Road trip survival hacks with a toddler (1 to 3 year olds) for long hours and internationally.
We have an upcoming trip to Zambia this December. Therefore, Being the planner mom I am, I have prepared an essential packing list on how to make our road trip with a toddler much easier and essential road trip survival hacks to keep you sane.
Road trip survival hacks Essentials:
I would suggest you carry waist bags that you wrap around your waist so that you keep these essentials always on hand and close to you. You may also put the car keys in this bag.
Birth certificate and extra copies.
Child immunization records.
Emergency contact person details
Spare cash for toll gates and coins for paid toilets (yes that’s a thing in some countries).
Phone, charger, headsets, power bank.
Black Pen for filling in forms at the boarders.
Spectacles (reading glasses 👓)
Write down your vehicle registration number as well. Incase it’s a new car or a loan vehicle.
Vehicle registration papers under drivers name. (loan vehicles: assigned letter from owner, copy of owners ID and police vehicle clearance letter).
Pocket tissues or wipes
Hand sanitizer in a zip lock bag.
What to pack for adult passengers:
Clothes and shoes
Personal Toiletries and grooming
Chargers, adapters, phones
Airtime, data and place your phone on roaming before leaving.
Camera 📸 and selfie stick.
Packing list for toddler:
Aqueous cream or lotion you use
Bath wash, bath scrubs and shampoo
Toothbrush and tooth paste
Warm clothes: sweaters, pyjamas, trousers, long sleeve inner vests
Sunhats, sunglasses 😎 and sunscreen
Summer clothes: short sleeve inner vests, shorts, t-shirts, underwear
Eating utensils: bowls and spoons
Baby food and formula
Bottles and sippy cups
Washing powder you use for their clothes
Comb and nail clippers
Slippers, sandals, shoes, socks
Sling or carrier
Carry on luggage:
Opt for quiet and busy entertainment as your road trip survival hacks.
Doodling books, journals, 📖 anti stress coloring books, pencil crayons, music pod, podcasts, headphones, audio books, novels, neck pillows and anything personalized.
Spare clothes: 1 vest, 1 warm jacket, socks and extra shirt and or yoga pants. The point is you may get spills on you and it’s a great idea to carry any extra set of clothes for you. And if your trip is too long a refreshing change of clothes will be ideal if you will be meeting people at your destination. Remember you will be hugging people. 😉.
Bum cream, wipes, diapers
Extra clothes, bibs
Potty: if potty training I learnt this hack to add a diaper over your potty, so that you won’t have to clean it. Especially when traveling.
Scented Diaper disposable bags
Comfort toys (lovey)
Garbage bags, empty plastic bags for soiled clothes.
Small bucket for nausea
Water and juice
Travel Snacks for everyone:
• Dried fruits
• Non mashable fruits
• Nuts (if your child is not allergic)
• Biscuits and cookies 🍪
• Berries and grapes 🍇
• Energy bars for adults
• Boiled eggs
• Cubed ham and polony
• Finger veggies
• Small 🥪 sandwiches
• Different colored Cereal
• Simba Chips
• Apple and pear slices
• Squeezable Food pouches for toddler (if you like, you may use empty food pouches and add your home made baby food).
Eating utensils: paper plates, cups and wooden spoons, forks, tooth picks and knives.
Insulated thermo cups to keep baby food and drinks warm or cold.
Non spill Sippy cups: (pour in juice and water in advance (before the trip).
Tissues, wipes, swaddle blankets, cloth nappies and hand sanitizer for spills.
Lunch bags or cooler boxes for keeping food and snacks cool.
Calming spray mist: lavender essential oil, Roman Chamomile and bergamot essential oil or your favorite blends.
Keep these items in an easy to reach place during your road trip.
Emergency First Aid Traveling kit:
Nausea and motion sickness
Bandaids / plasters
Calamine lotion for diaper rashes
Flu and colds meds
Lavender essential oil for unopen wounds and calming.
Crepe Bandages with pins
Saline nasal spray and nasal aspirators
Pain killers (Calpol Tylenol, or panadol)
Allergex for allergies / Benadryl
Flash light charged or with extra batteries.
Getting your car ready:
Take your vehicle in for a service before traveling. Be sure to check filters, tires and brake pads. These are essential for your road trip survival hacks.
