Some adults dread road trips (me). Some love them (crazy people). Add a baby and a pandemic to the mix and man, it can be stressful to plan!
In September we took a 10 hour road trip to Tennessee to spend some time with family. It was the most amazing little get away, since we hadn't "gotten away" all of 2020 basically. But as I began to pack I found myself adding one more bag, emptying one more drawer of Jaylen's dresser, throwing one more thing into the car. Before we even left (I packed about two days in advance) the car was a wreck. If you know me, I don't handle chaos and messes well. So I had to find a system that would end the chaos and the mess.
Here are our top 5 travel tips to end the chaos and mess.
Create a changing station.
Gas station bathrooms are disgusting, we can all agree to that. Add a pandemic, and there was no way I was taking my little one into the bathrooms to change him. In between the passenger seats I used a basket to create a changing station. Diapers, wipes, butt paste, extra clothes (including extra layers since we were driving north an weather was changing), and blankets to change on. This way, when we arrived to the gas station, I could put down the seat, throw a blanket on top of it, give him some time to stretch, and change his diaper! I didn't have to dig for the right bag and try to find the right items I needed! It was all right there!
A feeding station on the go. Similar to the changing station, but with formula and water. Being on the road means you have little control over traffic, so you might think you can make it to a stop to feed at a certain and then never actually make it there due to a crash. Although it is not at all ideal (and probably a pediatricians nightmare) there were times we had to at least give him a "taste" of a bottle. In between the seats we had a second basket that had formula already measured out, bottles, a corkcicle filled with water, burp cloths, and bibs. Again, convenient so there were no panicky moments of digging through things to find what I needed.
Overnight diapers and butt paste, butt paste, butt paste. I didn't truly believe these made a difference. I thought it was a marketing scheme. But now, I'm a believer. We didn't use them because we were going to drive and drive and drive and never stop, we used them to protect the car seat from any leakage. Worth every penny. We also kept him pretty well lathered in butt paste because of the position he was in for so long, and the sitting in wetness for longer than normal.
Throw your schedule out the window. If you are a road tripper like my husband, he has every bathroom stop, food stop, gas stop, etc all planned out. When you have a little, yeah, it doesn't work like that. If you are a road tripper like me, you know that ETA is the only thing providing you with hope that you will be out of the car soon. With a little one, yeah, ETA doesn't really exist. Just go with the flow.
Stop. Take the pictures. Enjoy the ride. And more importantly, make the memories.