10+ tips for road trips with young kids

10 tips for road trips with young kids
In the past 8 years, my children have visited 6 different countries, 3 continents, and countless towns and cities in the United States and abroad. We’ve traveled by train, plane, boat, and car, and at this point our kids can pretty objectively be referred to as seasoned travelers. Recently, we’ve been doing a lot of road tripping, and while it’s nice to not have to plan for airlines, train stations, and long waits before departures, trips in the car with young kids have their own set of challenges. Over the years I’ve learned that these challenges can be minimized by how I pack, prepare, and execute a road trip with baby, and we’ve gotten our system down to a science thanks to Huggies at Costco.

Here are my favorite tips for road-tripping with baby:

  1. The diaper clutch. Instead of a bulky diaper bag that you have to lug into every rest stop, hotel, or stop along the way, I prefer a diaper clutch that I can slip inside my purse, into my husband’s backpack, or simply use on the tailgate when we change baby on the go. See our tutorial below on how to pack the perfect diaper clutch with baby essentials. Road Trip Huggies
  2. Pack a premium diaper. I love Huggies for my babes, and I especially love Huggies Little Snugglers Plus and/or Huggies Little Movers Plus {depending on what size you need} that are available exclusively at Costco. These hold in wetness really well, which means I don’t need to stress out about leaks, and that makes everyone happy on long car rides. There is nothing that can ruin a road trip faster than waking up a sleeping baby or toddler just to change their diaper because you’re worried they might leak.
  3. Bring Huggies wipes. Lots of them. Wipes are good for more than diaper changes, and are super practical for wiping up little hands, spills, or stickiness. Keep some in the glove box, in your purse, or in the console, and you can have them handy whenever you need them. Road Trip Huggies pouch
  4. Pack lots of snacks. Because of when we choose to hit the road, many times we’ve found that restaurants are closed or inconvenient to stop at, so I love to pack my own food for the journey. Normally, we pack everything in reusable food containers, but road trips are the one exception and we pack food in baggies that we can toss when they are empty. I typically make up some sandwiches, grab a bunch of bananas, a handful of squeezable fruit packages, and then put together some bags of cut up celery, carrots, and snap peas. Road Trip foods
  5. Break up the drive, if possible. Give the kiddos a chance to run around whenever you can. Plan on stopping at rest stops, parks, or other areas where they can get some energy out during your journey. If it’s a really long drive, plan on staying at a hotel with a pool as a special treat for the kiddos. Road trip pit stop
  6. Keep hydrated. Make sure you have bottles, sippy cups, or spill proof straw cups for little ones who can’t do disposable cups with straws without making huge messes. Even if you pour beverages in on the go, you will appreciate not having to worry that your backseat is going to be a flooded, sticky mess.
  7. Pack extra clothes. Trust me. Inevitably, they will spill something, roll or crawl in something at one of your stops, or just generally be messy and dirty in ways only little kiddos can. Since sleep will {hopefully} be on the schedule, dress baby comfortably and in lightweight clothing so they don’t overheat. Road Trip change of clothing
  8. Bring along some comfort items. Does baby have a favorite blanket, stuffed animal, or toy? Pack it for the trip to add a little comfort and security when driving and visiting new places. Then, when you get to your destination, these comfort items will go a long way towards soothing baby in a new environment.
  9. Plan your drive around sleeps. As long as the kids sleep for a portion of the journey, it will feel exponentially shorter… for all of you.  We call it “taking a shortcut” because when the kids sleep they always wake up and say “we’re here already?!”, incredulous that we made it to our destination so fast, which hubby and I think is hilarious. Whether you drive during the late night, early morning, or just during nap time, sleep in the car is a beautiful thing.Road trip comfort items
  10. Leave at the time less traveled. Around here there are no roads less traveled, but you can avoid most traffic by leaving at unpopular times of day. We are night owls, so leaving after dinner and driving until late into the night works well for us, but if you are an early riser you can try and leave as the sun comes up to miss mid-day traffic.

Bonus tip: Start young and then keep on road tripping. Even if your first road trip was a crying and screaming disaster, keep on trying. If you start them young and make road trips fun, it will be much easier to travel with them later on. Even if you are just visiting sites a few hours away on the weekends, frequent road trips will make those big trips you want to plan much more enjoyable.

On-The-Go Diaper ClutchRoad trip diaper clutchWant to make your own diaper clutch filled with baby essentials? It’s super easy to do, and so practical – for vacation as well as every day on the go!

Step 1First, you want to find a fabric pouch that is approximately 7.5 inches wide by 9.5 inches tall. If you are crafty, you can easily make one out of your favorite fabrics, you can repurpose a toiletry bag, or you can purchase a specific diaper clutch. I liked the Goober Baby one because it has a clear front, but really any pouch will do. Road Trip diaper clutch HuggiesStep 2Then, get one of the Huggies Clutch N’ Clean soft wipes containers. These are ideal because you can refill them as needed, they aren’t a hard case that takes up a large amount of space even with a tiny amount of wipes, and you can easily tell if it needs a refill just by glancing at it so you won’t accidentally forget to add more wipes. Road trip Huggies wipes
Step 3Need diaper cream, spray, or something else? Add a small trial size bottle filled with whatever you need to your diaper clutch so you don't have to cart around the full size bottles. If you have any samples you've collected, this is the perfect place to stash them. You may never need them, but it will be nice to have handy if you ever do.

Step 4Next, add diapers. Each month, we load up on Huggies Little Movers Plus {available in size 3-6} at Costco and we stock our nursery with diapers that can keep up with our little mover. 
Huggies at CostcoFor little babies, you can get Huggies Little Snugglers Plus {sizes newborn – size 3} at Costco. Newborn Huggies Little Snugglers Plus diapers are also available at select Costco stores and online. Find a store near you with the Costco store locator.   Huggies in CostcoSo, what does the “Plus” mean? It means they are the softest, most absorbent Huggies diapers, and up to 12 hour protection with Leak Lock®. The Huggies Little Movers Plus and Huggies Little Snugglers Plus are such a great value, and I love the quality of the diapers that give me peace of mind, on the road and at home.

Unsure of how many diapers to pack? For road trips, we typically pack 8 diapers per day for baby. We then stash those diapers away in the suitcase, and then we add 8 diapers into the diaper clutch for changes on the go and during the journey.

Do you have any go-to travel road trip tips or tricks? Do you shop Costco for Huggies?

7 thoughts on “10+ tips for road trips with young kids”

  1. Great tips! My wife is pregnant now, and I was worried about being able to continue our road trips, it’s great to hear it can be done even with little ones.

  2. Kirkland diapers are just as good as huggies. And a few bucks cheaper. Otherwise great tips. We travel a lot with our kiddies as well and I do most of the above tips already.


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