So you want to take a long trip? Oh, you also have a one year old? No problem! It’s definitely doable. Here’s some ideas that may help keep your sanity on the road.
1. ENTERTAINMENT – if you already have some sort of tablet that you can download your child’s favorite movies and games on, use it! Skip buying the fancy LCD screen or car DVD system. All you need is an adjustable tablet mount. I found ours at Best Buy. It’s an iSimple Stronghold. I believe it was $35. You can find cheaper holders on Amazon that work just as well. Don’t forget about charging your tablet before you go or finding a car charger to use on the road!
2. SNACKS – finger foods! If your little one is eating solids, grab some safe snacks. I packed soft granola bars made by Earth’s Best, Baby’s First Cookies by Gerber, Nibbly Fingers by Ella’s Kitchen, and the pureed pouches by Happy Tot. If you are going solo, get a mirror positioned in the back so you can keep an eye on your babe while they are chowing down. Also, have some easy accessible water/juice/milk bottles to pass back. I’m riding next to my daughter this road trip, so I also put wipes in the tote so I can clean her face and hands up after she eats.
3. TOYS – grab a variation of little toys and stuffed animals. I brought a couple beach sand molds, plastic bracelets, a rubber soccer ball, cardboard books, a LeapFrog remote, and a few small stuffed animals. The little cardboard books seem to be a hit for us. I grabbed some teething toys too and a spoon. My daughter would rather chew on her plastic baby spoons than teething toys.
As for packing up your car, I bought a big tote and smaller one that fits inside of it to separate the snacks from the toys. You can find these at Target. I was short on time, but I’m sure you can find totes that already have dividers. I put the tote in the back middle seat where I can reach and pass things back.
Depending on your plans, ditch the big stroller and grab a small umbrella one. Bring your baby wearing device of choice. Ours happens to be our Tula. You’ll save trunk space and have more room for the pack ‘n’ play and luggage I also highly suggest trying to find a place on AirBnB, instead of a hotel. You can rent an entire house or apartment for about the same price as a hotel. You can set up sleeping arrangements closer to how they are at home if you have your child in their own room. I don’t know about you, but I hate tip toeing around in a hotel room once the little one is asleep. If you want, bring the baby monitor along for some added comfort if you put them in a separate room.
*Hotel Tip* Put the pack ‘n’ play in the bathroom with the door cracked. If your room has a secluded area, that works too. I’ve moved hotel furniture around to make a little barrier and hung a blanket over it. I know this sounds weird, but your kiddo will thank you! Okay, maybe not verbally, but it’s dark and quiet and they’ll probably sleep better than being in the room with you. I did this with my daughter when we took a short trip to Colorado with my dad and she slept great! I wish I could’ve joined her because my dad snores like a freight train.
When you stop for gas and food, let your wild child run free for a little bit. Stop for at least 30 minutes.
It won’t be as easy as it was before having kids, but road trips can still be fun! Be prepared and anticipate longer and more frequent stops depending on their age.
Keep an eye out for my next parent posts about traveling. I’ll talk about flying solo as a nursing momma and road trippin’ with a newborn!
Thanks for reading, my fellow merbabes! ❤