Monday, June 16, 2014

Traveling With Toddler: Tips & Tricks for Taking a Road Trip With a Toddler

*Mommys Craft Obsession received a complimentary Diono Radian RXT and Cozy Coupe Harness Backpack for the promotion of this post. All thoughts and opinions are our own and were not influenced by outside sources*

With the warm weather quickly approaching, older children getting out of school for the summer, and time off accumulated at work, there's never been a better time to hit the open road with your family and get out of town for a bit! The idea of planning a road trip can sound like a family bonding experience worth having, but once the trip is planned and the set off date has arrived, road trips can be the most terrifyingly stressful thing of your life. Especially when there is a toddler involved!

As many of you may know, Mr. Hunky and I recently tied the knot (April 5th, 2014!) and we had an absolutely amazing wedding, but before we could get married and share our special day with our families, we had to get there. There being California. Northern California. All the way from Southern Arizona! No big deal right? Not if you intend on flying! But oh no, we couldn't make our lives that simple because we were crazy and wanted to bring our two dogs with us! So there we were, ready to hit the open road with two large dogs, a two year old, and approximately 17 hours on the road each way. Let the good times roll!

I know what you're thinking - why not just leave the dogs at home, right? Well our dogs are like family so for us leaving them wasn't an option although looking back I wish we had since the dogs were more work on the road than the toddler was! When it came to prepping the road trip for my toddler, I'm not going to lie, I was pretty proud of my end results. The whole time I was worried that I was under packing when in reality I actually over packed just a bit, and I'm not talking about his clothes! By the end of the trip I realized just how little I needed to bring for my little guy to be happy, and how being on the road for 16+ hours didn't have to be as awful as I had made it out to be in my head - you just have to do it right. What's right for your child that is! Taking our road trip as a learning experience, I decided to put together a Tips & Tricks guide for your family to utilize if you plan on taking a road trip this summer!

Tip #1: Talk to them about the trip in advance. Get them excited in the days leading up to it by asking them to choose which [small] toys they want to bring, tell them about where you're going, and get them excited for their extended stay in the car by telling them all the fun things you will do to make the time pass faster!

Tip #2: Make their space as comfortable as possible. Check to be sure there is enough leg room if they are forward facing, and if they are rear facing be sure that nothing in the trunk space or extra back seat can fall over on top of them (this is a safety hazard that should be noted for every car ride though!). The more comfortable your child is during this road trip, the more comfortable you will be too!

Tip #3: Prior to the road trip, confirm and reconfirm that your child's car seat is properly installed and ready to go. Your car seat is only effective if it is installed correctly 100% of the time and we cannot stress enough how important it is to have a quality car seat that is installed properly. Traveling with a car seat that is comfortable for your child, that has a breathable fabric, and that fits comfortably in your car is an important additive as well! We recommend the Diono Radian RXT for the ultimate comfort and convenience!




Trick #1: Pack snacks, lots of them! Kids love snacks and they always seem to improve their mood! We recommended choosing snacks that are as mess free as possible but still easy to chew and that won't pose a chocking hazard. You never know when you may hit a bump in the road and absolutely no parent wants their child to choke on their food! We recommend foods such as cut up PB&J sandwiches, broccoli and cheese bites, purees, yogurt, or smoothie pouches, and dry cereal. Foods that we do not recommend on the road are fruit snacks, chips (because they may have sharp edges that could hurt your child's throat if the car hits a bump), and food that are on sticks such as corn dogs, lollipops, and/or cake pops.

Tip #4: Bring some sort of electronic entertainment. iPads with movies on them, portable DVD players, handheld learning devices (such as a Leappad or Innotab), or even your cell phone with age appropriate apps. All of these items give your child a great distraction for an hour or two which will give you some time to relax or nap.

Tip #5: Purchase a soft structured water bottle (also known as a water bottle bag) prior to leaving and have your child use that while on the road. Sippy cups are extremely dangerous to have out while a car is in motion because in the event of an accident the impact from your child's sippy cup could cause sever injury to you or your little one. A soft structured water bottle, in my opinion, is a lot less hazardous than a regular water bottle or cup!

Trick #2: Prior to leaving, let your child pack up a special backpack full of their favorite things from home. When Little Mister packed up his bag he had it filled with cars, trains, books, and a few other miscellaneous items. He loved being able to root through his backpack while we were on the road and pull out something fun to entertain himself with for a few minutes. Once he was bored with that particular toy he threw it back in and grabbed a new one! Keeping everything in a backpack is a huge asset since you can zip it up and not worry about the contents falling all over the car! We love our Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Harness Backpack because it's just the right size to allow your little guy or gal to pack up their favorite toys and books!

