How to Prepare a Long Distance Car trip with Two Toddlers

We are all aware of the performance it is just to go to the supermarket with toddlers. There is so much that needs to be loaded in the car (just in case) for even the shortest of journeys and outings. Taking a long trip with your toddlers is mind boggling, but, it can be done with a lot of forethought and preparation.

I hope to give you a few handy hints and ideas that we used when our three boys were small that helped the journey to go smoothly and with only a few minor hiccups.

You know your children

We each of us know our own children, their little quirks, likes and dislikes, sleep and play patterns, drinking and eating habits. It is a good idea if you know on paper, as well as in your mind, as to these habits. This will enable you to plan your journey and to know when to stop, when you can let them run around and hopefully tire themselves enough to sleep for the next leg.

Know your Route

Planning your route is essential especially for potty stops, play stops or just a time when you can all stretch your legs. Toddlers get bored very quickly so just in case have possible stops in place, every 20 - 30 miles is good.

You may not need to use these stops but if they should start whining and getting fussy, your response can be, '5 more minutes and then we can .....' whatever you decide for your stop

Snacks and Drinks

We always had snacks and drinks, but not too much in the car, though in the boot of the car, I always packed a picnic.

The choices we made, for in the car, were quavers or mini chedders, plain biscuits and some non-sticky, non-chocolate sweets such as rainbow drops. Mainly items that can be passed to the toddlers at frequent intervals, enough to satisfy them but not too many that the stocks will deplete before you have travelled half way.

Even if your toddlers are drinking from a cup, it is wise to get bottles of fruit juice. This will prevent any spillages which are a common experience. Drnking in a moving car is a skill that even teenagers find difficult let alone a toddler.


When our boys were small we gave them each a rucksack with activities in them. I would put some crayons and small colouring book, a picture book, and a few toys (their favourites are a good idea)

They were responsible for their own bags and it kept them quiet for short periods of time. We encouraged them to put their things back into their bags when they are finished playing. This way, finding what they wanted each time was a bit of an adventure.

Another thing we did was to have an arsenal of games that we could join in with. We would say something like, 'Who can see a cow?' or 'Who will see a red car?' They loved these games as toddlers and it kept them busy looking, (quiet too) a definite bonus when your concentration is required in heavy traffic.

The boot of the car had a box full of outdoor toys, footballs, frisbee and such things. All designed to tire them out in the vain hope that they will sleep.

Finally ..

The most important thing when taking toddlers on a long journey is to keep things calm and the toddlers occupied with frequent changing activities.

Long journeys can be boring for everyone, and for a toddler it seems never ending. The question, 'Are we there yet?' is a question that can aggravate any parent especially when you are only 10 minutes into the journey with the knowledge that you might have to travel another 2 hours or more.

Keep yourself calm and pre-empt any fractious behaviour, nip it in the bud before it escalates.

Journeys can be fun, even with toddlers, so enjoy.

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Comments 6 comments

kennynext profile image

kennynext 4 years ago from Everywhere

And keep a couple of barf bags in case of car sickness

Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 4 years ago from Cornwall Author

haha kennynext, there is an idea. Thanks for reading

Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

Hi, Alison! Boy does this bring back memories - all the stops, all the extra fun stuff, all the things that small children need. But thinking ahead sure makes a difference. The trip itself should be a fun activity so the kids enjoy the ride.

Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 4 years ago from Cornwall Author

Exactly Dolores. Fun is the game for all involved. Thanks for reading.

AEvans profile image

AEvans 4 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

We would pack a lunch for our son too. When we had nieces and nephews who would ride it was like being an airline pilot, we had to prepare for flight. We also played slug bug which helped on the endless journey. Thanks for all of the tips and I enjoyed the read. Thumbs up and shared. :)

Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 4 years ago from Cornwall Author

Thanks AEvans, packing lunch certainly helps. What is slug bug? I might try it if I know what it is lol

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