Preparing for a Road Trip with Toddlers

With the holidays just around the corner, many of you are probably preparing for a road trip! I have such happy memories of family road trips growing up and I’m determined to make them fun family adventures for my little ones.

There’s something special about loading up all of our belongings, the newly-wrapped Christmas gifts and freshly-baked cookies, and then hopping in for a drive with the family. It’s a time for just the four of us, and as I hear those giggles in the back seat (in between the nap refusals and toy stealing, of course) I’m reminded of what this season is all about.

The time in the car doesn’t come without preparations though, and traveling through the snow, even if it is to grandmother’s house, can be a lofty trip.

Preparing for a Holiday Road Trip – Make a list

Why not join the big man, Santa, himself, and put together your own list.

Rather than tallying who’s naughty and nice, list out all of the things that need to be packed. I do this in advance or right before packing and it provides SO much peace of mind.

You can also do a separate list for errands that need to be completed before the trip. I’m a total list person, and big trips are no exception. I like to leave the list by the door so that I literally look at it before we head out to the car. Chargers, check; camera, check; diapers, check!

This is also a great way to remind yourself to turn down the heat and lock all the doors and windows on the way out.

Preparing for a Holiday Road Trip #1 – Figure out your pit stops

With babies and toddlers, we’ve found that it is important to make regular stops, depending on the length of your trip. Back when we were just a couple we would try to make it as far as we could without stopping, but kids need time to let out steam.

Decide ahead of time what meals you will be stopping for and take a look at the major rest stops in that area. If you have enough time, we love to eat at a restaurant with a play place so the kids can literally run, jump and dance all their energy right out. Most of the time we just plan our stops based on the location of Chick-fil-a 😉

Preparing for a Holiday Road Trip #2 – Get the oil changed

Not only is this one important for your car, but it’s also crucial for your safety. I recently headed in to a TECHNET shop here in Boston for an oil change. They can take care of all of your vehicle’s needs in one spot.

I had them check my air pressure in addition to the oil change, but they can also change or rotate your tires, do routine maintenance or any other small fixes before a big trip. The wonderful thing about the TECHNET network is that they’re made up of  local shops, and I could tell the staff really cared about my family and our safety. I know how harsh these Northeastern, winter roads can be, and this service gives me peace of mind.

Preparing for a Holiday Road Trip #3 – Prepare entertainment

I have visions of us singing Christmas carols and reminiscing about our favorite presents from years past, but the truth is, we have toddlers, and they get bored easily.

One idea that a friend once recommended that I love is wrap up old toys, small trinkets and coloring books, in wrapping paper. Put all the goodies in a bag, and then every hour give them a new toy to open. It’s like pre-Christmas, but with stuff they already own and they’ll have a newfound fascination with again. Plus, you already have the holiday wrapping paper out for the real gifts.

If you’re looking for more ideas for toddlers on road trips, check out this post for our favorite games and activities .

Preparing for a Holiday Road Trip #4 – Make sure you pack things where you can reach them for the kiddos

Although this seems obvious, I’ve definitely learned this one the hard way. I now always pack separate go-to bags for each trip: food bag, toy bag, digital entertainment bag, etc. I keep one up by my feet and then the others are always easily accessible from the front seat. If the essentials aren’t in arms reach of you then you have to stop more often. Plus, when you’re amidst a toddler meltdown, you want to be able to get to that bag of goldfish as quickly as possible.

No matter where you’re headed in the car this holiday season, I hope these tips bring you some ease and peace of mind before you head out on the road. I look forward to this time every year because we are always traveling to see family! A little preparation beforehand allows me to enjoy the journey just as much as the destination.

Have you used Technet before? How do you prepare for a holiday road trip? Find your closest location here and safe travels!

taking a road trip with a toddler? read these tips for BEFORE you start your drive

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