The great American road trip is an experience like none other. Whether you are only going twenty miles or two thousand, there is nothing in the world like the freedom and adventure of the road trip. Unfortunately many people believe that taking road trips with a baby is difficult and will often avoid taking a trip simply because they need to bring an infant with them. However, the truth is that there are several very simple things you can do to not only make it easy to travel with a baby, but to also expand on the standard road trip experience. Simple steps such as stopping frequently to feed the baby to traveling when the baby is most likely to sleep well can all be used to make a road trip very enjoyable.
Road Trips With Babies
A road trip with a baby doesn’t have to be daunting. Follow these 10 tips and you will reach your destination in no time.
1: Stop frequently to feed the baby
Most infants tend to cry for one of only a few reasons ranging from needing to be fed to a diaper change. If you make it a habit to stop and feed your baby often, chances are they will cry a lot less often while you drive. Doing this also provides the advantage of seeing more on your trip. There are signs everywhere showing the way to interesting locations, having a baby along is the perfect reason to visit them.
2: Set up a changing station in the car
While most vehicles tend to be a bit cramped, there is generally enough room to set up at least a small changing station. While you should never change a baby while the car is moving, having a changing station set up makes it possible to stop on the side of the road and quickly change the baby. While stopping may not be that much fun, neither is listening to a baby scream for hours.
3: Make sure the baby gets enough exercise
Even though they can’t walk, Infants still need to move. By stopping every so often and taking the baby out of the car seat you give them a chance to move their little bodies around. Not only does this make it easier for them while they are awake in the car seat, this will also help them sleep better as you travel.
4: Try to minimize loud noises
Loud noises bug everyone, and this is even more true with babies. Try to play music at a low volume, avoid arguing, and overall try to keep the car as quiet as possible. This is easier said than done, but it can be accomplished with a little thought and consideration.
5: Have someone sit in the seat next to the baby
Having someone sit next to the baby will often comfort the infant quite a bit. Sometimes this can backfire if the baby wants mommy to pick them up, so try an older sibling or even Dad sit next to the baby. Everyone likes company, even babies.
6: Break up the trip into little stages
Many people simply want to rush from point A to point B during a road trip. While this may get you to your destination sooner, you miss a lot of what the road has to offer. With a baby traveling with you, breaking up the journey into several smaller trips will help a lot.
7: Try to avoid stop and go traffic
Most babies are soothed by continuous motion. When the car stops, they can often get a little fussy. While staying completely out of stop and go traffic may be impossible, taking steps to minimize it will help the road trip go a lot smoother.
8: Plan your itinerary a little loosely
Traveling is always unpredictable and traveling with a baby is even worse. As you plan your road trip try to think in more general terms. For example if you want to visit Chicago, try and plan on arriving and leaving the city over a range of days instead of narrowing into a specific day. This can make booking hotels a little difficult, but being flexible will keep the stress level down quite a bit.
9: Don’t be afraid to stop if you have too
Just because you wanted to reach Denver on a particular day does not mean you have to. If the baby is being too difficult to make driving safe, stop for a while. Yes, this will mean lost time, but it is always better to drive safely and with as little stress as possible.
10: Drive at night
Babies tend to sleep very well at night so traveling during this time can make a lot of difference. It is advisable to make sure the car seat has a hood, as passing car lights can often disturb a sleeping infant.
The most important thing to remember is that while traveling with a baby requires some adjustment, it does not mean you can’t go on vacation. Don’t forget to pack your patience, as road trips with babies can be unpredictable.