We recently ventured to Louisville, Kentucky to visit Billy’s parents and extended family, and decided to drive the entire way there with a three month old. Here are some things we learned throughout the process:
•Pack as light as humanly possible – if you’re traveling somewhere with a Target or Walmart nearby, pack the things you can’t live without (baby, husband, toothbrush, underwear etc…) and if your budget allows, buy things that are disposable there i.e. Diapers, wipes, formula, water for bottles, baby snacks (with the exception of filling your diaper bag with enough essentials to get you through the drive/flight.)
•Locate the closest pediatrician (or hospital) and know how to get there – this may seem extreme, but Billy and I both got sick during this trip and we all know a baby with a temp can be fatal. Prepare for the worst, as daunting as that sounds.
•Let family know one advance your rules for baby holding so they can adequately prepare – nothing sucks more than having to tell close family “here’s the baby you’ve been dying to see – but you can’t hold her because you don’t have your flu shot.” If baby has a nap time, or bedtime, let people know. This also allows you to stick to routine as much as possible, people can plan around baby! Baby doesn’t plan around people, because at the end of the day (and the middle of the night) you’ll be the one up with the overstimulated screaming infant.
•Schedule some time for just you and baby – if visiting family, you’re going to be passing around baby like a hot potato. I found myself on the edge of my seat at times dying to snatch her back, trying to remind myself “chill, they don’t get to see her as much as you do.”
•If traveling abroad, check with your pediatrician before even considering booking anything – nothing would suck more than getting excited to take your little one to your homeland of Far Far Away, but having to cancel because some disease named after a beer decided to rear its ugly head last minute and sh** all over your plans.
•STICK TO THE DAMN SCHEDULE – I said it before and I’ll say it ten more times. It takes like seven days to create a routine and just as much time to break it. The only thing worse than traveling with a crabby snot monster, is returning home with one. We pat ourselves on the back when we achieve the tiniest things in parenthood (OMG SHE’S FINALLY ASLEEP AND SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT) the last thing you want to do is ruin all your hard work because Aunt Kissyouonthecheek just had to squeeze that little nugget after bedtime. (Keep in mind we stayed in the same time zone – maybe don’t go to Australia if you’re like, in the US when you’re baby is real small.)
•Relax – this is a vacation. Accept the help if it’s available. Take time for you! Go on a date night and let Grandma babysit. Have a cocktail in the middle of the day (one or two, this is a blog post about traveling with a baby – not spring break 2020.)
•The best thing we were ever gifted was a Pack and Play – if you don’t have one, go buy one right now. It’s a glorified Bassinet/Crib/Baby Jail. If you’re a single mama/dad traveling alone I highly suggest getting one of these. It’ll keep your goblin enclosed if you just need a second, and it breaks down/puts together in seconds.
•Prepare all bottles/feeding equipment prior to leaving and have a schedule for stopping to feed/nurse – if you’re formula feeding, prep all bottles beforehand (and bring a bottle brush – we had to stop in Appalachia to buy dish soap from the only gas station around…the guy behind the counter was a hardcore mouth breather… it was a lot.)
•Book your hotels way in advance – we made the mistake of booking our hotel for the drive back (we stopped half way) last minute and paid a fortune. Also, some hotels overbook and having to rearrange plans with a car full of baby crap and a baby on your arm would be a nightmare (luckily we got the second to last room.)
Despite traveling with Jo for the first time being stressful, it was such a joy to see the look on family members faces upon meeting her. She got to see where her daddy grew up, got to meet two great grandparents, and we surprised Billy’s mom (she didn’t know we were coming) for her birthday. It was a beautiful trip, sickness and all, and I can’t wait to go back. Until next time, Louisville.