Tip #6: Don't forget your child's bedtime must have! Whether your little one is attached to their a favorite blanket, stuffed animal, or dolly, don't forget it! Having something to cuddle while on the road is going to make a world of difference once they start getting grouchy from being tired!

Trick #3: Stick to a comfortable pair of pants and a T-shirt. We don't recommend bundling your little one up in long sleeves, even if you'll be traveling at night! Car seats get warm and your child will be much more comfortable if they are in clothes they would lounge around the house in! If your child does get chilly, a blanket or two should warm them up in no time!

Tip #7: Travel through the night. If you can do the bulk of your traveling during the night you will save yourself a lot of stress. Your child will be tired and will sleep most, if not all of the way through your drive and wake up happy in the morning. When we were on the road Little Mister only woke up when we stopped for gas and was back to sleep before we hit the freeway. Traveling through the night will also make for less potty breaks if your child is potty trained!

Tip #8: If your child does start to get fussy, create a game out of finding things while on the road. Have them look for tree's, cats, dogs, something yellow...whatever crosses your mind! Distract them while making the car ride fun!

Trick #4: This ones for you parents! Don't stress out about your road trip! If you're worried about how your travel plans will play out, your child will be too, so have fun!


This post was brought to you by Mommys Craft Obsession and was sponsored by Diono and Little Tikes as apart of our two day event:



*Mommys Craft Obsession received a complimentary Diono Radian RXT and Cozy Coupe Harness Backpack for the promotion of this post. All thoughts and opinions are our own and were not influenced by outside sources*


90 comments:

  1. This was really helpful, we're taking a road trip with our almost two year old at the end of July. Bookmarked, thanks

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  2. Summer trip is going to be driving all over Arizona to see some very beautiful site's like the grand canyon and Montezumas castle. We really could use the Dino for our new little one. ❤

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  3. I think making their space comfortable is really important. Long trip for me can be uncomfortable so I can imagine theirs would can be too.

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  4. Packing a bag of snacks is an essential element of traveling with toddlers! I really like your list of snack ideas :)

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  5. Thanks for the tip about the soft structured water bottle! Such a good idea!

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  6. I think Tip #4 is extremely important. Toddlers want to stay busy. Technology is a great way to pass the time and it can be educational.

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  7. Great review and tips. Really helpful as we have a long trip coming up later this summer!

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  8. We've always left really early in the morning. Helps beat rush hour traffic

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  9. We've always left really early in the morning. Helps beat rush hour traffic

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  10. Nice tips! I totally agree with the snack one. I always bring tons when we travel. I never thought of the sippy cup being dangerous I will have to look into the water pouches. Thanks for the tips.

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  11. Nice tips. I agree with the snack one we always bring a ton when we travel:) I never thought of the sippy cup being dangerous - I will have to look into purchasing a water bottle pouch. Thanks for the tip!

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  12. Bringing snacks and entertainment for them is important.

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  13. Packing snack is definitely a MUST! (at least with our two munchkins) ;)

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  14. We too pack some snacks and educational electronics. If you don't pull all your tricks out right away, it can sure help a long road trip seem a bit shorter.

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  15. We always leave early in the morning helps beat rush hour traffic and makes trip less stressful

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  16. a backpack full of things to keep them busy and lots of snack and distractions

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  17. Jessica DouglassJune 17, 2014 at 6:37 AM

    I never would have thought about packing a soft water bottle... we always just travel with our thermos sippy. thanks for the info!

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  18. Love tip #2 - it's important my little man is comfy. I think extended rear facing actually helps with that because he doesn't lose feeling in his legs. We don't take "too many" things (well we do, we just don't have them all out at once) because I've noticed having access to too many toys can actually cause frustration. We mainly just talk and he loves to look out the window (especially at passing semi trucks).

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  19. we give the kids a list of treasures to find and they get points for anything that they locate, sort of like a treasure hunt.............then at the end they can cash in their points and buy something or go some where at our destinatiln...................it keeps them busy..............be sure to do the list with age of children in mind.

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  20. Kellie MetzenhiemJune 17, 2014 at 8:28 AM

    I never even considered what a regular sippy cup could do in an accident!! great tip

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  21. I never thought about the sippy cup issue. That's something to keep in mind for a road trip.

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  22. The tip on sippy cups is great I never would have thought about that.

