Tips For Traveling With Kids When You’re an Unseasoned Traveler + Type A Fucking Insane

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Recently, I decided that I wanted to start being a little more adventurous and doing things that seem like a “hassle” to me. In other words, I want to start traveling a little bit more. Those who know me understand that traveling is not my thing at all. I’ve been a handful of places and if taking a trip means schedule alterations, I’d rather skip it (no joke).

That really isn’t a way to live, though – especially according to my husband who would live out of a suitcase if I agreed to it.

I’m starting small. This weekend, I went to Detroit (about 3.5 hour drive) overnight with my husband, four year old, and seven week old. It seemed daunting, so I figured that was a good reason to do it!

Agreeing to travel more doesn’t mean I am suddenly a plane-hopper who has no worries and effortlessly baby-wears all over the damn world.

It means I find ways to manage traveling with kids. I know I’m not the only one who feels overwhelmed at the thought of shlepping kids around, even if it’s just to Target (what about feeding time? what about nap time? what about the temp outside – what do I put on them? It’s going to be 54 degrees when we go to Target that’s five minutes away, but 62 when we leave in the hour time limit I am imposing on us – what’s best? ANSWER ME we are losing time on the hour I set aside for this!).

Here are some tips based on what I learned about car trips with kids when you are determined to have everything go as planned.

TIP 1: Bring clothes for every damn season. I live in Northeast Ohio. When we left to go to Detroit, it was in the 40s the day before. When we got there, it was summer. Also, the air conditioner in the ENTIRE hotel was broken (cue major meltdown #1). I ended up going to Old Navy AND Babies R Us to get clothes that didn’t make us drown in sweat. Regardless of what the forecast says, pack clothes for different climates. Even if it was only in the 50s when we got to Detroit, we were on the top floor of a hotel with a broken HVAC system – we definitely needed shorts and tanks.

TIP 2: Assume your newborn will pee through all of his outfits and bring double every thing. Mind you that my adorable son barely pees through his clothing…except when we are on a trip and I only brought one swaddle blanket that became soaked. Bring two of things. Two swaddle blankets; a bunch of outfits – you get the point. Thinking that your baby will not pee through most of his things is living dangerously.

TIP 3: Get your shit together with bottle feeding; in other words, pretend you’re on Survivor. Whether you formula feed or pump, you will probably need to warm a bottle up on a road trip at some point. My little guy has severe food allergies so not only does he need to be on a hypoallergenic formula, but he has a reaction to corn maltodextrin (caking agent) in powdered formula. So, he has to eat the Ready-To-Feed that must be refrigerated after opening. You would be amazed at the amount of rest stop cafes that don’t have a fucking microwave. Even Starbucks let me down! Take note:

  • Panera Bread locations, in rest stops or free standing, always have a microwave for consumer use.
  • Amazon sells a portable bottle warmer that plugs into a cigarette lighter. Get it here.
  • My method: Ask for a cup of hot water half-full and let the poured bottle sit in it for a few minutes (this worked like a charm for me) to warm it up.

TIP 4: “Koala Kare” might as well be called “E. Coli Kare;” these changing stations are gross and it will make you cringe to put your kid on them. But…where else do you change a baby when you’ve stuffed your sedan with enough outfits and supplies to last six weeks on a dessert island? Pro-tips:

  • The Vera Bradley backpack style diaper bag expands into a pad to lay baby on and change him. Packing it up is SUPER easy, too. Get it here.
  • Amazon sells an disposable extra long changing pads that even I could probably lay on (I’m five feet lolol). Get them here.

TIP 5: Most importantly, choose an attitude of humorous adventure over pissed off inconvenience. It’s going to take practice, ok? I’m not going to tell you that I chuckled and sipped Merlot when I discovered my son peed through his only swaddler at 3 a.m. I knew he’d have trouble sleeping after that, so it sucked. But honestly – your attitude will make all the difference. The best way to develop a different attitude is just through practice. Kids are unpredictable – especially on the road. You got this, though! Resign yourself to be a confident mama and you will be fine.

XOXO,

Court

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