I took my 9-10 month old on an all summer long road trip accross 8 states. And guess what? It was actually fun! Yes, I know what you’re thinking. I can’t count how many people looked at me like I was certifiably insane after telling them I was taking her on this road trip. But it doesn’t have to be that way! I have always been a roadtripper. I enjoy jumping in the car and heading out on a good old fashioned road trip talking, laughing and eating junk food with my hubby. Before we had Ellie we drove from Arizona to New York, DisneyWorld, and New Orleans!
Obviously, our lives have changed a bit since then. But we’ve always been strong believers in the fact that having a baby doesn’t have to run our lives. Of course things are a little different, but we don’t let Ellie hold us back from anything we really want to do, especially when it comes to trip taking!
If you’re thinking of taking the plunge and road tripping with your little here’s what you’ll need to consider!
This one tip made absolutely a world of difference in our road trip experience- take one fun/extended break in the middle of the day. We would map out our day and decide what city we would want to stop in for lunch. I ran the city through my TripAdvisor app, and found a list of things to do in the area. One day we found a great aquarium/ botanical gardens/ zoo. One day we didn’t have many choices, so we just stopped at a local park and ate some lunch while letting the baby get much needed out of the car time! By the time we put her back in after those 2 hour breaks she was ready to relax and nap in the car until we stopped driving in the evening.
Mentally prepare yourself for a slow and steady pace. We were road trip warriors before- we would make quick, efficient stops spaced out really far apart. Not even the most well planned out road trip with a baby will make that happen. You can still make stops as efficient as possible by matching stopping points on your map to the times your baby will need to eat. But remember, your baby will still decide how this goes down! So if you go into the day with a relaxed attitude, you won’t be constantly disappointed or overwhelmed if things don’t go according to your plan.
Pack a big bag of various toys. Having different toys to interchange makes a big difference, my little one gets tired of a toy after about half an hour. Being able to switch them out can put off the inevitable “I’m bored” cry.
When on a multiple day trip- don’t buy your hotel until the day of. If you’re a big planner, you may think this is crazy but hear me out. Whip out your handy-dandy TripAdvisor app and search for hotel deals later in the day when you have a realistic amount of distance to travel ahead of you. If you make hotel plans that are 3 more hours away and your baby has reached their absolute limit of car seat time for the day, you’ll wish you would have waited to buy the hotel. You can search plenty of hotel deals through the app that are not unreasonably priced, or search airbnb’s instant book options!
And as always, dont forget an insanely well stocked diaper bag. Road trip musts for the diaper bag include baby snacks/pouches, plenty of diapers/wipes, pacifiers/ pacifier wipes, hand sanitizer, poop bags, and baby laundry stain pen.