5 Road Trip Tips for Traveling with Baby
In less than two weeks, my husband and I will embark on an epic road trip with all four of our children. Four kids, 7 and under, two parents, and a whole lot of driving — 16 hours one way, to be precise.
I don't know exactly what we were thinking except that for some reason we thought that a road trip might be “fun” in theory, but now it seems incredibly stupid as the trip gets closer and closer. But nonetheless, our cancellation window has totally passed, which means we are totally still going because Mama hates to lose money, so this road.trip.is.happening.
To help me get over some of my fears about taking a road trip with kids and a baby on board, I brushed up on some tips to make it through with sanity in check. May the Force be with us all.
Choose an unpopular time. We have no interest in traveling somewhere with a baby only to have it be totally packed and miserable, so we are purposefully choosing an unpopular time — Easter night, actually, to be specific — to reach our destination. When you have a baby and young kids, I think you get to set your own timetable rules. Am I right, or am I right? Do what works best for your family, not just the spring break “rules.”
Drive at night. Yeah, yeah, I know, this isn't really anything new, but still, this is one that might just save your life. My husband and I plan on packing the kids up around 8 p.m. and switching on and off, so get yourself a GIANT coffee mug and think of it as some couple's bonding time. Ha.
Consider bringing help if you can. I'll be honest with you: I am seriously begging my younger sister to come with us on this trip because I know that having her along for the ride will make a difference. Not only can she help corral and entertain the children, but I know that if I throw her a few bucks, I may just be able to sneak out for a night out with my husband, too. We are going to need some peace and quiet after the hours in the car, right? And if you can't bring help or (ahem) talk your sister into joining you, you might just have to bite the bullet and sit in the back with the baby yourself. Someone has to feed the kid, and I'm guessing my 3-year-old won't be much help either.
Buy a car kit for your tablet. Our vehicle does not have built-in video players (on purpose!), but I am not stupid enough to assume that my baby will play the alphabet game for 16 hours straight without complaint. I don't really want to shell out cash from something new, however, though, so I've been researching different car kit mounts you can buy that you can fasten your phone or tablet to on the car seat instead. Voila! Instant car video player.
Snacks, snacks, and more snacks. I cannot stress enough how important snacks are for a road trip. If you've got a bottle-fed or nursing baby, obviously, you are the snack. But for older babies, my go-tos for the car are proportioned snacks like crackers, food pouches, and for those emergency stretches, all-natural suckers. Obviously, don't give your baby a sucker if you're not in direct viewing and rescuing range, since suckers are a choking hazard, but I know for my 18-month old “baby,” suckers will be a lifesaver for the long hours on the road.
Have you ever taken a road trip with baby? Any tips for me??