Statistically speaking 94-million people will be traveling this holiday season. I’m going to guess at least half have kids and of those kids a number will be forced to travel with an infant. Traveling with an infant can be fun and downright exhausting.
With family in another state little man has been forced into 4+ hour car rides since he was 6 weeks old. It is an adventure, one that I have done over a dozen times now with and without another adult along for the ride. I’m far from an expert and always looking for other ideas! I’ve talked to a few friends and together we came up with a list of ideas on how to make travel with an infant (or kids in general) easier, especially at the holidays when the traffic is bound to be bad and the toll stops are filled with people.
Please share yours by leaving a comment!
8 Tips For Traveling With An Infant (or Other Kids)
- Plan to take breaks. We often stop once or twice along the way. Generally speaking we aim to make it at least two hours into the drive in case we have problems starting up again or if someone is not quite ready to go back into his car seat!
- Plan your drive around nap time. As much as it sucks to have a really cranky kid leading up to the drive, it is much easier to get the cranky out before you leave, than to deal with it the whole way!
- Have a bottle (or snack) ready when you stop. I am a “quick stopper”, in other words I would rather make short quick stops and get to our destination sooner rather than take long drawn out stops. As soon as little man could hold his own bottle, I found our stops got progressively faster if he could drink his bottle while we made our bathroom stops and food orders. He was ready to go (and changed) then by the time we had finished everything we needed to at the rest stop!
- Surprise them with a new toy or book. This may be for older kids (and while normally I would avoid bribery), this has been suggested and works according to one of my friends! If they are not going to nap most of the way a toy (or book) they haven’t seen before could really help keep them occupied a lot longer than one they played with twice that day already. Something new and exciting might just keep their attention for the ride! Chapter books anyone?
P.S. Don’t forget one for the return trip home.
- Add more time than “planned” to get to your destination. Kids are unpredictable, infants are even more unpredictable. There is no guarantee that the amount of time mapquest (does anyone actually use that anymore) suggests is even going to be close to accurate! On more than one occasion little man has decided that flat out screaming for an hour was a much more productive solution than sleeping. We’ve spent more than one car trip with a break at a toll stop just trying to get him to settle down to keep our sanity and keep him from being miserable. Pad your travel time by at least an hour to ensure you make it on time!
- Bring a favorite book or toy. We all know my new found love for Sophie the Giraffe. We do not leave for a road trip without it! It helps calm little man down and gives him something familiar to
talk tobabble with in the backseat. Not to mention it helps with teething ;).
- Giraffe On The Go Travel Sound Machine (or Sleep Sheep). When little man was first born we quickly discovered the joys of white noise. He settled down often with it. Someone gifted us this giraffe and it is great for travel! I always turn it on the longer setting (43 minutes) as we leave. It was a quick way to settle little man down and not all that annoying to listen to as we made our way on the road! Usually he would be asleep before the 43 minutes ended and we would be good until the next rest stop.
- Be patient. This is quiet possibly the best tip I have. Kids will not necessarily be thrilled about a long car ride, but you getting frustrated only makes it worse. The radio does have a high volume for a reason… Kidding…. Sort of 😉
I am ALWAYS looking for more ideas so please share your ideas in the comments! What are your favorite tips for someone traveling with a baby?