Both of us have families who live far away. We recently took Madeline on a trip to see my grandmother, which is 2- 2.5 hours one way and Sherrie and Matt have to travel 3 hours one way to visit her family in New Jersey. We both typically do round trips in one day which can be a handful for both baby and parents. I was really concerned about how this was going to go down so to ensure it went smoothly, I followed these some tips we would recommend to everyone!
Tip #1: Organization
First is organization in the car. We have this great hanging organizer from thirty-one that we just love. It has pockets for everything! It also can grow with your baby through their ages. The top pocket can fit an iPad, though we haven’t gotten to that stage with Madeline yet. Having everything you will need where you can reach it easily is the key to a successful car trip. The last thing that the person sitting in the backseat wants to do is try to rummage through the bags at their feet, unless you drive a limo, there’s just not enough space when you’re sitting next to a car seat.
Tip #2: Pack the Essentials
There are a couple of things that are musts on a car trip. Just like you would pack them for adults, babies need snacks! A 2.5 hour trip is a long time to be sitting in the car seat and they are bound to get hungry. Emily has said multiple times how much she loves the Foodi System for making homemade pouches and that love is only multiplied when it comes to car trips. Also, if you’re going to bring food, be sure to bring either a bottle of milk/formula or water. Sherrie found these great tops that screw onto regular water bottles- instant sippy cup! Amazing!
Next, you need some stuff to keep baby occupied. I mentioned how we’re not at a point with Madeline where we use a tablet, it you are, great! We brought along our favorite Usborne book and her family photo album, both take time to read or look at which can help pass the time spent in the car. Any other toys that they can keep occupied is a plus. Madeline is at a stage where she likes to throw her toys around the car, so these plastic links are a lifesaver. We string them together and hook one end to the top of her car seat, the other end to the toy. Now she can play to her heart’s content but the toys aren’t going anywhere! Another option that Sherries does is keep a small bin of toys in front of the car seat. That way if they throw it and you can’t reach for it, you have some backup right in the bin near you!
Tip #3: Timing is Everything
If at all possible, plan your trips when you know your child travels best based on their schedule. A well fed baby will be happier in the long haul than trying to struggle and feed a cranky hungry baby midway. Another suggestion is you may want to start your travels during your toddler’s nap time – Sherrie does this with Logan and he easily sleeps half the car ride.
The key to a happy, meltdown free car trip is preparation! Pack smart, keep them occupied, and tire them out. You’ll be golden and they’ll be happy. 🙂