I have been on my share of road trips with babies, and some of them have been very long. Through my experiences I have learned a lot, and now planning for a road trip doesn’t cause me an ounce of stress (okay, maybe it still causes an ounce from time to time). Usually if I do end up stressed out it’s because I forgot to implement a strategy I learned along the way.
Here are a few tips to help take the stress out of planning for a road trip with your little one(s). These tips have served me well, and I hope they do the same for you. Have a great summer!
1. Make a shopping list a week or two before the trip. The week before your trip, start to think about things you need to get to make your trip comfortable as well as things you will need when you arrive at your destination. If you do it a week or two out it gives you time to remember things that may not come to mind right away.
2. Make a packing list 2 days before the trip. Packing lists are so helpful and they really do help with minimizing how much you forget. As tiny as our babies can be, they need a whole lot of stuff. Writing it all out will be a lifesaver. And be sure to add your own stuff to the list.
3. Gather lots of information about your destination. If you are off to see grandma, find out what she has at her place and also find out what stores are near by. That way you know what you really need and what can be left at home. Even if it’s not a trip to visit family, gathering information ahead of time is very useful. Last year we went on a trip when my daughter was about 9 months old and with just a few phone calls arrangements were made for us to pick up a stroller, and pack n’ play from a baby rental store when we arrived. It was great!
4. Pack medication first. Medication truly is the most important thing (and your baby’s favorite toy of course). If you have that with you, you will most likely survive if you forget anything else. You can always purchase the things you forget and you are better off getting some things at your destination anyway. Who really wants to take up precious car space with a ton of diapers anyway?
5. Timing is everything. Based on the length of your road trip, try to pick the ideal time to drive. When we visit my sister-in-law, we leave to head back home between 7pm and 8 pm, because the ride back is about 3 hours long. If we are rested, it’s not too late to drive, and the kids sleep the entire time. When we get home we just put them in bed (we throw their pajamas on before we get in the car). It’s awesome.