When we were planning our move from Utah to Florida we were a little nervous about the car ride. After all, it was 40 hours of driving! With a toddler, two dogs, and limited space (as our car was jam packed with everything we owned) we wondered how we’d survive the whole thing!
We came up with a game plan, and for the most part it worked nicely! I dare say that we enjoyed the trip- gasp! Here are my 5 tips for surviving a road trip with a toddler.
can you believe that New Mexico sky?!
On a normal road trip, we’d push through and drive as long as possible to get there quickly. We decided to break up our trip and drive 5-6 hours a day maximum. That way there was time to run in the park, explore, and just not be in the car all day long. We tried to time driving during nap and night time sleeping so Don could get rest.
this is from our stop at Four Corners. We woke up Don to see it and learned not to do that again- oops!
A zoo in Roswell. Don had never seen a long horn cow before!
My husband used the website and app Road Trippers to plan the trip. It was very helpful because we put in our starting place, ending place, and the route we wanted to go. We were them able to schedule stops for gas, hotel, and activities. We had goals of how far we wanted to get each day and were able to see that they were doable distances for our family.
It was super nice because Road Trippers suggested fun places to stop on the way. For example when we were in Roswell New Mexico we stopped by the cutest free zoo. That was one of our favorite breaks! There were also hikes, museums, and really good places to eat that we found from the site.
a ship we stopped by to tour in Texas. It was built in the 1910’s and I loved getting design inspiration from some of the rooms.
Don using my phone to watch YouTube. I let him use a binky in the trip. I tried to make him extra comfy with a blanket, pillow, and he always had toys. It definitely made the trip easier!
Every time I travel, I deeply depend on shows that my son can watch offline. The truth is that sitting in a car seat for hours is boring and while we did coloring, playing with little toys, having a show to watch kept my son happiest.
My two tricks for offline shows are YouTube Red and Netflix. With YouTube I got a subscription to their Red service, so I could download shows on my phone. That way my son didn’t eat up all of my data while watching. I was able to find 3 months for free so look out for specials!
Our Netflix subscription also includes free downloads. Every night at the hotel when I had wifi, I’d download new shows so he had some variety each day. My son liked having two ways to watch a little TV.
a stop in Moab, Utah where we hiked Wilson arch. We had so much fun on this stop throwing rocks down the canyon and enjoying the view.
In the car, I kept a good variety of snacks where I could easily get them for everyone. We brought along supplies for peanut and jelly sandwiches, crackers, and lots of fruit so he had food whenever he was hungry. At gas stations, to get Don to use the restroom (you’ve gotta love a newly potty trained little kid), we would let him choose one snack. He loved picking out what he’d get!
so gorgeous!!! A perfect detour before it got dark
hiking in Blanding, New Mexico. You can see Anasazi ruins in the rock!
Lastly, we tried to be super flexible. If Don was sleeping and we had a stop scheduled, we’d just keep driving. If it’d been awhile since a stop and it was about to get dark, we’d find a park close by and go get some wiggles out.
I mostly booked hotels from my phone a few hours before we arrived so that we could assess if we could drive further or needed to stop earlier based on how the drive was going and everyone’s temperaments. Mostly we stayed where we planned, but a few nights we drove extra so we’d have more time at our next stop.
The trip went pretty smoothly! A few times Don got over tired and would cry for 5-10 minutes before falling asleep. Sometimes he got sick of being in his car seat so we’d stop the car and take a break. Potty training was tricky and while we didn’t have any mistakes, we definitely made a lot of emergency pit stops!
The Sugar & Cloth steps in Huston Texas. This was a quick stop for some colorful photos 😉
One of our hotels had some gorgeous interior design that I wanted to share! We stayed at the Ace Hotel in New Orleans and I really appreciated the decor. They had a parlor off of the lobby with the most gorgeous wallpaper and photography!
The room had a fun industrial vibe. I loved the marble sink with the black faucet. The trim was a deep, deep green that added a little personality.
Every room has a Smeg fridge. Isn’t the green color a fun touch?!
I loved the industrial green lamps they used. They paired nicely with the campy beds. Everything was warmed up with the natural wood.
Probably my favorite piece was a hand painted armoire between the two beds. It added softness that the room needed. I also appreciated that the hotel was dog friendly!
There is my 7 day road trip condensed into one blog post! Our drive ended up being mostly pleasant so I hope these tips for surviving a road trip with a toddler are helpful to someone else. Do you have any big trips planned?
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