Going on a road trip with a toddler and kids? 7 Mistakes to Avoid

by Last updated Jun 30, 2020Travel Wisdom

About this blog: Some of my friends who are also proud parents often complain that they cannot travel with their kids. And they had asked us to give them some tips on travelling with the little ones. We do not have hands-on knowledge on this topic but have done a road trip with a toddler recently. We had travelled with my sister and my very naughty niece last year and had also done a few road trips with our friends with their little boy. I had actually asked them to write this article for my readers, but they being their lazy selves did not oblige. So I had to write about these tips on doing a road trip with toddler and kids. I had to literally irritate them to death with my questions before this blog was done.

Travelling with kids can be a bit overwhelming. I remember my parents complaining about how cranky and naughty I was as a toddler and the amount of exasperation I caused them while travelling. However, they never stopped travelling and never without me. They say that the road trip with a toddler is a great learning experience for the family. Even today, when I look back at the old albums, I see myself in various sizes and shapes standing in front of some beautiful and spectacular locations. I guess I do have to thank my parents and family for those genes!

This is me at Kedarnath when I was 2.5 years old!

Amrita at Kedarnath

So, having a kid is definitely not the end of travelling. You don’t have to give up your travel plans after having your kids. I agree that travelling with kids can be a bit tough. You might as well feel the need to pack the entire house in the backpack. The sneak peek of the flight or the road trip with a toddler might give you cold feet. What if the baby cries during the entire trip? Or the little one throws a fit every now and then?

Well, your fears are real. Travel with kids or a road trip with toddlers can be mentally exhausting and physically demanding. This would test your marriage and you would probably want to return back home right then. However, parents do not shy away from travelling with their kids, just as my parents were. And that is because the reward is great. The return on investment is much greater than you can possibly believe. Yes, travel with kids is tough, but your children will grow and become more curious about the world.

So, plan a trip with your kid. Start with a small road trip with a toddler. See how your kid reacts on the road. Children, like all of us, have a different disposition and each of them might react differently in the same situation. Some will be the perfect kid holding your hand and sleeping, while the other can be running here and there all around keeping you on toes. I understand that it will be tiring to travel with kids. But you should also introduce your kid to the world of travelling.

In the last year, we have done a few road trips with a toddler with us. We travelled with our friends who are proud parents of a very naughty energetic little boy. The trip to Daringbadi was a great learning experience for us as well as them. We made a few mistakes and learnt on what not to do on a road trip with a toddler. We are sharing the experience so that you do not make the same one on travel with your kids.

Road Trip with a Toddler – mistakes to be avoided

  1. Expecting too much

This is the first mistake we usually do while on a road trip with a toddler, or for the matter, travelling with them. Infact, this was one of the biggest mistakes we did while travelling with a kid. For my part, I had expected to cram in some sightseeing in the day. My friend on the other had hoped to reach the destination early. When both of this did not happen, we were a bit disappointed.

So, do not set your expectations high. Infact, I would suggest you go with the flow. There are things that might go wrong on the road. Just make up your mind and enjoy the time with your kid. You will definitely make much better memories!

  1. Not bringing a stroller

Parents and kid walking in park with a stroller

For a road trip with a toddler, it is good to get a stroller with you. It is easier to put your kid in the stroller with some snacks while on a walking tour. You can use a carrier by all means, but sometimes, the physical space helps the parents a lot.

  1. Being overly strict with your kid

I know, I know, you have fixed screen time for your kids. You might have a fixed routine for your kids as well. But while travelling, your strict routine is bound to go kaput. One thing that I have realized is that do not be overly strict with your lid while travelling. If they want to run around a bit, let them do it while keeping an eye on them. Do not worry about the screen time on mobile or tablet. Travelling is a time for you to relax and also for your kids.

Parents and kid in Daringbadi
  1. Overpacking – Know what you are packing and pack well

I understand that kids and toddlers need a lot of gear and it is quite easy to overdo it while packing. I know there are car seats to pack for the road trip with a toddler. Then you need to also take the stroller, extra clothes, diapers, toys, playthings, snacks and so many more. It is very easy to overpack.

But taking a lot of things with you does not necessarily mean that you will get them at the right time. In one of our trips, we had packed a lot of stuff for the child, but during an emergency, my friend could not find the packet of diapers she brought! We had to stop and buy a new one. Later the packet was found in the bottom of the travelling backpack. So it is also important to pack properly the important stuff and also know where you are keeping them.

As for toys and books, I would suggest you keep hem limited at one or two of their favourites. The kids usually do not play with all the stuff you bring. And also they will ask you to buy new things that they see.

  1. Skipping the nap time

This is one mistake that you must absolutely avoid. Having an irritable and tired toddler with you on a road trip is going to be quite stressful. Have a nap time or a quiet time for your kid where they can rest. If the kid’s daily routine demands a nap time in the afternoon, give it to him. This will make the kid well behaved and agreeable.

