1. Plan AheadSounds obvious I know, but if you keep a routine, try and stick with it. If it is nap time, try and have them take a nap in their car seat. Try to schedule your travels around their schedule. When we know we are going to be taking a two hour drive, we do it during nap time, and let him sleep in the car. Sometimes, we wait until night time to leave. We get him ready for bed and then "put him to bed" in the car and drive. Sometimes, you just can't arrange your schedule, and that is OK too, just know you will need to keep them entertained.
2. Technology is your friendMy son ate up the iPhone (something he rarely gets to play with), movies on the laptop and lots of music. FYI they MAKE toddler friendly headphones, I picked some up at Toys R Us before my big boy's 1st flight. They didn't last super long, but made a great distraction.
3. Pack CarefullyAgain common sense, but honestly make sure you have what you need. Do not forget their noise machine that they use to sleep with every night, (I only did this once). Or their favorite toy, book etc. Make sure you have what you need for where you are going. Also, snacks and plenty of toys, or books they haven't seen yet. However, do not over pack! The last thing you want to be doing is lugging extra stuff when chasing your toddler, or rummaging through useless stuff to find the item you need. There is a good balance that you must find for your toddler and your sanity. Bottom line, take what you need, a few extras just incase and leave the rest.
4. Let them surprise you
Honestly, my toddler did AMAZING traveling this summer. We found what worked for us and went for it. Even when he didn't sleep in the car, like he was supposed to, he was still in good humor and did well. I am so thankful to not have a toddler who screams the entire time. He even grabbed his sister's hand. Normally they don't sit next to each other in our car, however this was the best configuration in my grandma's car, and he melted my heart. They are more resilient and flexible than you know.
5. Have fun!
Enjoy your travels, be silly and make memories!
I hope that you are enjoying my Tips for Toddler's series, so far we have done Tips for Dining out with Toddlers, and Tips for Moving with Toddlers. Next week, Tips for Staying Home with Toddlers.