I did my first solo-trip with the kids to Cape Cod, which from my area is about a three and a half hour drive. I did a TON of research and asked polls on my Instagram to figure out the must-have items to make travel easier and the dos and don'ts. I took what you all recommended and used most of it and have weeded out what works and doesn’t work (at least for my three and almost two year old).
SPOILER ALERT: the three year old rocked the entire trip and the two year old was a human nightmare. The difference between the two was actually insane from start to finish. She was cranky in the car, hated anything given to her, made a mess, didn’t sleep at the house we rented, refused most meals we ate out, and just struggled overall with the change in routine. He slept, he ate, he was comfortable, and he had no problem with any of the trip! The difference a year can make!
TIP NUMBER ONE
Another big win was trail mix. I found some with m&ms and candied pineapple, and another things I know the kids love. It took them a while to get through to the candy so it was a good busy treat to search through the cup to find the goodies, while also eating healthy pieces like fruit and nuts.
My last snack win was protein bars and fruit leather bars. These were super easy to toss back in the car and let them munch on. I found some with a chocolate covered bars and those were great because it wasn’t messy when they broke pieces off or chewed them. Total win!
iPad. The three year old watched a million and one episodes of Paw Patrol, Stinky and Dirty, and Trash Truck. I kid you not, he would’ve been completely content with just having shows to watch and he didn’t complain a single second (except 15 minutes away from the house when he had to pee).
He doesn’t play games yet or anything so we didn’t even attempt some of the app recommendations or those things.
HOWEVER, the almost-two-year-old couldn’t care less about the iPad. She checked in with it a few times but she doesn’t really watch anything yet and didn’t care or wasn’t distracted by the shows at all. So…I don’t love that for her.
I bought a few of the dry erase marker sets with random pages that they could do in the car, and two of the disappearing ink books for the kids to do…neither gave a shit. Actually, it back fired because Layla decided that her legs needed to be orange so she used the dry erase to color all up her arms and legs and I had to wash her the second we got in.
I was terrified that it would dye her skin for the wedding!
Markers and the coloring pages and books were just too above the kids. They didn’t care even though I had pages that they liked and had asked for before leaving. It was just not the right time or space for markers and art. Total fail and total backfire.
I will add that they did like to do these in the downtime of the morning and nights outside at the table. So, while it was a car fail, it was a decent time killer during the morning primarily. Not too bad to keep the kids busy constructively.
BEST BUY OF THE TRIP
These were a must buy and I loved having them. We have a trip coming up and I’m excited to put them to use again. Super well made, fit nicely on both kids laps even though they’re different sizes and easy to pop on and off.
Overall takeaways from a long car ride with two toddlers: unique and novel snacks are a must have, an iPad is great for older kids but useless for younger, and get a lap desk because they’re awesome for holding snacks and toys without constantly reaching back to pick them up and potentially crash the car! I’m so bad at reaching back L