Has your family holiday been cancelled or postponed due to Covid-19?   Look on the bright side!

Being stuck in a country like Switzerland, you are on the winning end of the bargain, as Switzerland is one of the most beautiful, safe, reliable and child-friendly countries in Europe. 

Having said that, no matter where the autumn break finds you and your little ones, if you don’t want to regret ever leaving your front door, then preparation is key.

There is a list of items that has been a 'must' during all my road trips while traveling with kids, especially a 3.5-hour trip with a 4-month-old, a 1.5 year and a 2.5 year-old in the car to the Western Peloponnese in Greece for a few days of sea side fun a few years ago.  It could have been a wonderful road trip, along a newly opened motorway across the olive groves and beautiful sea views, but could have, would have....  It was loud, stressful and highly unpredictable.  I still regret this holiday to this day.  The great thing about it is that I learned what I need to make traveling with kids a happier experience in the future. 

I cannot stress enough that being mentally prepared for the unexpected is the single most important thing on road trips with kids, more important than a new gadget, a high-tech sippy cup or even the tablet.  


Therefore, prepare to be surprised, don’t take things personally and take a deep breaths before you respond to a crisis.   For everything else you can prepare by shopping or borrowing.    

Now, after we get the mental preparation out of the way, there are some tools and processes that may assist you in making road trips a bit more…fun.

If you are traveling with toddlers, manage expectations and master the element of distraction. 

Toddlers can generally be restless and inquisitive inside the car. 

For this reason, it is helpful if you mentally prepare the children about what to expect, about what they can do when they arrive and what they will see along the way. 

Repeating this discussion every day for a week prior to the trip with the kids is a great way to help them visualize themselves in the new environment and feel in control.  They will entertain the ideas in their head and definitely have more questions for you but this will also minimise stress about the unknown. 

In order to keep the kids engaged and feeling secure it is good to bring along a favorite toy or book, and few new items that they can discover while in the car.  Another method of distraction are snacks and limited amounts of candy, ofcourse! 

Depending on the duration of the car ride be ready for a little singing and eye-spy-with-my-little-eye games which will require from you 20-30 minutes of active engagement.  I don't recommend to rely on having conference calls while driving with toddlers in the car, unless they are connected to an ipad and a headset. 

Here are my favorite types of toys and accessories for the car:

  • Sticker books

  • No-spill snack box filled with chopped veggies or dry snacks

  • Favorite books preferably with hard pages

  • Sensory toys that can be held on the children’s laps

  • Temporary tattoos with easy application and removal for kids 3+. I discovered their success during a flight with Swiss.  The flight attendant handed them to us in the beginning of the flight and my kids spend a good 30 minutes applying them on their arms.  They can be rubbed-off the next day. 

  • Crayons and paper for the waiting time for meals at a restaurant

  • Portable toilet. Very useful if you are traveling while potty-training

  • Sanitizer

  • Spare clothes and an extra pair of shoes in case there are any muddy puddles or accidents along the way

  • Wet and anti-bacterial wipes

  • Water in a bottle with a no-spill top

  • Snacks in pre-defined amounts and containers

  • First Aid kit with antiseptic spray, band aids, and ointment against insect bites. Additionally, I always recommend to bring along children’s aspirin or ibuprofen

  • Face mask for kids are handy if you plan to go to enter crowded places and want to take additional precautions against Covid-19.  I recommend you choose a light one that doesn’t make breathing too strenuous and has a good fit.  Although most toddlers and older kids will unavoidably touch their mask with their hands and move it up and down, you can help them keep it on by explaining how germs spread and by letting them choose one in their favorite color!

If you are traveling with a baby or two, remember that timing is everything. 

  • Schedule driving time around naps, and pit-stops around waking & feeding time.

  • Factor in time for unpredicted delays, as well as regular stops for fresh air.

  • Make sure to have toys and books that make sounds, soft mirrors, and different textured objects attached to the baby carrier so that you can easily hand them back to the baby when distraction is necessary.

  • The Shooshoo Holder is perfect for that, as keeps a multiple of objects, nookie, favorite cuddly toy, sensory books always attached to a baby carrier, buggy or backpack.

  • Lots of wet wipes, make sure you place wet wipes in the front seat, and the back seat, and in all possible handbags. And of course, nappies.

  • If your baby is eating pureed food I highly recommend you bring along some Yamo pouches, full of cold-pressed organic fruits and vegetables. They are healthy, packaged in practical pouches for on-the-go as well as in delicious home-made flavors and they can be ordered and delivered at home.

  • Plenty of fresh water and some hot water in a thermos to warm-up food or make milk

  • 2-3 changes of clothes for the baby and yourself, and extra towels

  • Small plastic bags for smelly nappies or dirty towels

  • Disinfectant lotion

  • Baby aspirin or ibuprofen and bandaids

Finally, when traveling by car with kids be allow yourself to feel un-prepared when things get tough, everyone is. Accepting it is a stress relief in itself.  

As kids grow and reach new developmental milestones a routine trip may feel like a whole new experience. 

So, after finalizing logistics, zipping up all the bags and scheduling all the stops, open-up to the moments that will make you smile and the photo opportunities, they too are fleeting moments …of bliss. 


Some info about the author

Maria grew up traveling extensively around the world, with a significant part of her childhood spent in Dubai during the late 80’s.   She continues to travel as often as possible around the globe, with her family.  She moved to Switzerland 7 years ago, shifting from a 10-year career in banking in Athens to a full-time mom of 3 children.    

After the birth of her 1st child, she realized that various needs of parents traveling in Switzerland and many countries that she visited were not fully covered by the existing internet platforms.  Focusing in particular on the need for families looking for things to do with small children while having fun, Maria took an entrepreneurial turn and partnered up with a talented team of developers to design Momizen.com, a technologically advanced web application for finding fun and educational things to do with kids on-the-go. 

In her free time, she reads (mainly at-loud to an audience of 3), loves movies, sailing, surfing, skiing and most often can be seen cycling around her neighbourhood with her children in Canton Schwyz.  Maria holds a degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Kent, in Canterbury. 

She can be reached by email at maria@momizen.com

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