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Our Favorite Road Trip Essentials For Toddlers

*This post is in partnership with DockATot. I received free product in exchange for my honest review.

Road tripping with a baby or toddler doesn’t sound ideal or “fun” to a lot of parents. Especially not when it’s cross-country. Yes, that’s right. We just drove cross-country with our toddler AND our German Shepard. 3,400 miles across 7 days totaling 50 hours of driving time. And we all survived! I firmly believe I deserve an award for this (anyone else have a recent parenting accomplishment? haha).

While this kind of trip doesn’t sound fun to a lot of people, it honestly wasn’t horrible! For real! It went super smoothly. I’ll actually be sharing some of my top tips for surviving a road trip with this age group in a future post. But today I wanted to share some of our favorite products that helped us along the way. These items kept us organized, entertained our toddler, and just overall made our trip a hell of a lot easier. So let’s get started!

Diaper Caddy

I love the idea of having a diaper caddy in the car! I technically had two in my Jeep on this trip. I always have an organizer that hangs on the back of the driver’s or passenger’s seat (this frees up space in my purse so I don’t need a diaper bag) and then we also had a basket that I put next to Allie’s seat as well. This caddy held things like diapers, wipes (lots of wipes since they’re multi-purpose), baby Tylenol, saline drops (and any other medications we could potentially need), diaper rash cream, a thermometer, hairbrush, hair elastics, trash bags, tissues, etc.

This caddy literally has anything and everything you could possibly need. Is all of it actually needed? No, probably not. And if you know me, you know that I’m pretty minimalistic in terms of what I pack in our bag when it comes to that sort of thing. But considering our most recent road trip was 50+ hours spread out across 7 days, I wasn’t taking chances. Not to mention we were going from 80-degree weather on the west coast to 60-degree weather on the east coast. So things like allergies and head colds are much more common and likely than say a 5-hour drive to grandma’s house. So I’m glad I had everything we needed just in case.

New Toys

I only bought Allie a couple new toys for this trip, but sometimes having something new can help tremendously. If Allie was ever in the middle of a larger “breakdown” then I’d whip out a new toy or something she hasn’t seen before and handed it to her. It was typically just enough for us to find the next rest stop and get her out before the next breakdown hit. If you have older children with better attention spans then this trick could buy you even more time. For our toddler, it gave us a good 20-30 minutes of silence while we made plans to stop again. So it worked well for us.

Trash Bags

These are mentioned above in our diaper caddy, but I can’t recommend these more! We have the diaper trash bag dispenser by Munchkin and it always comes in handy. I have one attached to my purse as well as in our diaper caddy along with extra rolls in case they’re needed. We also use these to pick up after our dog, Jack as well when we’re on road trips so they’re very multi-purpose and necessary to have.

DockATot

We loooove our DockATot! Now that Allie is bigger, we upgraded to the DockATot Grand because she loved her DockATot Deluxe so much when she was younger. We had used it for her naps and lounging around the house and I remember being so upset when she outgrew it (she’s quite long so she actually outgrew it a bit more quickly than most!). Now that she’s older and I knew we had this big road trip planned, I reached back out to DockATot to partner with them on this post. We’re so grateful that they chose to work with us again and we were able to get both the DockATot Grand and a travel bag for our trip!

Our DockATot arrived a few weeks before our trip so we were able to use it around the house prior to taking it on our trip. Allie jumped right into it the moment we took it out of the box! She instantly fell in love with it.

For those of you who don’t know about DockATot, it is a multi-functional lounger, co-sleeper, and playtime lounger handmade in Europe and designed in Sweden. It comes in two sizes. The first is the Delux which is for babies 0-8 months old and the second is the Grand which covers babies 9-36 months (this is an excellent product for toddler bed transitions!). One of my favorite things about this lounger is that it is tested for breathability which is so important when looking for a great co-sleeper or loungers for your little ones. We used the DockATot Delux for nap times when Allie was little and safety was always my top concern there. It is also OEKO-TEX certified and made with 100% cotton.

I thought the DockATot Grand would be perfect for our road trip to help with Allie’s sleep in the hotels. I had traveled with her in July and her sleep had gotten completely off track during that week. Even with 13 months of sleep training under our belts. So we knew we needed a new plan for sleep on this trip. Since she loved her DockATot the first time around, we decided to try out the larger size and it’s been AWESOME.

If your little one(s) have problems sleeping on the road, then we highly recommend this! We really didn’t want to tote around her pack n play in and out of every hotel so the DockATot was an excellent alternative to that. It’s super lightweight and fit perfectly in the back of our Jeep (it laid right on top of our luggage to prevent any smushing!). The case is also very easy to clean! We wash it about once a week to keep it looking like new which works well for us. They also have tons of other prints that don’t get nearly as dirty as the white can if this one isn’t your style.

All in all, we’re still huge fans of DockATot and recommend it to just about everyone we know. DockATot is great for all sorts of lifestyles whether you’re using it for travel, at-home sleep, camping, trips to the beach, or just lounging around the house. DockATot is a must-have in our home so don’t forget it on your next trip!

Back Seat Mirror

I love having a mirror in the car so we can see Allie. Being that she’s still rear-facing, it can be really hard to check on her without a mirror so we have a super basic one that we picked up at Target and it’s always been so helpful. Not only can I peak back there to see what she’s doing, but she can also see us as well. I think this helps a lot on long road trips so she’s not feeling lonely back there.

Snacks…Lots of Snacks

We don’t typically give snacks in the car due to choking purposes, but when you’re going cross-country (or on any extended road trip) then snacks are a life saver. We made sure all snacks were ones Allie’s had a million times before and only gave her softer snacks that were super easy to chew even if she were distracted. Food pouches are awesome for this if you have a baby or young toddler! They’re far less likely to choke on them. As for meals, we always stopped and gave both Jack and Allie a full 30-minute break to eat.

Packing Cubes

Oh man. I can’t even begin to explain how amazing packing cubes are. If you don’t have a set already, then you need to go out and get one. I have two sets for Allie and two sets for myself. I try to pack all of her things in her two cube patterns and my things in my own to keep everything separated and organized. For example, I used one cube for each of us for our overnight bag: my clothing in one and hers in another. I also had a cube for all her bath time essentials and another for makeup. However you choose to organize your belongings, these are so helpful for any and all trips.

Spill-Proof Sippy Cups

Cricual. Pack sippy cups that are spill proof. We have straw sippy cups by Nuk and they’re awesome! They close right up to prevent spills when not in use and they’re super easy for Allie to hold and use. She’s also old enough now to know to close them up when she’s done using them which helps a ton.

Basic Cleaning Products

The last thing I recommend is basic cleaning products like disinfectant wipes, baby wipes, a towel or two, paper towels, air fresheners, etc. This keeps you prepared in the event that your toddler spills their drink, throws up, dumps their snack, etc. The last thing you want is to be stuck on the side of the highway in the middle of nowhere with no way to get your toddler (and the car) cleaned up. Be prepared!

What are your favorite road trip essentials for toddlers? Let me know in the comments!

XOXO
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