Monday, March 18, 2013

Traveling with miniature humans

In my experiences, traveling with a baby can have one of two outcomes: 1.  A fine, relaxed trip where everyone is happy or 2. Torture.  Seeing as I have quite the extensive data set, I feel confident that my results can be considered statistically significant and translatable in most instances.  I have found that proper planning can go a long way in making the travel part go smoothly.  It can be broken down into two parts: the getting there (and back) and the being there parts of the trip.

Getting there:
1. DRIVE WHEN BABY IS SLEEPING!!!  Goodness, if you can manage this one, you have just solved 98% of your potential problems.  If it's a short trip, drive during a nap.  Longer trips, drive overnight if at all possible.  An added bonus to driving overnight is lack of traffic and significantly less stupid drivers on the road.  You can set cruise control, pop in music (ooooor listen to netflix through your phone if you're like me), and just go.  If you have a light sleeper, you may need headphones rather than car speakers.

You 'spect me to sleep?  You crazy.

2.  Plan pit stops around feedings/changings.  If you're doing the night driving thing, there are 24-hour gas stations that you can both get gas and an adult pee/caffeine break in.  Day driving carries less of a problem in that regard.  However, if you can wait until your little one needs out before you stop, it generally works better.  And they'll sleep longer.  For Sophia, she needs wiggle time before she'll consent to going back in jail her carseat during day trips, so for our long trips, we plan Sophia feeding time/adult feeding time/gassing/changing/wiggle time to occur all at the same stop and to take about an hour.

3.  Have "car only" toys.  Sophia has a selection of toys that she can only play with in the car, or on rare occasions, at the destination.  That way she doesn't get tired of them, and they maintain their "newness" for longer.

World's coolest baby toy: "real" keys.  As in, they're metal.  And jingle!

Being there:
1.  Do not pack diapers.  Why?  They take up valuable room and will be thrown away once used, so just stock up your diaper bag and buy the appropriate number of diapers when you get to your destination.  (assuming 10/day is a safe bet, and will leave you with extra).  You can do the same with wipes, but a box of wipes takes up far less room than a box of diapers.

2.  Pack an outfit a day, plus spares, depending on the efficiency of your baby'  For a 5 day trip, we packed 6 complete outfits, plus two extra undershirts, an extra shirt, and extra pants.  Figure, also, for longer trips you can probably use the washing facilities of your destination, especially if that destination is family/friends.  And if your friends don't let you use the washing facilities, just leave some dirty diapers under their bed.  :o)

3.  Pack a selection of toys/books, not the entire toy chest.  Pick a favorite or two, and leave the rest at home.  You are going on your trip to visit people (more than likely), and spend time with them.  Besides, most babies like the box better than the toy.  ie, a water bottle may be more fun than the toys you brought.

4.  Don't forget to bring something for baby to sleep in (ie, pack'n'play), if necessary.  Along the same lines, bring a variety of may be cooler or warmer than you're used to, and you may or may not have control over it.

Super sleep!

5.  Travel sized things are the best!  Travel size soap, lotion, etc.

That being said: your kiddo's bag should be smaller than yours.  Or better yet, fit in yours.  Packing/traveling is not stressful as long as you plan it out.  And, if you forget to pack any socks, you won't be the first person to have done so.  Luckily, the local walmart/target/whatever will have some for you to get.

Yup, looks good!

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