Updated: Oct 5, 2020
We went on our first road trip when Roman was just 2 months old, we had a little family break with friends booked who also had a young baby to the Lake District for a week and we were super excited. I found the most daunting part of it the was the thought of getting through the car journey, It takes just over 5 hours on a straight drive from our home in Suffolk to Windermere where we were staying. With such a young baby the way you travel is compromised by multiple stops and needing to be as prepared as you have ever been to avoid being caught out on the hard shoulder whilst frantically searching your boot.
We have put together our foolproof beginners guide to car journeys with a baby with everything we found helpful and our essentials.
Before leaving take a little bit of time to get the car ready for your trip. We were fortunately travelling together so we arranged that whilst one person drove the other sat in the back with Roman. If you are travelling alone with your little one, you’ll need to plan for more frequent stops along the way.
You will need to factor in the planned stops to allow your baby to stretch outside of the car seat, please check your car seats recommended time that a baby should spend in it at one time before needing a break, then check out some services on route at around those times. You will also expect the unplanned surprises; nappy explosions and inconsolable crying are two things highly likely (we had both) so our ETA was slightly later than expected.
I prepared a bag a little like carry on luggage, include everything you will need for the journey; bottles, formula, spare clothes and nappy changes. Keep it organised so that every time you stop you can just grab the bag and you are off. I also kept an empty bag that I chucked all the rubbish and dirty bits into.
Think up some activities to do with you baby along the way, before leaving I brought a great car seat toy with flashing lights, mirrors and little tunes which came in very handy he played with this loads, you can also make a little bag of their favourite toys to pull out along route and one of the best activities for long car rides is book reading
Dependant on your babies age (Roman was too young) bring along an assortment of snacks and drinks and remember to bring food for yourself too. You may have planned to stop for meals but if your baby is content and asleep you may wish to go a little longer (within reason of needing to get them out of the seat)
Our essentials list for the drive
Formula (ready made or hot water)
Clean bottles - enough for the trip (you can wash up on arrival so take a few)
Plenty of toys
A rear-view baby mirror
Well-stocked nappy bag
Baby’s blankets if colder weather
Window shades (sun screens)
Change of clothes for your baby
Baby food, snacks, and drinks for your baby (if weaning or older)
Snacks and drinks for the adults
Empty plastic bags for any rubbish or dirties
Phones and Chargers