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  23. I like tip 1 best. I'm taking my 2 year old on a plane next week and since he loves airplanes it's a great way to get him excited.

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  24. Pack snacks, pack snacks, pack snacks--best and most important tip!

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  25. Tip trick !1 is most important i think

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  26. I agree trick/tip no 1 is the most important! If I don't explain what we are doing to my son before the trip, he is confused and angry the whole ride. I learned that one the hard way, lol

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  27. I will have to look for a soft water pouch for the car and keep the sippy stowed away.

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  28. The idea of traveling at night when possible is great. Quietness... is the best. Seriously. Lol

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  29. I wish I had known all of this when I went on a week trip with my son. But, I can use this when we go on a trip again.

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  30. This would have been great to know when I took a week long trip with my son. I'll use some of these the next time we go on a trip.

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  31. I love the tips about making their space comfortable and also packing snacks and entertainment. I think tip 3 about making sure your car seat is properly installed is really important and a great reminder.

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  32. Tip #6: Don't forget your child's bedtime must have! Whether your little one is attached to their a favorite blanket, stuffed animal, or dolly, don't forget it! Having something to cuddle while on the road is going to make a world of difference. ❤ this tip

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  33. I love your tips. I think not being stressed out yourself for this is catchy as my favorite. They are all great though! Rita Spratlen

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  34. For me it's Tips #1 and #2. Making sure the child is comfortable and safe are so important. They are all great tips for a car trip.

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  35. I think snacks and a small music box would help keep baby calm during a trip.

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  36. After many road trips with my daughter and son (now 3.5y and 8m), I have learned the best way for us all to survive and have an enjoyable drive is to drive through the night! We leave before rush hour and dinner time, then stop to have dinner and stretch. Then stop again at bedtime to fill up and get ready for bed (usually in the gas station or rest stop's bathroom) and then it is me time while the kids sleep until we get to our destination! This has only back fired on us once when my daughter was 14 months old and we drove from northern Oregon to San Fransisco - she screamed the entire 12 hour drive!

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  37. Obviously making sure the seat is in properly is number one but we are always aware of our kids' seats.
    I would say the best for is was traveling at night and wearing comfy lightweight clothes. Definitely life savers! Although I already know all of these I love for bloggers to make lists because prior to a trip I always get amnesia and need help remembering all the important things about traveling with kiddos! Thanks!!

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  38. I think the traveling at night is the best tip when traveling with little ones, but these are all good advice and some I wouldn't of thought about.

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  39. I've never heard of the water bottle bag before, but I love it. Love that it comes with a clip. So much easier to port and keep track of.

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  40. I like the tip about making their space as comfortable as possible. I find this helps to calm them down.

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  41. As a mommy of 4 under 4yrs I am always looking for roadtrip 'success ideas'!
    Thank you for your practical tips.

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  42. we've taken quite a few roadtrips - we r only at 18mo now so a lot these tips don't work for us YET- but i'm storing them away for later use :)

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  43. All of the tips you listed are great but my favorite is tip #4. We bring my granddaughter's MobiGo with us on trips because it keeps her occupied and happy. Without it she tends to get fussy.

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  44. I love the idea of a special backpack of stuff from home!

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  45. I like that tip about letting them pack their favorite things in their own bag. I also think it is great to have one or two new things that will pique their interest if you need something to keep them occupied.

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  46. #7 is a great idea

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  47. I think they are all good advice and tips and yes I think the most important is making sure they have proper seating and if that inclueds a car seat then check it and recheck it............

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  48. Hi! When my son was young, we did many road trips. All of these tips & tricks a great! I especially like the advice to not stress out yourself. I so believe that our children pick up on our energy. It's hard sometimes but it will make everything easier & more fun. Now my son will be taking my grandson on road trips! Thank-you for the trip information!!

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  49. My favorite is Tip #7: Travel through the night. I never thought about this but it would be a blessing to have them sleep through most of the trip! Save a lot of stress!!

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  50. These are all fantastic tips!! I have traveled quite a bit with a toddler, and can agree on a of these! Snacks are definitely the biggest lifesaver, and I enjoy playing little road trip games to keep us all entertained. We also enjoy listening to music and singing along. :)

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  51. Definitely traveling with snacks, especially the travel friendly snacks was a helpful tip. Now ideas are going through my head on what are good packable snacks!

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  52. We will be traveling to Boston this summer with a baby and a toddler so I found this post very helpful! We have already started talking to our toddler about the trip to prepare her!