Car sunshades for your windows.
Ensuring that the doors and windows on child lock.
Seatbelts for safety.
Keep Jumpstart ears, reflector vests and triangles.
Updated license disc.
Spare tire and changing kit
Extra car oil and water
Fill your fuel tank before you leave.
Check tire pressure and fill air.
Pre-downloaded apps for toddler :
Any specialized apps for you.
Games and entertainment:
Favorite YouTube videos (downloaded offline). I have the YouTube Kids app on my phone for my son.
Spot the difference
DIY activity kit:
• Coloring books
• Reading books
• Sealed rice bottle for shaking.
• Remote control
• Fidget spinner and rubiks cube
• A lock 🔒
• Spare phone 📱 / tablet (to spare the battery on your phone) / landlines 📠
• Magnetic toys /fridge magnets and metal tray
• A small bell
• Colored pegs
• Post it notes
• Flash cards
• Stacking spoons
• Baby toy calculator 📟
• Empty bottles and lids to close
• Straw cleaners
• Rice in a bottle
More things in your DIY kit:
• Cars 🚗
• Glow sticks
• Small balls ⚽
• Stacking cups and blocks
• Colored Icecream / Popsicle sticks
• Clip board
• Wallet with cards or pictures
• Glitter in Glycerine in a sealed bottle or resealable (zip lock) bag.
• Paper craft
• Board with different types of fabric
• Cards and a mini Pringles box with a snip on the top of the lid to drop cards in
• Color in papers
• Ziplock bags to make sensory bags
• Finger puppets
• Earbuds and a thoroughly clean spice bottle
• Put balls in an empty tissue box
You may put these in various bags and surprise them during the trip as road trip goodie bags. Pinterest has a lot of ideas on what to make to keep a toddler busy (busy box).
Clever road trip survival hacks:
Avoid sugary drinks, chocolate and food that give toddlers a hype.
If you are carrying cash and cards. Put them in different bags or pockets. Incase one gets lost or stolen you have extra stashed away. Some places won’t allow you into the country with too much or too little cash. Find out the rules on this beforehand.
Wrap plastic / cling wrap on bottles before you close the lid.
Take your child for vaccinations, immunization are up to date and others: antimalaria pills. Visit your pediatrician before travel.
A travel company is a great source of information. They can inform you about small things you wouldn’t know unless you stay in that country.
Carry 3 outfits per day for toddler.
One way of budgeting is to store some money in a card you don’t usually use and leave it in a safe place at home. So that you are not completely empty after your holiday.
It is also a great idea to pay two months rent in advance. So that you won’t have to worry about rent after your holiday.
Wear dark, lightweight, comfortable clothes, shoes and laid back hair.
Swaddle blankets and cotton nappies are great absorbers. They are also good in place of hot blankets when the whether is in between.
Patience and tolerance will keep you going.
Be prepared to sit in the back seat.
Taking turns with driver.
Ziplock bags for food and bottles of toiletries to keep from spills.
Check weather app for destination before packing.
Be 📦 present in the moment and enjoy your ride. Your children pick up on your vibes.
Start your trip with toys and games, use electronics only later during the trip when toddler is fussy and tired.
Avoid giving your toddler too much to drink.
Stop for a stretch. When you stop for fuel, get everyone out of the car.
Distract from tears by playing games and singing songs.
Sing toddlers favorite songs and play chilled music.
Remember to carry your packing list so that you don’t forget anything on your way back. And when you take something out, put it back on the bags. Don’t leave your personal things everywhere. Lock them up if possible.
Rest well before your trip.
Keep hand sanitizer and tissues in all bags, accidental spills won’t wait for you. And some toilets won’t store these.
Have a full meal an hour before driving.
Leave enough leg room.
Do a quick car tidy up at stops.
Be alert and safe, especially at stops, you never know who may be watching you.
Your take home:
• Firstly, Keep these important road trip essentials close to you with a waist bag strapped around you at all times.
• Packing list for adults and toodlers.
• What to keep in your car during the road trip.
• Apps and games to keep your toddler and you busy.
• This handy list of what needs to be in your Emergency first aid travel kit.
• How to prepare your car for a long road trip.
• And lastly, road trip survival hacks.
Read more from MrsChettyLife: http://www.mrschettylifestyle.co.za/child-safety/