First Road Trip with Baby!
Due to the pandemic, the traveling I envisioned for our family and baby's first year did not go as plan. I am from Houston, TX and currently live in Northern Virginia - about 20 miles outside of Washington, D.C.. In a normal year, I typically travel to Texas at least three or four times, sometimes more depending on events and special occasions with family and friends.
Being super COVID conscious, each month went by and taking baby Colt to Texas seemed less likely. But as we approached his first birthday, we decided to take the plunge and road trip to Texas from Virginia - a nearly 20 hours drive without stops!
Here is how we survived and thrived traveling with our eleven month old in the car for the journey!
Make your trip schedule work for you.
I read a bunch of blogs that recommend starting a road trip at night, so that baby sleeps during the drive. We had mixed success with this method. On our way to TX, we started at 8:30 P.M., which was about an hour past Colt's regular bedtime and he did okay - we made it about five hours. We then broke up the rest of the drive over two more days.
On the way back from TX, we started our drive in the morning and made it all the way to the Alabama-Tennessee border, and only had two days to drive total. So it worked either way!
Get new toys for entertaining baby.
I think this was definitely a game changer. Absolutely recommend getting a few new toys for your trip. New toys will hold your baby's attention longer and help calm baby when they inevitably get frustrate with being in the car.
Here are a few of our favorites that I picked up for the trip. Colt is obsessed with the bird house!
Snacks and more snacks.
We worked so hard on building a routine and schedule, which includes meal time and snacks...so I was definitely worried about how that would go with the days-long road trip. I picked up a bunch of snacks that I was comfortable giving Colt in his car seat, plus additional snacks for out of the car seat.
We loved grabbing a bunch of the HappyBaby Organic Yogi Freeze-Dried Yogurt Melts and Bamba Peanut Butter Puff snacks for easy munching. Colt loves string cheese too, so that was an easy car snack. I also grabbed a formula dispenser for making quick bottles on the go with a water bottle and pre-measured formula - seriously a life saver.
A little screen time can help.
I was totally that mom-to-be who was not going to have screens around little babes, but let's be real...sometimes you need it for baby and for your own sanity. Same rule applies to road trips.
I downloaded all the Toy Story movies from Disney+ and Frozen II on my iPad and we pretty much watched them in 15 minute increments or however long it entertained Colt. I feel like he held longer interest in the movies than usual, so that was cool to watch.
Definitely take breaks - do not push it with little babes to make longer stretches in the car. We would stop every 3-4 hours and get out to stretch, get gas, a meal, or just walk around. We also stopped for the night so that we could get a good night's sleep and give Colt a break from the carseat.
Lastly, we have a mirror so that we can see Colt and he can see us from the backseat. However, for this road trip I just sat in the back with him the entire ride - which wasn't horrible. I usually get a little car sick, but with the breaks and everything we all did great!
Hope these tips can help you on your next car ride with your little. If you have any other tips and tricks for trips, please share the comments below <3