Traveling with your kids part 2: 6-18 months old

So, you’re finally getting a little more sleep at night and you’ve decided a family vacation is just around the corner. Drive time be damned, you’re going to the beach, mountains, desert, wherever. It’s estimated at 6 hours of driving time and now you’re panicking, can I really bring my baby on a road trip?
The short answer is, yes you can. Will it be like the road trips with your partner that you vaguely remember before having a baby? Hahahaha! Hahaha….haha…ha. Not at all.
First things first, don’t overpack. It’s a rookie mistake and your baby is out of the newborn trenches and so are you! You don’t need 7 pacifiers, 13 blankets, 5 “lovies” in case they lose one, the crib, highchair, changing table, microwave just in case and all the other junk, er…necessities.
Secondly, whatever you do, do not, I repeat “DO NOT” walk into target without a list, a budget and an intervention team on standby. Do you know how much money companies are making by exploiting parents’ deepest insecurities? A lot. A lot of money.
Here’s what I suggest bringing and why.
  1. Pack n play for sleeping. Easy to fold up, store, set up etc. my advice is practicing a few nights so your kiddo isn’t sleeping in a pack n play for the first time on the first night of your trip. No one will sleep.
  2. Fold-up high chair on the go. It’s like a little attachment to chairs and it acts like a high chair. This is great for meals, but also other times when you need your kiddo “strapped in.” Don’t have one, but in a pinch? Bring in the car seat and buckle them in! I’m not proud of it, but I’ve had to do that before and it was pretty effective.
  3. Snacks for the car ride. However, do not hand them food from front seat… make sure an adult is sitting beside them. This age is such a choking hazard season!
  4. Your baby is still rear-facing, so a good play item is the travel mirror that attaches to the headrest of the back seat!
  5. Clothes, too, of course! Bring extra “staples” and if it’s hot outside bring one cardigan just in case, if it’s cold, bring one shirt/short outfit just in case!
  6. Diapers and wipes. Be sure you have plenty for driving days, but don’t panic if you need to buy more once you’re at your destination!
  7. Do not underestimate the power of music. As a family we attend a music together class weekly and have since my oldest was 9 months (she’s now 4.5 years old) So those CD’s are crucial in our travels. But, any music you and your kiddo enjoy will be a great way to pass the time, soothe a fussy kiddo and make the car ride smoother.

At this age and stage you may not have to stop every 2 hours like you would with a new infant who’s feeding schedule is much different. However, depending on your little one’s car tolerance, you may be stopping every couple of hours. So expect the unexpected, be mentally prepared for a dreadful trip, seriously! I cannot tell you how often I’ve gone into a road trip thinking, this is going to be awful but the destination is worth it, THEN, if the road trip is anything above “awful” I’m delighted!!! Balance that doomsday outlook with a side of adventure spirit and enjoy the memories you’re making.

Baby puked all over the car, hahaha, what a story that will be! Baby had a diaper explosion that forced you to stop in the middle of nowhere Kansas, hilarious story for the future. It took you 12 hours to go on a 300 mile journey, wow, that’s CRAZY! All good things, all good things. Good luck!!

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