Where I was prepared:
I prepared an activity bag full of little things to keep Roan occupied on the road. You can never count on a toddler to sleep the entire time. We started our journey at 6 am. I was hoping he would go back to sleep but he was as alert as ever. We borrowed a family truck for this trip so the first hour of the drive Roan was mostly entertained with his new surrounding.
I made Roan a map in a box so he could know where we were. This also was good for drawing in, playing with cars, and used as a place mat for snacks.
He was a good little traveler. He liked a lot of the toys I had for him, little cars, touch and feel/pop up books, crayons, pipe cleaner, magna-doodle (this he spent the most of his time with), hand puppets, and stuffed toy. I tried not to burn through them but I ended up doing just that. We also had Lars' tablet that he watched a fun movie on when things got rough or when he was ready to sleep. When he did get fussy the one toy he loved and honestly played with the most was a plastic bowl with lid. Always the simplest things. So in this regard I think I was over prepared.
The ride back was easier because our friends son, Elijah, rode with us. He was a champ and helped entertain Roan.
The only bad thing about the drive back was that it took forever because the kids all pooped at different times, Roan mostly ;) My cousin suggested traveling with a travel potty and just pulling over to the side of the road. Duly noted. Of course this applies if you have kids out of diapers.
Where I wasn't prepared:
I felt the least prepared with a toddler while camping. I didn't bring hardly any activities for Roan to do because I figured we would be out doors and that is activity enough. Wrong! I should have brought a truck or even a bucket and shovel for him to enjoy. Our friends had a soccer ball that he loved and he did play with the other kids. This kid loves LOVES sticks too. When he found good ones he was entertained.
When you go camping take more Advil than you really need. Roan started teething just before we left so he was more clingy and whiny than usual. The second night he had so much trouble sleeping. We ran out of Advil so we relied on our wits to get us through it. Sometimes we let him cry it out but when your campsites are close together that is not a polite option. Eventually he fell asleep in our family sleeping bag. The next morning Lars drove into town and got some more Advil. Roan's teething got better for the rest of the trip. On top of the teething Roan had diarrhea! So he didn't eat much but we kept him hydrated and when he did eat we tried to give him stuff that would plug him up. He did throw up on the second to last day. After that he started acting somewhat normal. I am grateful that the diarrhea and puking only took place while at the campsite and not on the road.
So when you travel with a toddler take more things to help them enjoy the outdoors and less stuff for the road and always take extra Advil, and other remedies for sickness. We are going on a short "camping" trip this weekend with Lars' Dad so we will test out my new preparedness skills then. I say "camping" because they have an RV so we will only be taking up our food, clothes, and activities for Roan. ;)