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My husband and I had the opportunity to take our first trip as a family, which consists of my husband, our 2-year-old son and I. We decided on going to Disney World in sunny Florida this July. Since I’m not a fan of flying, we took a 20 hour drive down to Orlando from Southern Ontario. That’s 20 hours of driving time (not counting all the gas, toilet, eating breaks and over night stops), trapped in a car with a toddler who is in full throws of the Terrible Twos. Are we crazy? Eh, maybe, but we did learn many important lessons along the way, which now qualifies to write this post.
Do’s & Don’ts of Traveling with a Toddler
- If traveling with both parents, have one sit in the back with the child to entertain him or her
- Pack a First Aid kit and an Emergency Kit
- If you are Canadian traveling in the USA, I recommend getting a temporary (30 day) roaming package so you can use your smart phone while traveling.
- Brings paper maps, you can’t rely on the GPS, you could lose satellite reception when you need it most.
- Get CAA (works with AAA in the USA) for roadside assistance, plus you can get discounts at some hotels
- Ensure you always carry small bills and quarters for toll routes
- Stop frequently for the toddler to stretch his legs
- Don’t pack too much, you might want to consider leaving extra room for some purchases
- Don’t travel long stretches without stopping, your kids will end up driving you batty
- Don’t feed your kids sugary or over processed snacks, they’ll get hyper, trust me, that’s not good when your kids are trapped in a car seat.
What To Bring
It’s hard not to over pack when you are traveling with a toddler and baby. You don’t want to forget anything, so you bring everything right? Here as some items that we brought and were very thankful we didn’t leave behind.
- A small bag with diapers, wipes, a change of clothes and perhaps toddler size plate, cup and utensils for when you make a pit stop
- Healthy snacks such as cheese, grapes, apple slices, crackers as well as water
- A small traveling cot, play-pens are not always available in the hotels, especially if you are travelling during high season.
- An umbrella stroller, it’s less practical than a full size stroller but it uses a lot less car space
- Munchkin Two White Hot Safety Sunblock Shade-Black to keep the sun out of your child’s eyes
- A tray that fits your child’s car seat such as the Start Kids Snack & Play so they can eat snacks, colour, play with cars or toys
How to Entertain your toddler WITHOUT using electronics
When traveling with a toddler who is going through the terrible two stage and highly likely to have a tantrum at any time, it’s easy to want to result to giving them an iPad, iPhone or portable DVD player to keep them quiet. My husband and I limit our sons electronics. He barely has any screen time at all! It’s a choice we’ve made because screen time for children 3 and under has negative impact of children’s development. So, instead, here are some suggestions on how to entertain your child the old fashion way:
- Bring along a few of your child’s favorite CD’s. (warning; you might get very tired of hearing the same song over and over)
- A variety of small manipulative toys to keep his or her hands busy such as dolls, cars, crayons, markers, colouring books and stickers (but if you bring stickers, be ready for your child’s car seat, arms and legs to have a make-over)
- Books, we love anthologies because they have a variety of stories
- And don’t forget, for everyone’s sanity, their favorite blanket, or lovey or whatever they need to fall asleep.