Toddler Travel Necessities

If you have a road trip, flight, or any extended travel time with your babe coming up, the thought of keeping them seated and entertained can be daunting. Our vacation drive is about 7 hours, and although some of that will be filled with eating and hopefully sleeping, that’s still a long time to keep Sloane occupied. I started compiling a list of toys and ideas for travel and thought I would share them with you! If you need some tips for the vacation itself, here is our best advice.

Travel Toys
My plan for this extended car ride is to keep a little basket of toys in the vehicle, most of which are either new or out of rotation and haven't been played with in quite some time. Unless you have an older child with some "favorite" toys that never go out of style, our toddlers get easily bored of the same old things. By not introducing these toys until the road trip, I will have the gift of novelty and newness on my side for some additional distraction time. Without further ado, here are some easily portable, age-appropriate toys I've found that I plan to keep in a little car caddy like this.

Travel Snacks
Another aspect of our travel plan is eating/snacking on the go! Although we plan to stop for her to stretch and to eat meals, I want to bring some snacks along for the ride as well. Not only do these keep her happy, but they actually waste some time as she eats or I feed her one by one. You can check out our previous post of healthier baby/toddler snacks for the full list of our favorite on-the-go items, but I'll share a few here that travel well.

Helpful Items
Aside from toys and snacks, there are several car or travel essentials that may make your life easier traveling with children. From helping your toddler nap (hopefully), to keeping organized, these can alleviate some of the inevitable stress.

Car Naps



Misc. Tips
Now that you've bought everything there is to buy...what else can you do? Here are a few tips that can ultimately make your trip run smoother.
  1. Make a rough schedule - if you know what time you are leaving and the approximate length of the trip, draft a tentative schedule of your day including stops, meals, potential naps, and even a breakdown of your entertainment plan (when will you introduce what toys, what all do you have on hand, can you break up toy playing with some music or screen time, etc). Will this be exact? Absolutely not. Can it all go out the window an hour into the trip? Sure. But having a game plan can make you feel more prepared and help you know when it's time to do what.
    *P.S. At the start of your trip and after each stop, see how long you can get away with letting your child entertain themselves/look out the window - THEN resort to the next item on your distraction list.

  2. Have music on stand by - this is obviously dependent on your child, but I can get 30+ minutes of Sloane looking out the window or entertaining herself if I put on some baby music (we recommend the "Toddler Time" station on Amazon Music). In between toy changes or when she is starting to get fussy, I can throw on a few songs and buy some more distraction time before our next stop. Sing along if you're in a good mood; bring some head phones if you are not feeling it.

  3. Don't knock a little screen time - whether you are a screen free household or Ms. Rachel junkies, some rules need bending when traveling with children. I try to keep her screen time as close to none as possible and most days we are well under 30 minutes. But I have no problem using this (even as a last resort) for traveling. When you're not close to your next stop, have given all the snacks, and are out of new toys to introduce, letting them watch some "educational shows" can be a lifesaver. If you need any more encouragement, ask yourself if which is more detrimental to your child: one day of some screen time or potentially hours of fussing/screaming/crying?
4. Give yourself some grace - at the end of the day, whether your travel day is a disaster or a huge success, it is ONE day (…plus the trip back lol). It's okay if your child isn't happy for a short time, if you get stressed out, or if you feel like you never want to do this again. Take a breathe and know you did all you could, the rest is out of your control!


We hope this was helpful in preparing for your upcoming trip and making your lives a little bit easier. Feel free to comment with questions or if there's anything we may have missed. Safe travels!

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