With all the safety and health precautions you must consider, taking your infant on a family road trip can be intimidating. Here are seven road trip tips to help make the entire experience fun and memorable for you and your little one.
Before starting the planning process, you must first manage your expectations. Some babies do well on road trips, while others are more challenging, so cultivating a flexible mindset is essential. Be reasonable with your intentions and focus on your baby’s needs instead of the destination.
Prepare your vehicle
Having your family vehicle serviced before you leave is essential for a safe and successful road trip. Clean your vehicle thoroughly, remove any baby hazards and make your car a conducive and comfortable haven for your infant.
If you don’t have a car seat yet, check online for the best infant seat carriers and choose one that suits your budget and preferences. If you already have a car seat, consult with a technician so they can double-check if it’s properly installed. Installing a car seat mirror is also ideal to monitor your little one more efficiently. You can easily keep tabs on your baby without unnecessary stops.
Create a baby-friendly itinerary
Even well-traveled babies are not fond of being cooped inside the vehicle for long hours, so creating a baby-friendly itinerary is vital. Do your research and choose baby-friendly destinations with accessible essential establishments. Plan your pit stops and stop every two to three hours as you’ll need to change diapers, feed, and let your infant take a break from sitting in the car seat. No matter how well-mannered your baby may seem, avoid stretching your driving time so that you can reach your destination on time.
Consider the timing
The timing of your road trip will play a vital role in its success. Try to follow your baby’s schedule and be consistent. If your little one tends to sleep for long hours in the afternoon, plan your pit stops in the morning. Doing so can help ensure that your baby stays comfortable and well-rested, allowing you to drive peacefully and cover as much distance as possible. You can also start your car journey at night or after dinnertime, so everyone is full and satisfied. However, if you’re not confident with your driving skills at nighttime, don’t force it, and choose a time you’re most comfortable with.
Regardless of your road trip’s duration, you must have a well-stocked travel emergency bag in your vehicle. To make the packing process more manageable, create a list of your must-haves and items you can secure along the way. Consider your infant’s daily needs and pack them based on quantity and importance. For instance, if your infant uses five to 10 diapers daily, pack accordingly and remember to add extras. Pack your to-go bag filled with essential items such as baby bottles, pacifiers, diapers, wet wipes, burp clothes, and a change of clothes. Keep it within arm’s reach and place bulky gears in the trunk. If space allows, especially for large vehicles, convert the back area into your diaper changing station to make diaper changes less stressful.
Ride in the backseat
If traveling with another driving-capable adult, it is ideal if one parent sits in the backseat next to the baby. Use this time as an opportunity to bond with your little one. Bring their favorite travel toys and books to keep them entertained and reduce the chances of tantrums. Choose non-toxic toys that are easy to clean and safe to use. Play infant-appropriate games with your baby, and refrain from using your gadgets. Remember to switch driving responsibilities with your partner or travel companion every few hours to ensure you both get your necessary breaks.
Stock up on healthy road trip food
Bring a well-stocked cooler with healthy food choices if your baby is already eating solids, or other baby food. Pack a few baby bibs that can be used repeatedly and cleaned without hassle to reduce food mess. Select food items that are easy to serve, not choke hazards, and with a long shelf-life. While it is safe to feed your baby while the vehicle moves, it is best to wait until you’re at a rest stop, especially if your little one is a messy eater and you’ll serve them a full meal.
With proper planning and a positive attitude, road trips with an infant don’t need to be stressful and challenging. Remember to follow these tips and enjoy the experience with your precious little one.