Spring Break Traveling Tips
March 7, 2017
Traveling becomes a lot more interesting when there’s a baby in the mix. Gone are the days of spontaneous road trips, driving for as long as you can without stopping and eating fast food for every meal. With a baby, you must prepare and plan for basically every scenario you can imagine – poopy diapers, leaky diapers, gassy tummy, hungry baby, hot baby, cold baby, and the list goes on.
But don’t let this intimidate you. Traveling with a baby can be very fun and very worthwhile. With just a bit of extra planning and managed expectations road-tripping with a baby for spring break can be stress-free. Here’s how:
Strap/Suction Down Everything
Babies love throwing things. Food, pacifiers, socks, you name it. This habit becomes increasingly annoying on a road trip, especially when they throw essential items out of reach. To prevent the loss of a much-needed pacifier or to stop endless crackers from ending up on the floor of the car, invest in spill-proof snack containers, and cups/bottles/sippy cups that are spill-proof. Make sure the pacifier has a strap and that they can’t pull it off. Consider using toys that can be tethered to their car seat or the car in some way so they cannot be thrown. Keep an extra pacifier, set of socks, etc. with you in case they do throw it and you need another. You don’t want to have to pull over constantly to retrieve the pacifier being thrown into the back.
Put one parent in back
While it might not be ideal for you, having a parent right next to baby to help them eat, sleep, and meet their needs can make the difference between a screaming baby and a happy baby. And nobody wants to take a road trip with a screaming baby. Being able to pull out a toy or pacifier that falls underneath them causing discomfort, reading a book to them or simply letting them hold your finger can help them stay calm and rest easily during long stretches in the car.
Schedule around baby’s sleeping
The above two tips may be for naught if you simply schedule your driving around baby’s nap or sleep time. Even driving through the night might be worth it if it means peaceful, uninterrupted driving and prevents baby from becoming distressed. Stock up on caffeine, tasty snacks, good music (at a low volume), and road trip games and you and your spouse can have the feeling of those spontaneous road trips you took before you had kids, minus the sunshine and turned-up bass.
Make it a treat
If your baby is old enough and has shown preferences when it comes to toys, animals, colors, treats, etc. you could make a road trip kit of their favorites to help them enjoy the trip more. Buy a new book with their favorite animals, pack plenty of their favorite snacks and drinks, and make a CD or playlist with songs that they recognize and teach them to associate fun, good feelings with road trips to set the tone for a lifetime of fun family adventure.
Dress them in layers
Spring is a tricky time of year since the weather can be so hit-and-miss. And although the car can be temperature-controlled, your baby’s comfort level is still likely to fluctuate. Keep baby comfortable without having to pull-over and change outfits by dressing them in layers that are easy to take on and off. A onesie with pants and a zip-up jacket is a good idea for a base outfit. Then you can easily take off the jacket and pants if you want, or put a blanket on top to comfort them without them overheating. You should also consider buying the most absorbent diapers possible to avoid leaks and discomfort that could also cause excessive, unnecessary stops.
Your spring break road trip with a baby doesn’t have to take forever and be filled with constant stops. Plan ahead and anticipate your baby’s needs and you can create family memories and traditions that will be looked back on fondly.
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