Making Thanksgiving Road Trips With A Baby Something You Can Be Thankful For

Saturday, September 23, 2023 5:53 PM | Allison (Administrator)

Do you need to travel this fall for Thanksgiving, or to enjoy fall leaves, or for any other reason? We have some tips on how to make it easier! 

Traveling long distances by car with a baby can seem daunting, but with proper planning and organization, it can be an enjoyable experience. This guide will help you prepare for a successful and fun trip to Grandma's house.

Before the Trip

Planning the Trip:

  • Consider Your Baby's Sleep Schedule:
  • Plan your travel time to coincide with your baby's nap or bedtime.
  • If your baby doesn't sleep well in the car, start the journey right after a nap or in the morning.

Break the Trip:

  • Avoid long stretches in the car by planning stops along the way to give everyone a break.

Factor in Extra Time:

  • Be prepared for unplanned surprises, such as diaper changes or fussy moments.

Pack Essentials:

  • Ensure you have everything you need for a pleasant trip, including window shades, a cooler for drinks, toys, baby-friendly music, a rear-view baby mirror, and books to read to your baby.

Preparing the Car

Utilize the Backseat Space:

  • If possible, have one adult sit in the backseat next to the baby for company and comfort.
  • If traveling alone, get creative in setting up the car and plan for more frequent stops. Mirrors help you to see baby. 

Create a Traveling Entertainment Center:

  • If rear facing car seat is instructions say to have handle up while driving, you can hang toys from it. OR
  • Hang lightweight toys from the ceiling using ribbons or yarn. Ensure they are not too long. 
  • Tape colorful pictures of toys on the back of the seat facing your baby.
  • Set up a box of easily accessible toys next to the car seat.
  • Provide a large box of toys and switch out options when you take driving breaks. 

Bring Snacks and Drinks:

  • Pack snacks and drinks for your baby and yourself, even if you plan to stop for meals.

Entertainment for Adults:

  • Borrow books on CD (if your car has a cd player) or borrow ebooks from library, or create a playlist of soothing music for adults to enjoy during your baby's naps.
  • Download podcasts 

Be Prepared for the Dark:

  • If traveling at night, bring a battery-operated nightlight or flashlight.

Car Travel Checklist:

  • Well-stocked diaper bag
  • Change pad if you need to change in creative places
  • Baby's blanket
  • Car seat pillow or head support
  • Window shades (sun screens)
  • Change of clothes for your baby
  • Change of shirt for adults easily accessible (so you don't arrive smelling like spit up) 
  • Toys and books
  • Baby food, snacks, and drinks
  • Sipper cups
  • Snacks and drinks for adults
  • Cooler
  • Wet washcloths or moist towelettes
  • Empty plastic bags for leftovers and trash
  • Bottle warmer
  • Baby's regular sleep music or white noise (with extra batteries)
  • First aid kit/prescriptions/medications
  • Money/wallet/purse/ID
  • Medical and insurance information/emergency phone numbers
  • Maps/driving directions
  • Baby carrier/sling/stroller
  • Suitcases

During the Journey

Be Flexible:

  • Accept that changes can happen and try to stay relaxed and adaptable.

Stop When Needed:

  • Avoid pushing too far with a crying baby; take breaks to calm your baby.

Prioritize Safety:

  • Keep your baby in the car seat, and if nursing, pull over to feed your baby in the car seat to avoid potential accidents.

Never Leave Your Baby Alone:

  • Remember, never leave your baby unattended in the car, even for a brief moment.

On the Way Home

Prepare for the Return Trip:

  • Ensure all supplies are refilled and ready.
  • Plan the best departure time.
  • Reflect on previous trips for improvements.

By following these tips and staying organized, you can make your car trip with a baby not only manageable but also enjoyable for everyone involved. Safe travels!

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