Who likes to travel for 7 hours in a car with a 1-year-old – ALONE? (**crickets**)


Maximo and I travel to Pittsburgh and back almost every 2-3 months, so if anyone has this down to a science – it’s me. And really – it’s NOT THAT BAD. I think it’s just like attempting to breast feed in public or take the subway with a stroller for the first time. You just have to get out there and do it.

Let me break it down for you – and show you how you can do that roadtrip to the beach you’ve been DYING for all summer.

5 Tips for Road Trip Survival with Toddlers

1. Plan according to naps. Maximo still takes two naps, so I always plan to leave in the am right before his first one. This way, we kick off the trip with at least 2 hours of sleeping, and mom jamming to Bon Jovi and Motley Crue.

2. Map out the Rest Stops. Rest stops are MONEY!!!! There are a bunch in the middle of no-where PA which just happens to be about 3 hours (or half way) through our trip. After Maximo wakes up from his nap, we usually stop and have a picnic right on the blanket. You have grass, trees, plenty of crawl/run space to let a cooped up toddler stretch his legs.


3. Find an awesome pit stop. When you’re traveling for kids, allow for some extra time. This way you can find hidden treasures along the way that let’s them stretch their legs as well. My hidden favorite? DelGrosso’s Amusement Park (right by Altoona, PA). This little gem is RIGHT off the highway. It has FREE ADMISSION – and you can ride anything for about $1.

And they have TWO (count them) TWO carousels!!!



4. Movies in the Car. I don’t like to pass off Maximo to the boobtube, but in the car, it’s a lifesaver. We don’t have TVs either, baller, so get creative! My trick: I downloaded Little Pim DVDS to my iPad (so you don’t have to worry about wifi in the boonies) and then put my iPad in the carrier and tied it to the car headrest with a shoe string. BOOM!


(Bonus: Little Pim comes in almost EVERY LANGUAGE, so you can get your education on in the car. Plus, follow them on FB (here) they always are running a sale on DVDS.

5. Pack a picnic. Nothing says screaming like a starving child with no food for ’60 miles till the next exit.’ UGH. Make sure you have lots of goodies for the ride:

– water

– cheerios or crunchies

– bananas travel well and are easy to eat!

– fruit in a cup

– I even pack pasta salad in a ziplock bag!

– sandwiches. Good for mom too! Better than McDonalds!

FOR MOM – Don’t forget it’s YOUR roadtrip too! Be sure to load up that iPad playlist for the car, or have a handy music app ready to go.

My fave: Spotify. You can actually skip through all the songs you don’t like – if you’re as picky as me. And they have a better more vast selection of songs than Pandora. Sorry Pandora!

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Stephanie Barnhart

Stephanie Barnhart


Writer and Founder of Football Food and Motherhood.com –  a comprehensive guide to pregnancy and motherhood survival in the city – while staying fabulous, of course. Stephanie  proudly hails from Astoria, Queens  – and you’ll find her and her 12-month old sidekick roaming the streets of NYC finding you the best (and cleanest) changing tables, playgrounds and more.  She is an Expert Mom for MommyNearest.com, has been featured in the New York Times, NY Metro Parent and PARENTGUIDE News. Stephanie also is a tech-for-moms contributing writer on www.kidzcentralstation.com. She is also a speaker to parents on the dangers of social media and cyber monitoring and owns her own social media company, Socialminded Media Group.