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  53. Packing snacks! There is no way the little ones are lasting more than an hour in the car without something to munch on and water to drink! Love the idea of a bag with things to keep them entertained as well.

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  54. I love the idea of letting them pick a few books and toys. I have bought some surprises for my 3 year old for our 10+ hour car trip next week, but I think I'll let him pick out some, too.

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  55. I will have to try these tips when we are traveling in a few weeks with my boyfriend's four year old! Thanks for sharing!!

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  56. Love these tips. The bedtime must have's is very important! We can't go a mile down the road without blankey!

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  57. Love the tip on bring a backpack of their own and have their own toys and fun things inside that they feel like they are part of the trip too.

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  58. Great tips! Many important points you've made but I think talking to them about up-coming trips/changes is one that is often over looked.

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  59. I like Trick #1...I use it OFTEN!

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  60. Obviously, the safety tips are the most important, but in a car with a grumpy kid you NEED entertainment, lol! I agree: bring ipads, videos, etc!

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  61. Great tips! Snacks, iPad, backpack with toys/games are what we usually do. :) thanks for the extra tips and tricks!

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  62. Never thought to pack a soft water bottle like that. Good tip. :)

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  63. Never thought of using a soft water bottle. Good tip. :)

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  64. I find "Talk to them about the trip in advance" the most helpful tip!

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  65. Tip #4....electronic equipment is key and so versatile now a days.

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  66. Tip #4 and Trick #1 are definitely our go to's for any trip longer than 30 minutes. A good movie or game on the tablet or DVD and something yummy to snack on are sure ways to keep my toddler quiet and well behaved. Thanks for all the ideas though, will have to bookmark this for our next trip.

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  67. Great idea to let the child pick their own toys! I'm going to use that and let my 3 year old son do that for the appointments we go to for his sister, it might help!

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  68. Letting them pack their own bag...it gives them some freedom to choose what they want to play with, and makes for a happier baby!

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  69. Trick #1 is the most important for us!! We are always in need of snacks on long car trips!

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  70. Good suggestion on the water bottle bag! Have not seen these before.

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  71. Thank you! Tip #3 is the most important one of all. A properly installed care seat is the best life saving device you have for your children when traveling. And I love trick #2, we have traveled cross country 4 times and having a bag of the kids favorite things has been my saving grace.

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  72. Our most important ones other than safety and making sure the car seat is installed properly is, Trick #1 Packing lots of snacks, and Tip #6 Not forgetting bedtime/naptime must have. We would not survive our trips if we left beloved blankies behind! Thanks for all the other fantastic tips and trips to help make travel easier too!

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  73. great tricks! i am going to need these definitely when traveling with 4 children under the age of 8!!! LOL

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  74. I have a soft water bottle for myself and having one for a toddler while traveling is a good tip. Thank you.

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  75. I found all these tips and tricks to be important, but the most helpful one to me was tip #5 about the soft water bottle. It was something that I hadn't ever considered to be a safety hazard before but is very good to know.

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  76. I try to do tip #7 as much as possible. It is so much easier to travel with kids when they are sleeping.

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  77. We used tip 7 a lot! When we traveled to South Carolina from Arkansas, I would ride in the backseat with my son and play with him when it was daytime. It helped so much when he wasn't just by himself in the backseat.

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  78. I love the tip to pack lots of snacks!

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  79. Let your child pack up a special backpack full of their favorite things from home is a good tip. I did find all your tips/tricks to be beneficial, being a grandma I have used them for 2 generations.

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  80. I think all of your tips are great! I definitely agree with talking to them about the trip in advance, having them get excited about it helps a lot! I also think making their space as comfortable as possible is very important, as well as having snacks and activities/toys to keep them entertained!

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  81. Snack bags..lots of them with lots of different things!

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  82. All of these are very good tips. Especially like Bring some sort of electronic entertainment.

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  83. Never thought about chips hurting your childs throat if hit a bump and swallowed before properly chewed. Also I never thought how a sippy cup could be a safety hazard in an accident...now I see why some car seat manufacturers dont make their product with one.

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  84. I think trick #1 is very helpful. Thanks for sharing!

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  85. I love the tip for a soft water bottle!

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  86. I like tip #2 and found all the tips useful!

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  87. These are awesome tip. Tip # 7 has been the most helpful for me. I always travel during night or really early in the morning.

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  88. These are some greats tips. They will come in handy when we take a 12 hour trip next spring with our daughter who will be 2 then.

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