Any advice for taking a 2-year-old on a road trip?


12 Years
Feb 11, 2007
Bellingham, WA
My husband, 2-year-old son (Sam) and I are DRIVING to the APA National Show in Ventura, CA. We will be driving 9 to 10 hours a day for 2 days in a row on the way there. Then we're driving to Disneyland (2 hours) and staying for 2 days. After that we'll have to drive 10-12 hours a day for two days to get back home!

We've never taken Sam on a vacation before, much less a road trip! In fact, he's never slept anywhere except in his own crib!

Do any of you parents out there have some advice for making sure this trip goes smoothly? I'm freaking out a little bit and worrying that the whole trip will be a total nightmare. Any advice would be much appreciated!




Opa-wan Chickenobi
12 Years
May 11, 2008
Howell Michigan
Since drugs and alcohol are out of the question take lots of snacks and small toys. Also take a lot of patience along with you.

Cuban Longtails

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Sep 20, 2007
Northeast Texas
I was gonna say that exact thing!


Still chillin' with my peeps
Mar 13, 2008
East South Central (West KY)
uh... don't. JUST KIDDING!
stop every hour or two so he / she can get out of the car seat. That's a BIGGIE. A recent study showed that nearly all car seats INTENSIFY the vibrations and children in the seats get tired faster b/c of the increased vibrations. A leg-stretch / walk-around break will do a world of good. Bring ziploc baggies of a variety of different snacks, and the travel games that are made of metal with magnetic pieces may be good if you make sure the pieces are large enough not to be swallowed. A stuffed toy or favorite blanket will also be a cuddle-buddy and may help the child sleep more or be more relaxed. I hope your trip goes well and your travels are safe!


11 Years
Apr 21, 2008
North Central Florida
I would say a play pen (the fold able type) and his own blankets and night time routine stuff. That will help him go down at night.

As for traveling, for his age, 2 hours is forever. Stop about every 2 hours, let him run, play, giggle and exhaust him, not where a lot of people or pets are around, balls or bean bags. Only take them out when you have stopped, makes it special. It will help the whole family. He may be able to get along without stopping often, but make sure you place a box of toys all around him and even you may have to sit in the back with him so you can read or entertain, make sure the car seat can be adjusted so if its nap time, lean it back, ride or play time, sit up straight. Variety of positions.

Don't forgo the naps while your away, with all the miles you are going to be walking, you will all need the nap- lol.

Snacks, snacks, snacks. Pretzels, veggies, apples and
things he has to work at. Meal times need to be met, keeps everyone happy when the hungry monsters are around!

These are things my Nephew and his wife did when they drove from S. Dakota to Idaho with a 3 year old and it worked wonders. Good luck to you, have fun and keep us all posted- don't forget little garbage bags, for those holy hanna moments- wet wipes for you, him and the door knobs. Great for sanitizing changing pads and stuff.
Keep us posted, love to hear about the trip!


Squeaky Wheel
11 Years
Feb 11, 2008
Waterloo, Nebraska
My kids always traveled with us when they were little, and we never had the trip from [email protected]#l. It all depends on the kids. They will usually behave however you expect them to. Yes, they will get tired. Yes, they may be a little crabby. I always learned that the less of a big deal it was for me, the less of a big deal it was for them. Bring movies, toys, etc., but don't over do it. Sometimes too many choices and to much activity in the car can over stimulate. Turn the radio low, keep the discussions minimal, and give them some mindless activity like a movie or crayons until they go to sleep. Naptime is your friend. No sugary snacks or drinks either. That will just fuel the fire. And remember, even if it turns ugly, this too shall pass.


12 Years
Oct 25, 2007
My husband and I used to drive with our two young sons, 3 dogs, guinea pigs and snakes from Atlanta to New Hampshire each summer (20 hours). We would leave just before dinner, drive for a few hours, get supper and then they would sleep ALL NIGHT in their car seats. Of course, my husband and I would have to tag team driving but the peace and quiet and relatively unchanged schedule worked out great. Good luck!


11 Years
Aug 12, 2008
NE Oklahoma
As NHred said, night is your friend! I am from Oregon.....I have lived in Oklahoma for over 23 years........It is 30 hours from my driveway to my parents house.........we have six kids..........

Low sugar snacks, mandatory out of the car at each gas refill...."who can run around the building fastest?", "okay, everyone! let's dance our sillies out!" meaning get them moving when and wherever you can.

Others may look at you silly in the gas station....but it does make the whole drive better! I also make sure there is lots of paper and crayons, magnetic games and a dvd player.

And, as was said earlier, they will match your mood! So go with the will be wonderful!


12 Years
May 17, 2007
Plastic buckets. My kids would get car sick driving from here to Safeway. Always have the buckets ready. Put plastic bags in them so that you can ditch the mess as soon as possible, otherwise, the car is going to have that smell all through the trip.

Also, avoid beans and chili and any type of Mexican food the day before the trip.

Good Luck,

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