Road Tripping with a Toddler

This past weekend my family went on a road trip to the University of Missouri, which is where Hubby and I met. It was a nice jaunt down memory lane, but the most challenging part was getting there.

Going on a road trip with a little one is no walk in the park. You try to pack everything you’ll need without over packing, which to me seems like mission impossible, but I try. You plan for spills, bathroom accidents, play activities and meltdowns (for mama and babe!)

It took us about seven and a half hours to get there. It’s normally a six and a half hour drive, but between the tot and me being six months pregnant, we had to make a few stops. I think we hit four McDonald’s solely on the way down to Mizzou to visit our niece. On the return trip, I vowed no Mickey D’s, and we managed to avoid the Golden Arches.

The trip to Missouri was our second out-of-state adventure this month. Two weeks ago we went to a wedding in Ames, Iowa. That was a seven hour drive. Not including the kid and mama factor, it’s supposed to be about six. With each escapade I find I’m getting better at prepping for the road and it almost makes me want to go on another excursion in a couple weeks. Almost.

But if you’re headed on a trip:

  • Have your little one pack the toy bag. Logan, like all young kids, really loves to help out, and helping to decide what came on the trip gave him a sense of ownership.
  • Eat Lunch in the Car. If you don’t bring along any nosh that’s more than snacks, swing through the drive thru. It can be messy to eat in the car, but I thought it was worth it. It took us longer to get to Iowa because every time we stopped to eat, we also took a play break where we ran around and stretched our legs. I found that if we ate in the car, then our breaks were purely for play and the 45 minutes to one hour breaks were shortened to 20-30 minutes.
  • Nap Time. Take advantage. Pretend it’s like when they’re an infant, sleep when they sleep. Also, figure out the timing so that the adults don’t need to take their own potty break when it’s nap time. Like I told Hubby, now that Logan’s asleep, we’re not stopping for anything.

4 responses to “Road Tripping with a Toddler

  1. Visiting from SITS. I am your newsest follower. Loved the post. Road trips are always hard with a little kiddo.

  2. Hi sweet Melanie… Even if I do not give comments on your blogg very often, that doesn’t mean I don’t read it – I enjoyed to read your story about the two trips you have made recently to Mizzou and Iowa. Reminded me about all the trips I took with my little two kid (Jorgen being one of them) only to the cabin – which was only 10 Norwegian mils from home. It really felt (and looked) like we were actually moving over to the cabin for good!! Love you, speak soon… Mum2

  3. Ahhhh, preschooler road trips. Ours is usually some variation of nj to somewhere in the Midwest… Ohio, Indiana, etc. We try to be healthy so for us (me and my 3 yr old-cant deny hubby’s rare opportunity to spring for a big mac..he usually sneaks one in while we hit the potty) there is no fast food.
    Key for us is packing a mini cooler full of healthy but yummy treats. Hummus and veggies, a newly discovered bunny shaped graham cracker, etc.. and always some little special treat. This has been so successful That we haven’t had to pull out the last resort portable DVD player on the last few trips!!
    It is wonderful when you see your little one us a great traveler…and makes you want to take them on more fun and adventurous trips!

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