Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Road trip with a 7 month old

When my daughter was 7 months old we decided to take a 12 hour road trip. And when I say we decided what I really mean is that my husband suggested it and I freaked out. I liked the idea of the trip in theory, it was going to coincide with thanksgiving weekend and we would be driving across state lines to visit my  brother and his family. But the thought of driving 1400 miles round-trip with an unpredictable infant made me queasy to say the least. I started looking for advice and  tips for traveling with an infant and to my dismay there was so much contradictory information. Ultimately we had to filter out all the advice we got and make it work for our situation.

Travel time: This was one of the areas I was the most nervous about. I felt that the key to having a successful trip was to choose the perfect travel time. Some people told us it was best to travel during the daytime and make lots of stops and keep taking the baby out of the car seat so she wouldn't get tired. But others swore that nighttime was ideal for driving long distance with a baby as she was guaranteed to sleep through most of it. We decided to try the nighttime travel because it seemed like the best option especially since we knew there would generally be less traffic at night. We started the journey the day before thanksgiving around 8.30pm when all the rush hour traffic had died down, she was a little cranky for the first 10 or so minutes but once we got on the highway she fell asleep and pretty much slept the entire 12 hour journey.

Luggage: Several people told me to pack really light and not take too many things but I didn't quite understand why! I was told that I could always just buy anything I needed when I arrived at my destination, but again I didn't see the advantage of this. We were only going to be there for 3 days and I didn't want to have to spend time going from store to store trying to find familiar brands and products.  I decided that I would totally disregard the advice to pack light and instead I would pack every single thing I might possibly need. I literally packed everything, from her grass bottle rack, to my mash and serve food bowl! I even carried fresh carrots and avocado for her meals. For me, this made the entire trip so much simpler than it would have been if I had arrived empty handed. I was able to keep up the same routine as usual and feed her the same food she was already used to without having to be an inconvenience to anyone. I made heavy use of the Hefty jumbo 2.5 gallon bags  to organize and pack anything that would fit in them. These bags are awesome, firstly because they are airtight so I can pack in clean bottles and feeding gear and not have to worry about them getting dirty in transit. I also love that they are clear so it is really easy to find things in them at a glance without needing to open or unpack them. They are also surprisingly strong!

I decided to pack enough clothing & wash cloths to last her the entire trip so I wouldn't have to worry about doing laundry while I was there. And it all worked out, I only had one small suitcase for her, and several hefty bags with all her gear. We even took along her Fisher Price booster seat for meals and her Fisher Price rock n play sleeper. for bed time. Yes we probably could have done without them but it was so convenient to have handy all the gear that she was already used to. If I had to do it all over again I would still take everything!

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