Road Trip with Your Toddler – An Adventure!

road tripFamily road trips are a great way to share quality time together seeing the country around you! Taking a road trip by car brings you close to the sights and sounds of nature. Road trips provide opportunities to spend time together without meeting schedules that come with other forms of travel. There are many advantages for your family if you are realistic and well prepared for your road trip. Many families find themselves traveling on a budget and taking a road trip provides families an opportunity for a much needed vacation. Like many things in life a road trip requires a some planning to be successful and to stay within the vacation budget. In this post I will highlight some of the advantages and rewards of a family road trip with your toddler and young children.

Why you should take a road trip with your toddler!

Encourage Curiosityroad trip

Children are by nature very curious. Toddlers love to encounter and experience new things. Young children become fascinated by the simplest of things that they discover. Your toddler will want to know how things work. It is important to provide your child with new opportunities to explore. It allows them to discover the world around them. One place that allows children to engage their curiosity is in nature. Planning a road trip that includes some outdoor time allows for self discovery and can keep your vacation on budget. Most of our national parks are free to use. Staying in campsites at the national parks very inexpensively and does help to keep the vacation on budget. Children of any age will enjoy this type of adventure.

Time off the gridroad trip

Being off the grid means different things to different people. The idea is for all family members (including parents) to leave their electronic devices behind, creates an opportunity to be in the moment of experiencing their surrounding without that interruption. If you choose to be out in nature as your road trip destination there is often more limited signals and the use of electronic devices is not possible.

Flexibilityroad trip 4

If you are taking a road trip your itinerary is much more flexible. You do not have to be bound by as many scheduled departures and arrivals. You can plan your trip to allow for the needs of your family. If it is best to travel at night you can plan that into your itinerary. Car travel allows opportunities for your toddler some movement time. Travel stops for your toddler to run and stretch are accommodated. In any road trip there are some surprises along the way. You may encounter sights and attractions as you travel that you were unaware of. Traveling by car allows you to take advantage of those unexpected experiences.

Family bondingroad trip 5

There are many distractions and demands in our lives on a daily basis. Many families have a need for both parents to be working a full time job to be able to live comfortably. Vacations provide families time to be together as a family without those daily interruptions. Spending time together is meaningful and fun. Everyday family routine is gone. Just being together as a family and devoting your attention to the needs of each individual family member is a benefit and creates a stronger family bond.

Save Moneyroad trip 6

Traveling by car is the cheapest mode of travel in today’s economy. The gas prices around the United States are very affordable. Air, train, bus or boat travel can be very pricey depending on how far you want to travel and how many travelers you have. Family vacations are easier to keep on budget traveling by car. A wider variety of places to stay are possible on a road trip. Camping is very inexpensively if you enjoy that. Stay at cheaper hotels that are outside of a city, if your destination is more urban. These choices allow you to extend your budget and get more out of your dollar. An additional weekend away with the money saved!

Take what you wantroad trip 7

Traveling by car allows you some additional space to take the things you would like to have. Other modes of travel only room for the items that you absolutely need. Those other modes of travel impose some restrictions on the amount of items you can take with you. If you are traveling with a toddler there are several extra items that you need for successful travel. The advantage of car travel is that you will not have to pay extra to take those things with you. Toddlers require things that will keep them busy. Traveling in your own car allows you to take those things for a more successful trip.

Free of everyday routineroad trip 9

Taking a road trip with your toddler it is important to keep the basic time schedule for you toddler’s meals and sleep close to their usual routine. This makes it most comfortable for them. Road trips allow time away from the usual daily activities that you engage in at home. More time with you family relaxing, playing, exploring, napping, creating, etc are just some of the things that will rejuvenate you.

Enjoying new adventuresroad trip 10

For those with a sense of adventure, taking a road trip with your family can be very exciting. Encountering the unexpected or things unplanned creates memories and bonding as you experience those unexpected situations together. Plan to meet the needs of you and your family members. Food and activities to occupy the time spent driving are needed. Having hunger needs met opens up time to stop and explore an unexpected park, trail, lake, or swimming pool. Get off the main interstate road. Take the smaller highways to really have an opportunity to see the local life style. A stop at the local ice cream parlor in the small town is a special treat for anyone!

Creating memories

Taking road trips with your family is all about creating memories. It is about encountering and dealing with the situation together. A flat tire is an undesirable delay that can be framed as an adventurous ride in a tow truck. Rainstorms encountered on your camping vacation provide many great stories to relive later. The tales about how you endured it together could become legend. The beautiful rainbow over the lake after a rainstorm creates a powerful memory.road trip 11


  1. Erika

    You have some great ideas here. My husband and I never took much of a “real” vacation with our kids, who are now 7 and 4 and I wish we had traveled more when the older one was a toddler. It can be difficult with young children, but you make it sound like it’s really not a big deal.
    Are there any specific places you have traveled with your young children that were just plain awesome? I think I would like to take my kids on a road-trip camping experience if I can convince hubby!

    1. Janice

      Erika planning is the key. Taking our children when they are were young was sometimes easier then when they were older. We could plan and they would follow! It takes time and effort to care for toddlers at home and the time and effort it takes is not much different when you travel. The bonus when you travel is enjoying new and different experiences together.

