Now that we’ve tackled flying with our daughter, my husband and I thought we’d push our luck and go on a 6.5-hour road trip with our not-quite-7-month-old daughter. It was long. There were a few tears. But we survived. And learned a few lessons along the way. Don’t worry, I’ll share. Feel free to share yours in the comments below!
6 Tips for Surviving Road Trips With an Infant or Baby
1. Take your time. If you’re normally a road warrior who avoids stopping at all costs, you better toss that philosophy out the window (haha). Allot extra time for feeding, diaper changes and stretching stops, and then be prepared to make baby-wailing-in-the-backseat breaks as well. Get in the mindset that the trip is a marathon, not a sprint!
2. Be prepared with distractions. When the baby starts crying 10 miles away from a rest area, there is only so much you can do from the front seat to comfort him or her. Have car seat toys at hand you can shake, a pacifier you can pop in, or turn on some music to distract the baby—and the adults—from the crying.
3. Plan around sleep. If you can, plan the trip so that your baby snoozes for most of it, but doesn’t throw off his or her sleep schedule. Super early morning or early evening departures work great for this.
4. Dress the baby for comfort and convenience. Avoid the cute outfits and think of a) baby’s comfort and b) diaper-changing ease. One-piece PJs are ideal.
5. Limit the load. I used to be such a light packer, but those days are over. If you have a baby on a trip, you need baby stuff galore. And unless you have a lot of cargo space, you’re going to want to minimize the load. Call ahead to your hotel to see if they have a pack and play or crib for your baby to sleep in.
6. Avoid accidentally crossing international borders without a passport for your baby. It’s a long story, but trust me. You don’t want to be lectured by border patrol.
Have you driven for hours with a tot in tow? Share your lessons learned in the comments! —Erin