Many people think that family road-tripping must be put on hold when you have a baby. But what’s the fun in that? Getting your children involved in travel, even at wee infant ages, can set them up for success down the road. We put together tips for road-tripping with a baby, so now you can take a cross-country vacation with the newest additions to your family.
1. Never travel more than 4-6 hours a day.
Your baby will get sick of the car seat, hungry or you’ll need to fill up on gas, and ignoring those factors will make for a very unhappy and unpleasant passenger. Plan to leave earlier than expected if you’re trying to make it somewhere on time.
2. Pack bottles or a pump.
If your baby is breastfed, you can’t simply remove them from their car-seat to feed on the road. If your baby can drink from a bottle, alternative ideas are to fill a couple bottles before you leave home, or pack a pump to fill bottles in the car. Imagine hitting traffic with a hungry baby and no method of feeding them… On a similar note, put a disposable changing pad between your baby and the car seat. This way, if they have an accident it won’t ruin the car seat and will be quicker to clean up.
3. Hide their favorite toys.
Don’t allow them to have all their toys out at once. If you gradually give them other toys throughout the trip they’ll become distracted and won’t long for the trip to be over.
4. Always stop for a good photo op.
Make sure to ask a few strangers to take family photos for you. You don’t want to look back and regret not getting more collective photos to show your child as they get older.
5. Bring an iPad or tablet.
Download one of our favorite Travel Apps, YouTube Kids, so your little one can keep entertained with fun, age-appropriate videos. An iPad holder can be purchased and hung around the head rest for easy visibility.
6. Let your baby sleep.
Know that every time you get in the car, the baby will probably fall asleep. Try to be in the car when you want baby to nap or you will have lots of unhelpful short naps. Hang a mirror around the headrest of the seat he/she is on; this way you can look back and see how they’re doing.
7. Get the baby a “US National Parks Passport” and start collecting stamps.
It’s a great keepsake for your child over the years. They might not remember the trip years from now, but they’ll have the souvenir to prove it happened.
Article imagery updated on 8/1/22.
Article updated on 9/15/23.