      We have done tent camping, with the pack and plays in the tent alongside a lake in the Midwest. We have flown to Florida and spent a week collecting shells and playing in the sand along the Gulf. We vacationed in Disney World when the kids were 18 months and 3 years and has a ball! These are couple of the longer tips. We also did many weekend adventures as well.

      Stop back again. I will be adding more ideas and tips

  2. Gary


    what a wonderfully crafted website you have here and I love
    the depth of information you have offered.

    Young children are no longer a part of my life but as I read Taking a Road Trip with Your Toddler,
    I was amazed at how much there really is to consider.

    Janice great work, thanks again for the wonderful read, all my best,


    1. Janice Martin (Post author)

      Gary there are many possibilities and considerations when traveling with toddlers. Good planning and the same positive mindset you have in raising your toddlers everyday make traveling with them a real joy. The adventures and discoveries are endless!
      Thank you for visiting the site. Please share this site and information with family and friends that are raising Young children.

  3. Shawna

    I must admit, my family and I took our first EPIC road trip from Texas all the way up to Vancouver, Canada this summer. I guess I was not brave enough to take toddlers, but I agree with all of the reasons for taking a road trip. The memories alone were truly epic–there is nothing like learning how to zip line upside down while making Spiderman gestures or playing the “Sweet-N-Sour” game while riding a trolley car through the streets of San Fransisco.

    At times the “close” quarters got a little frustrating, but love grows in small places. Thank you for sharing your reasons and ideas for road trips with toddlers–it really builds character, family bonds, conflict resolution, and LOVE.

    1. Janice Martin (Post author)

      The family bonding and the many memories and stories that will be retold are simply priceless.

      Taking toddlers is almost as simple as taking children that are a little older. You won’t travel quite as far as your adventure took you! Toddlers tend to go to bed a little earlier, even on vacation, which provides some nice quiet time for parents to share.

      Thank you for sharing your road trip and I hope y have a chance to road trip again.

  4. lifebeginswithyourhealth

    Good article on taking your toddler on a road trip with you, why would you want to leave your toddler at home?

    Toddlers are awesome to hang out with, they are the life of the party. You can’t spend much time with a toddler and not smile, I wish my sons would have stayed toddlers forever.

    1. Janice

      You have understood my point exactly. Toddlers add much life and entertainment to our lives.

      Unfortunately some parents are overwhelmed with the idea of managing the stuff that comes with toddlers and the logistics of travel. Many of those parents will choose not to travel while their children are toddlers. I want to help parents and caregivers of toddlers to realize with some planning they can travel anywhere with their toddlers.

      Thank you for visiting

  5. Helen Doyle

    Now I must say all the things you have noted for toddlers apply to me too. I hate straight through travel, I love to explore things along the way, tend to be extremely flexible and thus end up seeing things I would never have known of if local people hadn’t told me about them. The only difference is the toddlers are at parent’s mercy on where, what, who and how!

    And driving and taking what you want is fantastic.

    I do take my mobile but only turn it on once a day just in case something important has come up.

    My parents really believed in family. They took all us kids away every summer. Three of us within 18 months of each other while I was a bit older. (I had ‘why did you want more kids syndrome’!)

    One thing we always did was sing our way along the road. My dad was a great tenor and I turned into a soprano. I am not sure what the other three were classified as but we all sure could sing. Dad picked up a hitchhiker once who was positive we were a travelling family singing group.

    For families with young children your site has great information.


    1. Janice Martin (Post author)

      Thank you for sharing your memories.
      I agree with you that taking the time to make travel comfortable for toddlers would benefit all travelers. Good planning and slowing down the pace makes travel more enjoyable for all!
      Stop by again for new posts and information.

  6. Marlaine

    I have two toddlers and while my husband and I enjoy traveling with them, and have done some large trips, there are a few things we just NEED to have or be prepared for if we don’t want to go crazy – perhaps it’s the same for you!
    1) Bring food. Lots of it. And the more creative and fun, the better.
    2) Stop often, and don’t drive on a schedule/have a end destination time you have to stick to.
    3) Pack the DVD player and lots of favorite shows.
    4) Pack “surprises”.
    5) Be prepared to sing lots of silly songs and be active in your observations of the landscape and sites around you.
    Travelling this way sure helps make a road trip into a fun trip!

    1. Janice

      Your list of suggestions are all great ways to make a road trip fun with your toddler! You may also want to check out the post “Travel Activities with Toddlers that work Every Time!”

      Thank you for stopping in!

  7. Mike Martin

    Hi Janice,
    Your website is fantastic.
    I thought I’d visit to be able to pass along some ideas to my son and his wife.

    However, I had some flashbacks to when I was a kid, and my parents took us on various trips,
    to Canada, to Texas, and so see some historic places like Washington, DC, Monticello, and others.It was a nice trip down memory lane as a result of looking at your website.
    Thank you.

    1. Janice Martin (Post author)

      Thank you for visiting Mike. The fact that you have memories of vacations and other trips, shows what an important time spent with family is.

      Please share the site with your son and others that will benefit from some helpful information.


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