Disclosure: This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and NicePak, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #NicenCleanatHEB http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV
Planning to hit the road on a family vacation with an infant in tow? Check out these Mom hacks and travel tips for going on a road trip with baby!
My husband and I LOVE to travel! Over the years we have taken several cross-country road trips and flown to many faraway places. But the past year we’ve had to stick closer to home since we had a newborn and trying to travel with a baby felt overwhelming. But our travel bug (and adorable babe) couldn’t keep us home for long, and so over the past year, we have hit the road several times, baby in tow!
Along the way we have learned a lot about road tripping with a baby and so I thought today, just in time for the busy spring and summer travel season, I would share some of my best Mom hacks and travel tips for taking a road trip with a baby. Obviously, we are still learning new things every day as parents and every road trip we take is definitely an adventure; but these tips are things we have learned along the way, sometimes the hard way, from our own experiences, lol. I hope they help you not only plan a great family road trip, but encourage you to get out there and travel to see friends and family and the beautiful scenery around you, even with a baby on board!
Travel Tips – Road Trip with Baby
1. Plan your route, allowing plenty of time and making as many stops as needed – I recommend the first few road trips you take with your baby be under two hours and to a familiar location that you have traveled to several times before. This is to get an idea of how your baby does in the car seat for that long, and so you know the route and can stop at familiar places along the way.
As your baby gets older, you can take longer road trips and plan trips to new places. If you are taking a trip that is more than two hours away, I recommend breaking the trip up, with at least one stop so that baby can get a break from the car seat and can be changed and fed as needed.
2. Pack the essentials for baby – Normally when heading out to take care of day to day errands, I pack our diaper bag with enough bottles, diapers, etc., to make it through just those few hours. But when heading out on a road trip, I pack what I think we will need and then quite a few extra, because you never know what might happen on the open road! Check out my road trip essentials for baby below!
- Bottles, Formula and Bottled Water– I know those “fancy” bottles with like a million parts and pieces are super popular, but I’ve learned that whether it is a long road trip or just running errands around town, those super basic bottles are the best! They fit easily into the diaper bag and it is so much easier to make a bottle “on the road” when you don’t have to keep up with a bunch of parts and pieces. I also pack several bottles of bottled water to use to make formula and I recommend bringing a new container of formula for your trip, especially if you are using a specific brand or specialty formula that may be hard to find if you are in a different town or out on the road.
- Diapers and Nice ‘n CLEAN Baby Wipes– When traveling, pack baby’s travel bag with plenty of diapers and baby wipes to get through the length of your trip and then some. Since normally a travel bag (duffle bag/suitcase) may be hard to reach while on the road; pack your diaper bag with plenty of diapers, wipes and these other baby essentials to get you through the road trip and happily to your final destination.
Tip: You might consider “overnight” diapers for a road trip (when it might be longer than normal between changes) and I really like thick and absorbent Nice ‘n CLEAN Baby Wipes, available at H-E-B. Nice ‘n CLEAN Baby Wipes come in a variety of convenient package sizing options- the 56-count package fits perfectly in a diaper bag or back seat of your car and I like to keep a triple pack package in the trunk of my car at all times, you know, for those times when you forget to pack wipes in your diaper bag. Oops!
I also really like Nice ‘n CLEAN Baby Wipes because they are hypoallergenic, are made from 100% plant-based fibers (TENCEL®) and use 99% purified water and 99% naturally derived ingredients; meaning they have no alcohol, dyes, parabens, phthalates, or chlorine. They come unscented for sensitive skin and they also have a refreshing Green Tea & Cucumber variety; both are great for babies when on the road or at home.
- Changing Pad– A portable changing pad, that can fold up and fit in a diaper bag, is a MUST for road trips.
- Medicines and ointments
- Toys- Babies also get board on road trips, so see my tip below about toys and entertainment for babies.
- Pacifiers– Even if your baby normally doesn’t take a pacifier or only takes it at night, going on a road trip can throw a baby off their schedule and their routine; so having a pacifier to whip out when baby is fussy or tired might be helpful.
- Blanket- This can be used to wrap around a baby when traveling during the winter or as a backup changing pad or nursing cover, if needed.
- Change of clothes- Again, if traveling you will have clothes in a suitcase or overnight bag, but it is always good to have a couple of backup outfits easily accessible in the diaper bag.
- Burp cloths
- Plastic baggies- Plastic baggies are great for disposing of trash or for putting wet/dirty clothes in.
- Food- Even though I sometimes make my own baby food or give my baby real food adapted from what we are already eating, when traveling it is harder to do this, so I rely on packing convenient snacks and meals (ie: baby food pouches).
- Portable crib – For safe sleeping once you and your baby arrive at your final destination
3. Pack the essentials for Mom and Dad-
- Cell phone and car charger
- Snacks and drinks
- Nursing cover and other nursing supplies, if needed
4. Get windows tented or install window coverings for the back seat- Babies are super sensitive to the sun and bright light, so this may help make the car ride more smooth for them.
5. Install a back-seat baby mirror- A back seat mirror is a huge lifesaver for checking on baby while on the road, just don’t get too distracted looking at your adorable babe!
6. Pack things to entertain and soothe baby- Like I said babies get board and restless on road trips too. I recommend creating a playlist of baby appropriate songs that Mom and Dad also like to help keep the entire family entertained.
Also, I like to pack a variety of toys and books to let baby play with while in the car seat. Space out the toys and give them to baby at different times throughout the ride. Mom Hack: If traveling alone on your road trip, keep the toys near you in the passenger front seat of the car to easily pass back to baby as needed when at rest stops or red lights.
7. Have someone sit in the back next to baby, if possible- Even if normally you or your spouse don’t sit in the back seat next to your baby when running errands, I highly recommend doing this for all or part of a road trip to help keep baby entertained and comforted, as needed.
8. Inspect the car and car seat – Just like you would do before any road trip, baby in tow or not, check over your vehicle before hitting the road. In addition to checking the air pressure in your tires, fluid levels, etc. check that your baby’s car seat is properly installed and latched in correctly.
9. Start your road trip right after a feeding and/or right before nap time
10. Dress baby in comfortable easy to change clothing
11. Pack the patience- The biggest tip I have is pack the patience. Be prepared for a 2 hour trip to take 3 hours or even 5. Don’t feel rushed and just take your time. Ask for help, and if you don’t feel comfortable going on a road trip with baby by yourself just yet, don’t worry the time will come. No need to rush it.
Are there any road trip travel tips you would add? Please share in the comments below!