Here are a few tips for travel that we picked up along the way:
– Consider that baby will be completely restrained in that seat. For hours. We left a little later in the morning on the first day of travel and it seemed to help Lu get some energy out before the long hours in the car. We literally drove 10 and a half hours that day without a meltdown! Ooh and I cannot discount the necessity sometimes for a rest area and a blanket on the ground so Lu can get her scoot on.
– Riding in a car is boring, especially when you’re facing backwards and can’t even get a good view out the window. For the car, I brought some novel toys and some novel non-toys for Lucy to inspect and examine. I am discovering that the most interesting “toys” are often just everyday objects. For example, Lucy spent over an hour examining a towel that had a neat pattern on it. She also spent a good deal of time with a piece of a nylon strap (??), a camera case, and a carabiner. What a little explorer.
– Respect routine. We tried to maintain somewhat of a schedule, even in the car. During playtime, I gave Lu her toys. When it was time to nap, I took the toys and gave her her pacifier and a stuffed animal, and covered her with a blanket. At bedtime we stopped at a gas station and put her in her jammies. Then we did the whole bedtime routine (minus the bath) in the backseat of the car. Sweet girl went right to sleep and stayed out until we got to the hotel late! Once again, Whit went in and got everything set up while I waited in the car with our sleeping babe. When we did the transfer, she went right back down into her Pack n Play. Go, girl!
– Protecting baby’s unblemished skin (especially when your baby is practically transparent) is very necessary. At the beach, keeping girl in the shade was obviously a top priority. My dad bought an awesome beach tent that was big enough for 3 people plus a baby to sit in the shade. Some of the gear that came in handy was a baby beach chair that Lu could be strapped into, so she could watch the waves and NOT eat the sand! I also got a great floaty thing for the pool that she sat in, and it had a canopy on top (more shade!). We have also been using Badger sunscreen. It’s all natural so no worries about toxins on baby’s skin. And we haven’t had a sunburn yet!
– Don’t plan too much for each day. Babies need more rest when they are in a new place with lots of new stimulation. Planning one outing a day is plenty. Happy baby = happy mommy and daddy!
– Accept that family want to hang out with your kid. Having help ROCKS. Whit and I were able to go out every night after Lu went to bed, even just to walk on the beach. And I really enjoyed going to swim laps or go shopping in the middle of the day, and have family who look forward to having that quality time with their granddaughter and niece. Having that time to myself and with my hubby is invaluable, and makes us better parents. Yay, family!
And then, with all of the things that went right, the first day of the ride home was pretty terrible. We did all the same things we did on the ride to the beach, and Lu just wasn’t feeling it. Girl could not be pleased. By the time we hit Asheville (with 5 more hours to go!), I told Whit we simply had to get a hotel. Lucy had completely worn herself out from all the fussing, and worn me out from all the comforting I was trying to do! We were all happier for it the next day, and stopping in Asheville meant we got to see Whit’s sis and Lucy’s awesome aunt Caitie! It turned out to be a great night.
Overall, I’m proud of my girl for making such a long car trip and really being a trooper! In August we are getting her on a plane…stay tuned!