Last Updated on January 22, 2024 by Allison Lancaster
This post is sponsored by Chicco. I only work with brands I use and love, thank you for helping me support them.
Who is ready for summer? We sure are! This summer, Rebecca’s birthday is right around the corner, which is so exciting (and a little sad, if I’m being honest). For her first birthday, we started discussing options a few months back.
When we were discussing what sort of party to have, where to have it, etc. we kept coming back to the idea of not having a first birthday party and instead planning a family trip. My parents took me to the beach for my first birthday, so we decided that we would do the same with Rebecca!
I won’t lie: I am so excited for this trip. It will be the first beach trip that Levi really will be able to play in the water and enjoy the sand, and also just the special time surrounding Rebecca’s birthday makes it even more exciting. While I am ready for the trip itself, the thought of a 6+ hour road trip with a toddler and a baby isn’t something I am jumping for joy about.
Let’s be honest: traveling with kids can be difficult sometimes. So, when exactly can you take a road trip with a baby and a toddler?
If you are planning a road trip soon with your baby and toddler, here are a few of my favorite tips to help make the trip easier on you and more fun for the little ones. I also included the essentials that you might need in your bag and car.
5 Tips for Taking A Road Trip With a Baby and a Toddler
Plan your trip around their schedule. Don’t try to pack the car and leave right in the middle of nap time. It creates an opportunity for meltdowns and we all know that if they don’t get their naps out: it’s a recipe for disaster. We try to leave right before a nap so that they will fall asleep in the car (win!).
Be Prepared. If you are like us and your toddler is still working on the finishing touches of potty training: put them in training pants! Now is not the time to guess if they can hold it until the next restroom stop.
Also, make sure you have plenty of snacks, wipes, diapers, etc. for the baby. Trust me: a mad dash into a convenience store at 8 PM trying to find the right size of diapers is just something you don’t want to deal with.
Take Breaks. Check your map ahead of time and plan out breaks every 1.5 hours or so depending on your children’s ages. Let your toddler stretch their legs, feed the baby, make sure everyone has a restroom break and load back up.
We try not to go in and eat at restaurants that take a long time, instead we opt to bring our own food or stop at a fast food restaurant (I know, I know), in order to keep things moving. Remember: each time you stop or take a break is that much longer added to your road trip.
Entertain Them! For us, we have a DVD player in my van. Honestly, this has been a lifesaver on road trips. Levi can wear his headphones, watch an educational show and it is a special treat that he doesn’t get to enjoy often, so it keeps him entertained for awhile. We also give Rebecca toys that are ‘car only’ toys so that they keep her busy and entertained. Sometimes I will play games with Levi by asking what color the vehicles are in the next lane, how many tires they have, etc.
Keep Them Safe! You all know just how much I loved Chicco baby gear with Levi. So, when it came time to select car seats for Rebecca, it was a no-brainer: Chicco all the way! Levi has the NextFit Zip in both my van and Josh’s truck and we absolutely love it. Now that Rebecca has outgrown her baby seat, we recently transitioned her into the NextFit line, the newest model in the Chicco NextFit line, which will allow us to keep her rear-facing up to 50 lbs and even offers extra legroom so we know she’s comfortable on long road trips. Once she’s big enough, we’ll be able to easily transition the seat to forward-facing mode and continue using the NextFit Zip Max until Rebecca reaches 65 lbs or 49”.
Even though she could have started out in this seat from the time she was a newborn (which is one of my favorite features about this seat!), we decided to place her in one of the carrier style seats when she was a newborn just for the ease of carrying her in and out of places. However, she is to the stage where we decided that she would probably be more comfortable in a larger seat for our upcoming road trip.
NextFit Zip Max has so many amazing features, but let’s talk safety first: it is equipped with DuoGuard side-impact protection, a steel-reinforced frame and EPS energy-absorbing foam to protect children in the event of an accident. This is a huge plus for us, we always want our babies’ safety to come first and foremost.
A few of my other favorite features of the NextFit Zip Max are:
- The installation process is straight-forward and something that I can even do by myself.
- It’s easy to move from vehicle to vehicle, which is nice for road trips if you’ll be in a rental vehicle, etc.
- It features a zip-off machine-washable seat pad, 3D AirMesh backrest to keep little ones cool all summer long and two dishwasher-safe Cup Folders, which can easily be removed and stowed away when not in use.
I highly recommend the NextFit Zip Maxif you are shopping for a new car seat for your little ones, or if it’s time to upgrade their older seat! We are road trip ready with our babies in two Chicco seats!