It’s summer!!!! Bring on the sunshine, the popsicles, days at the playground and splash pad and, my personal favorite, trips to the beach! Before we had kids, my husband and I were quick to jump in the car and take off on an adventure to the nearest place we could stick our toes in the sand. Now that we have a two-year-old, car trips have to be a little more strategic!

Last year, we were blessed to go to Disney World with the entire family which included our little boy and his cousins, ages 4 and 8. Traveling in the car anywhere for 12 hours can be a daunting task, but especially when you have that many littles. However, we made it there and back with minimal tears AND without relying on screens to entertain them throughout the drive. These ideas worked wonders for us, and I hope they make your family vacation this summer just a little brighter!

  1. Plan ahead and schedule drive time as much as you can. We chose to leave early in the morning (4 am early!) and loaded the kids in the car with their jammies, pillows, and blankets. That way, we already had a couple of hours under our belt before they truly woke up. 

  2. Be organized! Make each child a car caddy from a cheap dollar store shower caddy that’s loaded down with the essentials: books, crayons, healthy snacks and make sure they’re accessible! Sticker books and window clings are great for toddlers, string and simple crafts are great for older kids.

  3. Take it a step farther! We gathered small finds from the dollar bin (or even small toys that we already had lying around the house!) and wrapped them up as presents! We had enough so each child got one for every hour in the car (ranging from stickers to coloring books) that allowed for the excitement and anticipation of a “present” and the attention-grabbing ability of a “new” toy. They worked also great behavior incentives!

  4. Go old-fashioned! My mother used to pick a great chapter book and read out loud to us on road trips to the beach when my brother and I were growing up and that still is one of our favorite memories. Or if you want to be more tech-savvy, download an audiobook or check one out from your local library for free before you leave! 

  5. Take advantage of rest breaks. This was the hardest for my husband and me to adjust to because we tend to be that family that doesn’t stop much—before kids! Now when we travel, we make sure to stop and allow our son time to stretch or strategically stop at a park or restaurant that has a playground to get his wiggles out before we have to load up again. We’ve learned to give him the grace he needs as a two-year-old traveling in the car and it has made us more relaxed from the get-go to have realistic expectations.

Happy Travels! 


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