Road Trip Survival Tips with a Baby
If you were blessed with a baby that loves the car, well let's just say that I envy you. From about a month old Olivia has hated the car. People look at us like we are crazy when we tell them she won't sleep in the car. Instead she just screams! It doesn't matter if I sit in the back seat with her or if we have all of her favorite toys of puffs, if she doesn't want to be there she will make sure you know it. Now that isn't to say every car ride is awful, just about 75% of them.
Now, road trips aren't my preferred method of travel. I would much rather fly and get there quicker. But every year, we take the same road trip... to Myrtle Beach. This year we added a few days at the beginning and an extra week at the end to go to other places. But leading up to the trip I was beginning to wonder if we would have a screaming baby for 10 hours.
I read countless blogs about road trips with kids but there weren't many tips for surviving a road trip with a baby that hates the car. The tips were more about how to pass the time - which we did need as well.
Our road trip was way more successful than I ever could have imagined. It was only the last hour that I wanted to pull my hair out (total win in my book).
Tips for a successful road trip (with a baby)
- PLAN, PLAN, PLAN: Take a look at the map to your destination. Are there any cool spots that you can take a pit stop for breakfast or lunch? If so plan around the time you want to be at the spot. We knew we wanted to stop in Savannah. We found a quaint little cafe (ahead of time) that would allow dogs on the patio. The cafe was in the middle of historic Savannah, which made for easy walking around after. It was a great break from the car for Olivia, Molly, and us. Because we wanted to be in Savannah at the time Olivia wakes up in the morning, we left at 2:30 AM. This might sound crazy but it worked out great. Olivia transferred from her crib to the car and slept the entire ride. Which made us half way to our destination without crying!
- Set your expectations: Eric and I talked about the drive ahead of time. We knew we weren't going to make it to Myrtle Beach in the 10 hours that it normally took. And we always said that if it takes us 15 hours to get there, then so be it. We didn't want to get our hopes up that we would make it there in a set amount of time.
- Distractions: I know I mentioned if Olivia is mad nothing is going to make her happy, once we are in the car. But I still brought distractions. I packed a little box of Olivia's toys for our trip and had her play with these in the car (the toys were only entertaining for a short period, but that is better than nothing). We also had teething crackers, yogis, and puffs. If you have a baby that loves food... like Olivia does... these will be life savers.
- Take breaks: Along with our pit stop in Savannah, we did take another stop with Olivia. She just wasn't having it and I could tell she wasn't going to chill out. We made a pit stop at a gas station for Olivia to get out of her seat and stretch for about a half hour.
- Push through: This pretty much contradicts number 4 but in parenthood many things contradict each other, so just go with it. Once we were only about an hour and a half out of our destination, there was no more stopping for us. I knew that if we took another break to take Olivia out she would just cry when going back into her car seat. So we pushed through.
I think our trip was much more successful than I would have imagined. And the bonus: Olivia hasn't cried in her carseat since our long trip. Did she just learn to love it? I'm going to say so.
How do you like to travel to your vacation destination? Do you have any road trip tips?