Going on a 1.5-month road trip with your baby in a van may seem impossible, but it’s not!
Most people will tell you you’re crazy for going on a road trip with your baby, or at least that was my case. For us, it was 7 weeks on the road, with a 3 month-old baby and 2 dogs. We drove from Montreal to British Columbia, Colorado, Wisconsin, Idaho and back. At the end of the day, your happiness will depend on many little things.
Here’s what I have learned will make these trips more enjoyable.
- Your chillness level. I am not someone that stresses or worries. I’ve always thought, “let’s get in the van, if after a while it doesn’t work then honey, drop me off at an airport and the baby and I will go home!”
- If you’re feeling good with your new parent role and you have a healthy and happy baby, why not?
- Don’t plan too much. Some days you’ll be able to make it to where you wanted to be for the night. Other days you’ll get nowhere and will mostly hang out in the van.
- Trust me – most days will be fun but there will be some terrible ones. Baby will be unhappy, stress will run high, mom and dad will get angry at each other. It will happen regardless of whether you’re on the road or at home.
With all those set and with your mind in the right place, you’ll be perfectly fine!
Now the most important thing is DON’T PACK TOO MUCH. I realized on the trip that babies don’t need much and the best thing you can do is to find things that will serve multiple purposes.
Here’s a shortlist of the things that were the most useful to our family on the road.
#1 – Sleep Sack
I am a huge fan of the sleep sack. I had two on the trip, one heavy one for colder nights and one organic cotton (super light) one for warmer nights. Mix in the perfect jammies or just a diaper and you have the winning scenario for sleeping on the road. First, your baby can’t move and they can’t uncover themselves. Second, they take no space in comparison to blankets. Done!
#2 – Baby Carrier or Stroller? In our case, it was kind of both.
Depending on the age of your infant a baby carrier or hiking pack baby carrier is a must to go explore the outdoors. It gives you the flexibility to access terrain that wouldn’t be suitable for a stroller and nothing is better than discovering hidden areas.
If your baby LOVES the carrier then maybe you don’t need anything else. This is not our case, as our son hates the carrier for the most part. Usually, it’s a nightmare to put him in it.
Stroller? For us, it’s a no. A stroller takes too much space and doesn’t serve enough purpose. BUT we couldn’t live without our Thule Chariot. Mostly because we bike A LOT and it gives us the ability to tow baby, who loves to nap in it. It also converts as a running stroller which is great to keep both parents in shape. Finally, it has stroller style wheels so if you want to visit a town or go out for dinner at a restaurant it is perfect for carrying the baby around and letting him fall asleep whenever he wants.
#3 – Bath Time!
One important thing in a baby’s or toddler’s life is bath time. It is a great bedtime routine and is very relaxing for them. In our case, our son was so little that he still fit in our van sink (WIN!) The other great trick we found was a Dollar Store inflatable pool. They are super small, take up no space since they deflate, and can be a lifesaver if you need to do some quick laundry by hand!
#4 – Speaking of Laundry
Laundry is definitely one annoying task with a baby. Babies tend to get messy and, obviously, you don’t bring a TON of extra pajamas, bibs, etc. on a van trip. So you pretty much need to do laundry every other day (if not every day, let’s be real). Get yourself a nice biodegradable laundry soap and use that little inflatable pool we talked about item. OR another good way to do laundry is to use a waterproof bag. Throw the clothes in with soap, a bit of water and start shaking! Boom – done!
There are also a ton of laundromats around but let’s be real, you won’t feel like finding one and sitting there every other day!
#5 – Where is the baby going to hang out?
In our case, we had a 3 month-old baby. That means that he wasn’t sitting, crawling or walking yet. It was almost a good thing because it was one less thing to worry about. We put him somewhere and he stays there. My life savor was the babybjorn bouncer, thanks to my friend Sarah who let me borrow hers for the trip. It is pricey, but I am starting to see more secondhand ones on the interweb. The good thing about this specific one is that it folds completely flat, so a win when it comes to space. The ergonomy of it also worked like magic on our son. He loves to bounce, sleep and chill in there.
I truly hope that these little tricks will help you during your next road trip with your baby. If you ever have questions or want to chat about kids’ travels, hit us up @the_camper_kids !
I would like to say that no products in this article are the result of sponsorship. These are the products I use and love. I hope that you find brands or products that will perfectly suit your family’s needs.