Traveling with your baby on a road trip can broaden the horizons for you both, but it can get tricky. Road trips require packing different items than when you travel by train, bus or plane. Happily, by gearing up carefully for your multi-day road trip of travel with baby, you can minimize the drama.
Practice –Rehearse Travel with Baby
Practice road trips may sound strange, but chew on how your child will feel leaving familiar digs for multiple days away. Before the big trip, try some fun day trips. If possible, use the same vehicle You’ll use on your official days-long road trip. Fun destinations like the zoo, or beach are great for practice runs. Close neighborhood venues are a great place to start. Extend the distance and the trip times with each adventure. A midday trip to the car midday for feeding and a nap might make a full day at play more fun. The car is a familiar place and everyone can take a break before going back for more fun.
The idea is to familiarize your little one with traveling a bit, spending time away from home before returning home. It also reveals just which baby care items need to be handy on each excursion. As long as you go home each night, your child has time to adjust to the schedule, and you can update your “travel baby bag”. By the time you take your official vacation road trip, you’ll have become a pro at travel with baby.
Plan, but Keep it Flexible
Planning ahead makes every trip smoother, but especially when you travel with baby. Make a list of what to bring and when to stop to keep your child’s schedule on track. Then be ready to go off-plan at a moment’s notice. The AAP recommends stopping every 2-3 hours to take a break and stretch your legs and get baby out of car seat. If you miss a turn, it doesn’t change the schedule your baby needs, so find a different stop to prep a bottle or get out food.
Don’t Forget the Car Seat
Before kids, you could take a free spirit approach to road trips, Make a checklist for your trip and save your own sanity. AAP recommends you properly install a car seat for your child’s safety; rear facing if your child is small enough. Car seats have dramatically improved child passenger safety, but crashes are still a high risk for children.
When you plan what you’ll need for the trip, pack more – much more. Diapers? Think about where you’re going. For instance, your child at the beach is going to go through way more diapers than at home. Here’s a handy rule of thumb, plan 1 diaper per road hour. I thought this number was crazy but try it and you’ll be convinced too. It works. Your kiddo is out of their element, with new food or environment and that can mean lots more diaper loads. If not, taking unused diapers is still better than running out when you need one. While we’re talking about diapers, don’t forget the car seat protector, or piddle pad. In fact, this is handy anywhere you take the car seat.
Zip Lock Bags
These are on the packing list, but they are uber important to remember. A long car trip will reveal whether baby gets car sick. Gallon zip lock bags if you can catch it in time will make the rest of the trip much better for everyone in the vehicle. If you’re too late, putting clothes and pads in the bag will help until your next stop.
Pack Stick Paks
Adding Snacks? On the road, people – and children – tend to inhale more than at home. Even if you’re ready to bring the whole package of Sammy’s Milk formula and measure out servings, grab a bunch of Sammy’s Stick Paks for while you’re at events or destinations. You can make up a single serving of Sammy’s Milk formula with no measuring, no fuss. Easy Sammy’s single serving Stick Paks fit in your baby bag, pockets, or in the side of the carrier.
Road Trip Baby Packing List
Click here for a free packing checklist for your trip. You’ll want to update the list after you make those practice trips and realize what else you need to pack so we left extra lines to fill in. Likewise, don’t forget to make a list of contact info you will need, like the local hospital and pharmacy, your own pediatrician, restaurants in the destination and on route etc.