5 Tips for Car Rides with Toddlers

We love to travel and visit new places together as a family! The hard part though, is definitely the ‘getting there’! :) Through trial and error, success’ and failures, my husband and I have begun to master this whole car trip thing. Below are a few of our favorite 5 Tips for Car Trips with Toddlers! Because as most parents will agree, even the shortest of car rides can be the most painful if you don’t plan ahead!

5 Tips for Car Trips with Toddlers #cartrips #oddlertips #cartripswithkids

1. Bathroom– Be sure to use the bathroom before you leave! If your toddler is still wearing pull ups at anytime during the day, you may want to put them in a pull up before leaving on long car trips just in case you can’t find a bathroom when needed. Another great bathroom tip is to toss a plastic training potty into the back of your car/trunk in case there are no bathrooms around!


(source: moms.popsugar.com)

2. Snacks– Instead of packing a larger meal, try packing your child’s lunch or dinner in little baggies to give them throughout the trip! Fore example instead of having a specific ‘meal time’ while traveling, I will give them a baggie of grapes, then a while later half a peanut butter sandwich, then maybe veggie straws a little later, etc. This keeps them busy and fills them up more eating over a longer period of time!


Foil Surprise Balls

(Check out my post on Kids Activities Blog on Foil Surprise Balls for Road Trips or Airplane Trips!)

3. Toys & Activities– Whenever we go on road trips, we always let our boys bring whatever toys they want in their backpacks. (Yes I have occasionally added a few extras and even removed a few toys; they never notice!) 😉 Some of our boys’ favorites are books, movies, action toys that they can hold, etc. Depending on what toy they are currently into, I try to grab a movie, book, and toy of that same character/theme to take along. I find that after watching a movie about it, they could spend hours in pretend playing reenacting the same scene.



Thomas & Friends Busy Conductor Toy by Mattel


Thomas & Friends Beginner Reading Books

4. Breaks– Whether it is for a bathroom break or just a stretch, breaks on car trips are crucial for families! Try to plan a break or two into your trip before leaving and talk them up with your kids. Plan to do something special on your break whether it’s as simple as getting ice cream or playing frisbee, or more involved such as visiting a special place, stopping at a park, or eating at a restaurant.


(source: commons.wikimedia)

5. Flexibility– Plan for the Unexpected- Leave extra time to allow for extra potty breaks, an extra break to stretch, or even a dreadful car sickness stop if needed. I always pack these items for those ‘just in case’ moments: extra wipes, plastic trash bags, bottles of water, car sickness medicine for kids, Tylenol for kids, pull ups, and I make sure extra clothes are in close reach if needed.


Click HERE to find a complete list of items to include in a Car Sick Kit.)


Disclaimer: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Mattel. The opinions and text are all mine.


  1. How interesting that I’ve found most of these to be true for airplane travel as well. I can’t say much about car travel with a toddler as we avoided it at all costs due to a little one who hated! his car seat. Even quick trips to the store were taken with fingers crossed and only when absolutely necessary. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that you don’t advocate the nap time/night time driving as so many seem to do. Our son absolutely refused to sleep in his carseat to the point that as a baby he would scream hysterically and as a toddler just wouldn’t nap and then be terribly cranky later in the day or worse nap at a much later time and then be awake late into the night.

  2. One really big thing to help with car trips is to strap your kids in appropriately. Both picture feature kids incorrectly restrained. Both should have the CHEST clip at CHEST level(level with armpits) not on their stomachs :-/

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