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Cross country travel with a two year old - how to make it bearable?

We are planning our summer vacation, and with the cost of plane tickets to multiple destinations, it's cheaper just to drive - and then we can do fun stuff along the way! We live outside of Nashville, TN - we will be driving across Arkansas, Oklahoma, Northern Texas, and New Mexico - all places where there really isn't much sight-seeing to do - and then to Arizona where we will stay a week with family. From there, we'll be travelling up to the Grand Canyon, then through California, and then spend a couple days on the oregon Coast (more family), up to Forks, WA (My hubby and I are Twilight freaks...), then over to Spokane, WA, where we will spend a week or two with my Dad & other assorted family. AFTER which, we'll be travelling down to yellowstone, stay there a couple days to see the sights, go through Wyoming to Devil's Tower and then Mt. Rushmore, and then South Dakota, stopping briefly to see a couple places along the way, then down the Iowa/Nebraska state line, through missouri and then back home. WHEW!

We won't be doing this until mid June, and we'll be gone about a month total - but only (ha, only) about 11-12 days of that will be actually just driving.

I plan on getting my (currently) 29 month old a portable DVD player so she can watch her cartoons, and of course we'll be stopping plenty along the way to potty and stretch our legs and run around a bit. What else can I get for her to keep her entertained? I need good travel toys that won't take up too much space, and she can play with while safely in her carseat. I know it's a long trip, but it will be interrupted by days of rest and spending time with family and hiking and exploring, with no more than 3 days at a time of just driving. I want to keep my daughter as happy and entertained as possible. I know games and stuff that we played as kids, but she's too young to understand most of them. Aside from toys, I'd also like to find more DVDS that are centered on learning, stuff that will help her keep up with her ABC's and counting and still be fun to watch.
Any ideas you've got, I would appreciate! But if you're just going to flame and rant or criticize me for taking a 2 year old on such a long trip, don't bother to waste your energy typing. I'm not looking for drama, just ideas for fun stuff my little one can do along the way.


Asked by FluffyMamaBunny at 3:35 PM on Mar. 5, 2011 in Travel

Level 19 (6,861 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (4)
  • etch a sketch AND a magna doodle are both essentials IMO.

    Make parks/playgrounds part of your stops. Encourage her to yell out when she sees one that looks good. Hubby and her can be at parking playing like crazy and getting wiggles out while you go gas up the vehicle. NO SWINGS though, slides and climbing to get wiggles out. No sitting, lol! That way upon returning to car seat she'll be ready to rest and watch a video

    if u stop at restaurants to to hit ones with play centers/areas in them

    make a few stops at new/exciting dollar stores along the way for her to pick out a few new trinkets.

    Answer by hibbingmom at 4:24 PM on Mar. 5, 2011

  • for rest room breaks and stop at rest areas and ball or freesie would be good. My parents and now do for my kids is new stuff. Can find at the dollar store or target dollar bins and hide stuff and when get bored with things can pull out something new like color wonder. As for videos can do seamese street, dora, blues clues. maybe bring flash cards to do in the evenings, coloring books with numbers and letters, a special animal or blanket cause will nap alot during the day,sticker books,

    Answer by momindiana at 4:01 PM on Mar. 5, 2011

  • pack an accessible bag to put next to her carseat, fill it with healthy snacks, paper and colored pencils, her favorite stuffed animals/toys and books, aa portable dvd player will def help, along with some up aand down childrens music to play for her. while driving you can sing songs, teach her the eye spy game etc. GOOD LUCK!!!

    Answer by Tarrar at 4:01 PM on Mar. 5, 2011

  • Idk that is tough. Good luck!

    Answer by Hatsumomo at 4:55 PM on Mar. 5, 2011