How to Survive a Road Trip with a Toddler

This past weekend I went on a road trip with L.  I was worried about how it was going to go, since the last time we went on a road trip L had a very hard time.  She was bored for a lot of the trip and we just couldn’t find a way to keep her occupied — even with my husband sitting in the back with her!  I did this trip with her solo, so I knew I needed to find a way for L to be able to reach different activities by herself.  I ordered this travel tray, and it seriously saved the day.


We left on a Friday evening, so while L was taking her afternoon nap that day I filled up the side pockets of her travel tray with different activities.  The pockets are all different sizes, and I didn’t have trouble getting anything to fit.  I packed a coloring book with crayons, a sticker book, a magnadoodle, and L’s purse filled with a few of her favorite princess figurines.  I loaded up my Ipad with a few toddler apps but kept it in the front seat for use as needed. When we got in the car around 5pm, I showed her what was in each pocket and strapped the tray on.  I gave her a container filled with her dinner, and we left on a 13 hour (round trip) road trip just the two of us!


This tray made the road trip so do-able!  It’s sturdy enough that L could do all of the activities I packed on it, but soft enough that it wasn’t uncomfortable for her.  It wipes off very easily, and it can hold so many activities in the side pockets!  L was happy that she had a space for her work and she kept busy the whole way.  It allowed her to be independent in a space where she usually has to rely on others, and she loved being able to choose the activities for herself.  We only had one meltdown — the last twenty minutes on the way home, because she threw everything onto the floor and expected me to pick it up and give it back to her (which I could not do.).


This travel tray completely changed the way I think about road trips with toddlers now.  We’re going on another quick road trip next month, and a longer one in July, and I’m not dreading it!  I even bought a matching tray for N so she doesn’t drop all of the toys that I can’t strap on to her car seat.


*I just checked and it looks like that travel tray is almost sold out!  If it’s no longer available when you click on the link, try this one instead.


What activities do you bring in the car when you take road trips with toddlers?



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6 thoughts on “How to Survive a Road Trip with a Toddler

  1. Any good toddler apps you would recommend for the ipad? I have a big trip coming up later this week and I’m desperate for apps to keep my almost 2 year old daughter entertained on the airplane!!

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