We’ve been traveling with our kids since our oldest was 4 months old and haven’t shied away from long road trips with them. Now that we’ve added Lucy to our travels, I’ve been refreshing my memory on how we managed to travel so much with our other two when they were little. Our van had over 175,000 miles on it when we sold it last year, so we definitely have a thing or two figured out when it comes to traveling with a baby. It really all comes down to three main points:
Set realistic expectations.
This is my absolute biggest tip! You cannot possibly make a trip in the same amount of time you did without kids. Unless you are someone who can drive through the night while the baby sleeps, you will have to allow yourself more time for traveling to your destination. If you’ve planned extra time for stops to feed the baby or change diapers, or even just getting them out of the car seat for a few minutes to give them a break, your trip will be much less stressful.
It also helps to expect that there will be some hiccups and that’s ok! The first few trips may not be the easiest you’ve ever had. Just remember, it’s so worth it to help your child learn to travel with you from a younger age. Now that my kids are older, they don’t have any problem loading up in the car and knocking out a 10 hour road trip.
Along the same lines of keeping expectations loose is having a flexible schedule. Try to maintain the same routines as home, but be able to change the plan if necessary. One of the things about travel is that it teaches flexibility. Some of our greatest adventures happened because of the need to be flexible.
Make bedtime/naps familiar.
At home, we always use a noise machine to help block out sounds to give Lucy a consistent sleep environment. Her noise machine can be used in the car, too, so she takes naps with it while we drive. We also use the Noisli app when we are out for walks in the neighborhood. I even played it in her stroller while we were at an amusement park last Fall. A noise machine is also great to have once you reach your destination to block out extra noise wherever you might be staying. I vividly remember one hotel stay when Brilee and Graham were 2 years old and 9 months old. I wish I had a noise machine back then to drown out the rowdy college students staying down the hall. It’s a lifesaver!
Have the right equipment.
- During the hot Summer months, we love having a clip-on fan to keep Lucy cool in the car seat. We use it with our stroller, as well, and can even be clipped onto a travel crib or bassinet to use at night.
- Speaking of travel cribs, we have used this Pack & Play, but I’m thinking of grabbing this one because it folds down flat.
- Keep a fully stocked diaper bag. Having a stocked diaper bag writhing arm’s reach prevents digging through suitcases to find more diapers, extra formula, or a backup outfit. Keep the extra outfit in a ziplock bag, this way, it takes up less space and stays clean. Plus you can throw the dirty outfit into the bag when you need to change your baby. If you need to use the outfit, you’ll be glad you can store the dirty one in a zipper bag. This changing pad stores wipes and diapers, too. Diaper changes are so much easier with everything in one spot. We formula-feed, so Lucy’s diaper bag is stocked with extra formula in this container. We pack her bottles filled with water so we just add formula when she is ready to eat.
- Also be sure to have on hand: paper towels, hand sanitizer / hand wipes, plastic grocery bags or small trash bags.
- If your baby has started eating solids, pack their spoons in a sandwich bag with a container of their food. After they eat, just put the dirty spoon back in the bag to wash when it’s convenient.
I hope these tips help on your next trip! Do you have any tricks you use when traveling with a baby? I love to hear new travel tips, so leave them in the comments below!