Helpful Tips for RV Road Tripping with Toddlers
From must-pack items to tricks for happier kids while on the road!

By: Dom Carson

RV road tripping with toddlers can be both an adventure and a challenge. On the one hand, there's the excitement of exploring new places and creating memories as a family. On the other, there are the potential meltdowns, the constant need for snacks, and the ever-important bathroom breaks. It can be a lot and it can be daunting when you are in the planning stages for a trip. But I’m here to help! 

With a bit of planning, and a lot of snacks, you can turn your family road trip with your Winnebago into a mostly fun and stress-free experience for everyone (because it will still be challenging at times … if you have toddlers, you know).

Preparation: The Key to a Successful RV Road Trip with Kids

Plan Your Route

Before you hit the road, take some extra time to plan your route. While spontaneity can be fun, having a general idea of where you're going and how long it will take to get there can help prevent unexpected surprises. Use apps like Google Maps to map out your journey and identify kid-friendly stops along the way. (Note: GoLife Perks members can save on two planning apps, AdventureGenie and RVLIFE Pro. Learn more here.)

We like to look for parks, nice easy walks along the river, beaches, petting zoos, ice cream shops, or just somewhere that we can get out and all stretch our legs.

For safety specific travel tips with toddlers, read my previous article

Pack Smart

Packing for a road trip with toddlers requires a bit of strategy. Here’s a checklist of essentials to bring:

  • Snacks and Drinks: Pack a variety of snacks and drinks to keep your little ones satisfied. Think fruit, cheese sticks, crackers, meat snacks, and plenty of water. We have a little cooler that we keep right behind the console of our truck so it’s easy for one of us up front to reach and pass things back to our daughter in her carseat. We pack things in stasher bags so it’s easy for her to open and close on her own. 
  • Entertainment: Bring along books, toys, and any electronic devices that you use as a family. We love to bring our daughter’s Yoto player with some stories and songs, and she will listen to that with her headphones in for a while. Make sure everything is charged before you go!
  • Comfort Items: Blankets, pillows, and favorite stuffed animals can help make nap time more comfortable.
  • Clothing and Essentials: Pack enough clothes for each day, plus a few extras. Include weather-appropriate gear, pajamas, and plenty of diapers or pull-ups if needed.
  • First Aid Kit: Include band-aids, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any necessary medications.

On the Road: Keeping Toddlers Happy & Engaged

1. Create a Cozy Space

We like to make sure that our girl has a couple of different things that she can reach on her own if she wants to change the activity. We also like to make sure she is wearing comfortable clothes that she won’t overheat in. Have water and sunglasses within reach, too.

2. Stick to a Routine

While it’s impossible to follow your home routine exactly, try to maintain some consistency. Keep meal times, nap times, and bedtime as close to your normal schedule as possible. A familiar routine can help your toddler feel more secure and less likely to have meltdowns. 

We have tried the whole driving overnight thing while she sleeps, and it did not work for us. Try to find a schedule and routine that works for your entire family! 

See how we’ve modified our Winnebago Micro Minnie to work best for our toddler, in this article.

3. Plan for Breaks

Toddlers have short attention spans and need frequent breaks. Plan to stop every 2-3 hours to let your little ones stretch their legs, use the bathroom, and burn off some energy. This is where putting some extra work in during the planning stage can help so that you have some spots you know that you can stop at. It also helps to make them excited for the trip! Our girl is always so excited to see different playgrounds and little hikes that she can take her camera out for. 

4. Fun Activities to Keep Toddlers Entertained

Road Trip Games

Classic road trip games can be a great way to pass the time. Try playing “I Spy,” where you take turns spotting something of a certain color or shape. Another fun game is “20 Questions,” where one person thinks of an object and the others ask yes or no questions to guess what it is. Obviously, this works better for older toddlers, but even at two, our girl loved playing I Spy.

Story Time

Bring along a selection of your toddler’s favorite books and some new ones for variety. Reading aloud can be a calming activity that keeps them entertained. Audiobooks are another great option, especially for longer stretches on the road (this is what we love our Yoto player for!).

Arts and Crafts

Pack a small bag of arts and crafts supplies, like coloring books, crayons, stickers, and paper. Magnetic drawing boards or reusable sticker pads can also provide hours of entertainment without the mess. We also love the imagine ink coloring books (won’t make marks on anything but that paper!) and the water wow books. 

Navigating Challenges: Staying Calm and Positive

Dealing with Meltdowns

Even with the best planning, meltdowns can happen. When they do, we find it is best to stay calm and patient, acknowledge our child’s feelings and try to help her through it. Sometimes, a quick stop to stretch and get some fresh air can make all the difference. 

Handling Motion Sickness

Motion sickness can be a common issue for toddlers on road trips. To minimize the risk, you can have them avoid reading or playing video games while the vehicle is moving. Instead, encourage your child to look out the window and focus on the horizon. Keep ginger snacks or motion sickness bands on hand as a preventive measure.

Photo taken by my daughter on a road trip.

Making the Most of Your Destinations

Kid-Friendly Attractions

When planning your final destination, look for attractions that are suitable for toddlers. Zoos, aquariums, and children’s museums are always a hit. National parks often have easy trails and interactive exhibits that are perfect for little explorers.

Capturing Memories

Don’t forget to document your adventure! Take plenty of photos and videos to capture the special moments. I love bringing our daughter’s toddler-friendly camera along and seeing what she captures! They make for such great additions to the annual photo album. 

Enjoying the Outdoors

One of the best parts of traveling in a Winnebago is the ability to enjoy the great outdoors. Set up camp at family friendly campgrounds where you can hike, fish, and play together. Bring along outdoor toys like balls, shovels, buckets, and bubble wands to keep your toddler entertained. A bike is always a big hit in the campground. 

Our Top Tips for RV Road Trips with Toddlers

Involve Your Toddler

Toddlers love to feel included. Let them help with simple tasks like picking out snacks, choosing a new toy or book for the trip, or selecting which stops to make along the way. This can make them feel more excited and involved in the journey.

Stay Flexible

No matter how well you plan, things don’t always go as expected. Be prepared to adjust your schedule and go with the flow. Sometimes the most memorable moments come from the unexpected detours and unplanned adventures.

Enjoy the Journey

Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination. Take the time to enjoy the little moments and create lasting memories with your family. Sing silly songs, play games, and appreciate the scenery together.

Embrace the Adventure

Road tripping with toddlers with your Winnebago can be a rewarding and unforgettable experience. With a bit of preparation and a positive attitude, you can turn potential challenges into opportunities for fun and bonding. 

I hope you have the most fun this summer with your family! Safe travels!


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