Ensuring Your Baby’s First Road Trip is a Big Hit

For some parents, the thought of a long road trip with a baby, or maybe more than one, can be daunting. However, if you are properly prepared it does not have to be anywhere nearly as bad as you imagine and could actually be fun. Next time you get an invitation to a special family event that is more than 300 miles away, don’t be put off the chance to catch up with relatives you have not seen for a while. Plan everything in advance and the journey will be fine, both ways. Here are just a few tips that might help.

Pack The Car The Night Before

When you get up and have little ones to deal with packing the car for a road trip as well is almost an impossibility. There are so many things you need to make sure you are taking with you that it is much better to do it without the stress of the babies around you. You will be far more organized this way, and that will let you organize the way the car is packed.

Of course, all the big items, such as the stroller, should be in the trunk and any items you have to take a lot of. This could include nappies and clothes.

Keep Some Stuff Handy

You should keep some of the essential things handier than in the trunk. Things like bottles, cups, pacifiers, toys, snacks, and drinks should all be to hand or you will have to keep stopping to retrieve them. This could add quite a lot of time to the journey so you want to avoid the constant stops.

You should also make sure you have some things for yourselves handy as well. If the little ones fall asleep, which they are likely to for part of the journey at least, it is not the ideal time to stop. You need snacks and drinks handy to stop you getting hungry and thirsty until the times comes for you all to stop and have a proper meal.

Have Some Things With Arms Reach

Small children love to throw things. The first tip here is not to have any toys in the car that could hit the driver on the head and cause them to swerve. Only have soft toys and keep a basket or bag of them where you can reach them without a problem. Then when they get fed up of one toy and throw it, you will have another one handy.

Don’t Do It Alone

Don’t attempt a long journey with babies on your own. If you have a problem with the car, for instance, and it needs towing, trying to cope with small children as well as the car problems with no help would be a nightmare. It could be something less serious like a tire needs changing, or you run out of fuel just before you reach the gas station, but having the help of another adult will be vital in any of these situations.

Apart from car problems, it is good to have company that does more than gurgle at you or cry when they want attention. The secret is to take someone with you that does not do either of those things, and they can help to keep the children amused as well.

If they have a driving license too that is even better, as then this task can be shared, giving you both a break from it. When you stop for toilet breaks it means you will be able to use the facilities without having to take the baby into the cubicle with you, and at meals times the whole experience in a café or restaurant will be easier.

Don’t Get Stressed

It is very easy to get stressed before the journey even starts and you should avoid that if you can. Children pick up on their parent’s moods very easily, and if you are stressed they are likely to get upset too. Stay relaxed and enjoy the journey as much as you can.

When you reach your destination, the children are probably going to have a lot of fuss made of them, especially from relatives that might not have seen them before. You should let them wallow in being spoilt for a few hours, enjoy the family event and then get a good nights sleep before starting the journey all over again, just in the other direction.

In fact, the ideal is to try and do the journey the day before the event so that you are all well rested and can really enjoy it.

About the Author

Julie Henning
Julie Henning is a freelance writer and journalist based out of Eugene, Oregon. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and owner of the family-travel website RoadTripsForFamilies.com. She is a recent past member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and the Association for Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. Julie is the Oregon Coast destination specialist for Bindu Media, an itinerary-focused website launching in Spring 2016 and featuring the work of 200+ professional, indie travel writers. Julie has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Illinois), the Rochester Post Bulletin, Wisconsin Natural Resources (DNR) Magazine, Sustainable Chicago Magazine, Group Tour Magazine, Student Group Tour Magazine, Silent Sports Magazine, Intercom Magazine, Roadtrippers.com, and FTF Geocacher Magazine. Julie has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, Ohio Public Radio, and KCBX FM Central Coast Radio and is an affiliate producer with the Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, a National Public Radio travel podcast. She has blogged for TravelWisconsin.com, Travel Oregon, and VISIT Milwaukee. Julie travels with her three kids and black lab as much as possible and lives by the motto, "Not all who wander are lost." Check out some of her best work at www.juliehenning.com.