  4. Have the diaper bag stocked with extra wipes and diapers. Bring extras of everything for the spills/messes that may happen. You also want to be prepared for any extra diaper changes that are needed.

  5. Bring toys. Bring toys that your little one loves! Be sure to bring their favorites as they will feel comforted having their most beloved toys with them. Dominic is loving puzzles and legos so they keep him busy for a while and can distract him from realizing he is in the car for long periods of time.

  6. Have a fun surprise! I will go to the dollar store or Target dollar spot and grab a fun little toy that is new for Dominic. Something small that is exciting to open and play with during the car ride.

  7. Window clings. Place fun window stickers onto the window next to your toddler. This could be the fun surprise for them too! If they have a favorite character from a show, you could find that kind. It gives them something to look at and point to.

  8. Make 1-2 stops. Depending on how long your drive is, be sure to take into account that you will want to stop at least 1-2 times. We aim to stop once on our drive to MA to stretch our legs, change diapers, and use the bathroom. This breaks up the trip and lets us all get some fresh air.

  9. Comfy clothes. Put your toddler in comfortable clothing. No one wants to be in a car trip with tight or stuffy clothing. I like putting Dominic in jogger pants and a tee shirt. No need for coats either because cars can get quite warm so just pack a blanket to put on top, if they get chilly.

  10. Be patient. There will most likely be some meltdowns which is to be expected. Toddlers are busy and want to move a lot so when they are restricted for long periods of time, they can get a little wild. Go into the road trip with this expectation so that you can mentally prepare for it. This is when breaking out the new little toy would be fun for them! Also, distract them by singing a song, looking out the window, or offering snacks or drinks.

  11. Sit next to your toddler, if you have someone else with you to do the driving. If possible, sit in the back with your kiddo. This provides some entertainment for them and makes them not feel so isolated for that long car ride. I like sitting next to Dominic because it makes it easier to give him his toys and snacks too.

  12. Play their favorite songs. Dominic is into Disney songs, Elmo, and Paw Patrol so we will play these songs over the car and he loves to dance and sing along. If things get a little crazy, we will put on a show for Dominic to help calm him down. Kind of a last resort, but it is needed sometimes!

The main thing is to understand that your toddler is going to want to move at some point when they can’t. If you go into the trip understanding that they will want to be entertained more than normal, it will be a better trip for you all.

John Paul and I like to get coffees before heading out and jam out to music to make it fun for us all!

Remember, these are the fun times with your family! They are the memories you will look back on and think, ‘those were the good ol’ days!’


What are some tips you’ve learned while taking a road trip with your kids?

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Road Trip Tips with Toddlers