  1. Not packing enough food and snacks

A small baby eating

I think this is one of the gravest mistakes that you can make, for there is nothing worse than a hungry kid. While travelling with kids, you should be careful about the food he eats. Proper nutrition is important for your young toddler and he should be fed at regular intervals. The young toddler can now start eating the same food the family eats. However, you need to check for excess salt, sugar and spice.

My friend has been using products of Nestle Gerber for her toddler. Gerber® offers a variety of organic single grain and multi-grain cereals for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.  They provide a wide range of food products that are easy to digest as well as tasty. It is also easy to prepare, something that is quite important for a road trip. The kid also seems to enjoy his cereals while on the go.

I would also suggest you carry a lot of fruits. They can become quite a saviour in the time of need.

Also carry healthy food options life dry cereals, granola bars, toffees and lollipops in your purse.

  1. Skipping travel altogether

I know a lot of people who say that they would not travel until their kids grow older. I can totally understand that feeling. But as a traveller myself, I would suggest you go out on the road with your kid. A vacation need not be an expensive one or even a long one. Start by exploring your own backyard. Go for day trips and may a road trip for a day. You deserve the break and so does your kid.

Me and my niece at Darjeeling - road trip with a toddler

My niece and I at Darjeeling Mall

Remember, travelling is the best education that your child can get. They will be curious and will ask a lot of questions. The kids will be hungry to learn new things; their ears will be ready for a new language and eyes for newer sights. Travelling will teach them to be more flexible and it will definitely increase their tolerance for discomfort. This, in turn, will build their confidence. They will complain less and find a solution to problems on their own. Finally, travelling will also make them appreciate their home and routine. Aren’t these reasons enough to show your little one the world?

Do you have any tips for travelling with kids? Please let us know in comments below. All your tips are extremely valuable for our readers!

 Disclaimer: This post has been written in collaboration with iBhejo.com and Nestle Gerber Baby Food. All the opinions here are, however, my own. 

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Mistakes to avoid while travelling with kids

Tips on Road trip with a toddler
Agni & Amrita

Agni & Amrita

Travel Experts

We are Agni and Amrita, the story-telling team behind Tale of 2 Backpackers and partners in crime in travel and (mis)adventures of life. We have been travelling together for more than a decade looking for immersive experiences while enjoying the little beauties of life. We are intrigued by heritage, culture, festivals and people and that is reflected in our travel. And yes, we love the Himalayas too.

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26 Comments

  1. agree with all your points, except bringing the strollers. My kids never used stroller and it used to be an extra luggage

    Reply
    • Thank you Sapna for sharing your views!

      Reply
  2. Trip with kids means need a lot of preparation with proper safety. It needs proper research too. Great post.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Pamela!

      Reply
  3. This is really very helpful article and helps us also make notes to avoid mistakes during trip.

    Reply
    • Thank you Rakesh!

      Reply
  4. This is a must read post for all parents and people with kids… Really helpful! I will share this with my aunts!

    Reply
    • Thank you Mrinal!

      Reply
  5. I related to each and every word you wrote here. We have been road-tripping with kids for almost a decade and since the time they were 12weeks old. Every journey has been unique and filled with good and not-so-good memories. This is a very helpful article. It’ll surely help parents who are thinking about road tripping and backpacking with their young kids.

    Reply
    • Wow, it is so good to know that you travel with your little one. Thank you for the comment!

      Reply
  6. Heer and I love to travel, and we started travelling when she was really young. At six months she took a short road trip to Mahabaleshwar and with two years she already took 3 international holidays and numerous domestic ones. I believe the trick is to start YOUNG.

    Reply
    • That is so true, Heena. Start early and they will thank you later. Just as I thank my family for travelling with me even when I was little.

      Reply
  7. Really nice information. Everyone needs to read this who usually travels with toddlers.

    Reply
    • Thank you Raju!

      Reply
  8. Trip with kids means need lots of preparation and properly if we do all the preparation then it will be easy

    Reply
    • Thats so true, Rituka! Travelling with kids need a lot of preparation.

      Reply
  9. This is such a good post, I wish every parent could read it. I have heard those as well. That they have kids so they cannot go on road trips. But I also have friends who started to Travel with their kids when they were really little.

    Reply
    • Thank you Raksha! We really believe that kids should be introduced to travel early.

      Reply
  10. These are very useful tips for all those who love traveling but are scared to indulge due to small kids.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Sanjay!

      Reply
  11. Beautiful post and great tips for new mommies to ponder.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Meenal!

      Reply
  12. This is so informative for parents who travel with kids and infants. Very detailing and informative for sure

    Reply
    • Thank you!

      Reply
  13. Hey Amrita, this is one fantastic piece. You’ve shed light on the correct points and how parents can plan 100% well so everyone has a good time during their travel.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much!

      Reply

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