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We took a 12+ hour road trip with a 4-month-old this year and I gotta say, it was pretty ballsy of us but wound up being a great experience that we’ll never forget. As you know, so much of parenting is flying by the seat of your pants which is exactly what we did to prep for this trip. Here are 5 things we did super well that now I pass on to you:
  1. Packed an easy-to reach, open top bag with car essentials only. There are things your baby will need on the trip that you won’t need in the car. Throw those in the trunk and keep the essentials close to you. I put all of our car must haves in an open basket where it would be easy for me to find and grab. Our essentials are: a handful of diapers, wipes and bags to put dirty diapers (we use these), a few changes of clothes, a handful of toys and books, pacifiers if you use them, formula (we keep ours in this), bottles with water already in them (if you’re formula feeding like we are), bibs, 2 burp cloths, 2 trash bags, a Ziploc for dirty clothes in case of a blowout and hand sanitizer. Call me over the top but I also put some oxy in the Ziploc bag so I could pre-treat her clothes on the fly. Don’t forget when you’re adding water to a bag of Oxy: it will expand
  2. Made a space in the car for changing diapers. I would have packed the car to the brim had an Instagram friend of mine not given me a heads up about this. When you’re packing your car, think about where you’re going to be changing the baby. Is it a little space in the trunk? Is it on the floorboard? An extra seat? Thinking ahead leaves one less potential fire to put out later.
  3. Put a puppy pad under our kid. Yup, we stuck a puppy pad in between the car seat and Ellie. The thought of having a blowout all over the car seat on a 12-hour road trip was horrifying to us. Luckily we didn’t. If we had, we were ready. No regrets.
  4. Stopped for a diaper change every 3 hours. We stopped about every 3 hours to give her a few minutes out of her car seat and to make sure she wasn’t sitting in a wet diaper for too long. We thought this would help her be more comfortable and we’ll be doing this again on our next trip. I also lathered all of the skin that touched her diaper with Aquaphor so she wouldn’t chafe (especially around her little thighs).
  5. Gave ourselves more than enough time to get from point A to point B. We had zero agenda on our trip and it made things so pleasant for us. I’ve found over the last few months that going anywhere with a tiny human always takes longer than I think it will and there isn’t a lot under my control. Stress reduction things that ARE under your control: leave earlier, allow yourself time for unexpected stops and set the bar low. Traveling with a baby can be stressful, take a possible time crunch off your plate. Work smarter, not harder my friend.
Here are the Ellie travel essentials we love:
Collapsible utility bag (aka my easy to reach bag)
Sheets for travel crib (this is harder to do with the size of the travel mattress pad but it’s doable)
Here’s a list of Target links so you can throw things in your cart on the app and do Target pickup if that’s your jam (it’s my jam). Easy breezy!
Spring water (for bottles if formula feeding)
The best raisin-free road trip snack ever (this is for you, you’re welcome in advance)