Most of my family lives in Jackson, MIssissippi, so when I feel like a road trip, I usually just throw some clothes in a bag & head down there. I learned very quickly, that with a baby, there's hours, even days of preparing for a road trip. Make sure the laundry is done, clean all the bottles, make sure we have formula, diapers, wipes, orajel, toys, baby wash, wash cloths, the pack & play, the jumperoo, & plenty of blankets. I almost felt guilty for upgrading our car to an SUV, thinking we could have gotten by with my car, but after the first trip with Jett, I quickly learned that we needed the SUV. Not everybody does, but we certainly do. We pack the whole house. Then the driving begins. What used to be a 6 hour trip somehow turns into a 7.5-8 hour trip. I knew this would happen the first time I made this trip (by myself too), so I mentally prepared for it. That's the most important thing to pack. Mental preparation. As long as I knew I would have to stop every 2-4 hours, I was fine doing it. Patience is key here. If you're not a patient one, I would not recommend traveling alone. It's much better when someone can crawl in the back & feed the little tooter while the car is still moving. Then we just stop for diaper changes & some play time. So here are a few things that have made traveling with a baby a little easier for our family.
1. A favorite toy or friend. Jett's happens to be the Ugly Doll named Ox. 2. A nice tote to keep all things baby in so it's easier to get all things baby out once you reach your destination. This one is from Thirty-One bags. You can have them monogrammed, and they make great gifts! 3. A sunshade will help keep the sun out of baby's eyes, but I've found that sometimes Jett likes it when I roll his window down a little, so do whatever works best for you! This is the Brica sunshade. 4. Nuby formula dispensers are awesome! I go ahead & measure out 4 scoops in each of the 3 divided sections, so when I'm ready to make him a bottle, one step is already eliminated. Another thing that helps here is to have bottles already filled with the correct amount of water. 5. Happy Squeeze baby food is very helpful on a road trip! Baby food without the spoon. Still messy, but not as bad, but you'll still need some burp cloths to tidy up. 6. I love these reusable grocery bags from reuseit.com to keep all the bottles, formula, baby food, spoons & all other things that deal with baby food. I usually pack a couple these up then put them in the thirty-one tote in the back, then keep one with 2-3 bottles filled with water & the formula dispenser in one in the back seat.
Another helpful trick is to go ahead & pre-make as many bottles as you think you may need & put them in a small cooler. I do this when I travel alone & will take the bottle out about an hour before I think Jett will be hungry. I also keep a blanket or small changing pad in the diaper bag for diaper changes along the way. I usually do the diaper change in the car, as I never know what to expect with gas station bathrooms. Gross. And finally, it's not a bad idea to put a little sunscreen on baby. You never know how much sun is getting back there, so I say better safe than sorry.
So pack your bags, plan a family vacation & enjoy the summer! Just be prepared for an entirely different experience if you're a first time parent. Like everything parenting, it gets easier!
Good luck and happy travels!