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Are you wondering what baby road trip essentials you need for your next driving adventure? Embarking on a family road trip is an adventure in its own right, but add a baby into the mix, and suddenly, the journey takes on a whole new level of complexity.
If you’re planning for a road trip, the idea of an extended car journey with a baby in tow can evoke a mix of excitement and trepidation, even for seasoned travel enthusiasts.
Trust us, we’ve been there too!
Any travel with a baby comes with extra considerations, planning, extra diapers and yes, extra stuff—lots of it.
These baby road trip essentials will help you ensure your baby’s comfort and safety and have you ready for those poorly timed diaper changes that have a knack for happening between pit stops.
We have put together the ultimate baby road trip packing list to help you prepare when travelling with a baby.
Baby Road Trip Essentials: How To Prepare For A Long Car Ride With Your Baby
Preparing for a long car ride with your baby requires meticulous planning and consideration. Your best starting point is putting together a packing list of essential items for a road trip with an infant.
Preparing for a road trip also means planning your stops and having realistic expectations of how far you can travel each day.
Some of this will come down to how well your baby travels in the car normally.
If your baby isn’t a great car traveller, it might mean only being able to drive shorter distances each day compared to what you might have done before having kids or with older kids on a road trip.
With those considerations in mind, let’s get to the important bit – all the baby essentials for road trips.
Essential Baby Road Trip Packing List
Preparing a comprehensive baby road trip packing list ensures that you’re fully equipped to handle any situation that may arise during your long drives with your baby.
Here is the essential packing list for a road trip with a baby:
Diaper Changing Essentials
Diaper changes are inevitable during a road trip, and having a well-equipped diaper changing station on hand is essential.
Pack an ample supply of diapers, baby wipes, and a portable wipe dispenser for quick and hygienic diaper changes and clean-ups.
Don’t forget diaper rash cream to address any discomfort – A change in routine can often trigger such things.
A changing pad or mat provides a clean surface for diaper changes, and plastic bags are indispensable for containing soiled clothes and diapers, preventing odours from spreading until you can drop them into a public bin.
Keep these essential items in a diaper bag that is packed near your infant, so you can do a quick diaper change at rest stops or handle diaper leaks quickly!
Diapers (enough for the length of your trip) – This guide will help you plan how many diapers you need per day
Sippy cup – For older babies who have their own water cup
A well-rested baby is a happy traveller.
You also want to make sure your baby is able to sleep safely in the car seat or baby capsule when you are driving. This means ensuring you don’t leave anything with your baby that might put them at risk.
Additionally, sunshades or window covers can help darken the sleeping area and encourage naps.
Depending on the length of your road trip with a baby, you might also need to bring along items for their actual sleeping arrangements in your hotel room or if staying with friends or family, such as a portable cot.
Toys – Keep your baby entertained by adding a few baby travel toys to your packing list, such as the type that clips onto the car seat or stroller
Pacifier – If your baby uses a pacifier (or dummy as we say here in Australia), make sure you bring a spare in case it gets lost during one of your stops
Baby toiletries – Baby shampoo, baby bath and any other baby care items that you use regularly
Sealed bucket – If you are using reusable nappies for your baby, having a sealed bucket for your dirty diaper will help avoid stinking out the car until you can rinse them out at a hotel sink or washing machine. Extra large zip lock bags are a more compact alternative.
Play mat – For tummy time so your baby can have a comfortable place to play and roll when you reach your accommodation
Other Must-Haves For A Road Trip With A Baby
In addition to the essentials mentioned above, there are a few more items that can enhance your baby’s comfort and safety on the road.
First Aid Kit – A first aid kit for the whole family is always essential for any family road trip, with basic items like band-aids and sting cream, but also tailored to your baby’s needs too.
Ziplock bags – You never know when you might need these for putting half-chewed baby rusks or a pacifier that got dropped in the dirt and needs sanitising.
Passport – If you are driving across borders, make sure you have the proper identification documents for your baby.
Tips For Car Travel With A Baby
Make your road trip with a baby much smoother with a few tips that will help save your own sanity and keep everyone more comfortable when driving long distances:
When taking a long car journey with a young baby (or with kids of any age), incorporating frequent stops into your travel plan is a must.
Babies have their own schedule of feeding, diaper changes, and stretches, and these breaks allow you to attend to their needs comfortably.
Use rest areas, gas stations, or designated pit stops to ensure your baby is well-fed, changed, and given the chance to move around.
Keep Frequent Use Items Within Reach
Efficiency is key when travelling with a baby.
Pack a travel diaper bag, with essentials like diapers, wipes, snacks, and toys within easy reach. This way, you can access what you need without having to open the back boot and sift through all your luggage each time you need something.
Keeping these items within arm’s reach minimises disruption and helps you attend to your baby’s needs promptly.
Utilise seat-back organisers or designated compartments in the front seat to stay organised and avoid unnecessary stops.
Time Driving With Naps
Strategically planning your travel schedule around your baby’s nap times can make a significant difference in your journey. When your little one is napping, you can cover more ground with minimal interruptions.
Take advantage of your baby’s natural sleep patterns to log in some driving time.
Car Travel Safety
Prioritising your baby’s safety during car travel is non-negotiable.
Ensure your baby’s car seat is properly installed and adjusted according to their age and height. Use rear-facing car seats for infants and follow manufacturer guidelines.
Double-check the seat’s secure installation at the beginning of your journey and at every stop.
Keep sharp objects and potential choking hazards out of your baby’s reach, and ensure that all car windows and doors are childproofed.
While meticulous planning is essential, it’s equally important to embrace flexibility when travelling with a baby. Unexpected situations can arise, from traffic delays to unscheduled stops.
Maintain a positive attitude and be prepared to adapt your plans as needed. Babies can be unpredictable, and having a flexible mindset helps you navigate challenges with less stress.
Remember, the journey is as much about the experience as the destination, and a bit of flexibility can turn unforeseen situations into memorable moments.
Road Trip Accommodation
Unless you are towing your own van or camper trailer for your road-tripping accommodation, you’re going to need hotels.
One way to reduce the amount of stuff you need to pack is to choose family-friendly hotels that include some of those essentials.
This includes places that have cots available and larger rooms to accommodate a family.
Keeping It Stress-Free
While it’s important to have a plan in place, remember that road trips with babies might not always go exactly as planned.
Allow room for spontaneity and unexpected detours.
It’s natural for babies to experience fussiness or restlessness during the journey since being confined to a car seat for hours on end is very different from sleeping in their bed or being held.
While you hope your baby sleeps for much of the journey, it won’t always go that way!
Conclusion: Road Trip With An Infant
Taking a road trip with a baby can feel daunting, especially if your baby is not a great car traveller at the best of times. Making sure you’ve packed the baby road trip essentials for your trip will help make your experience go much smoother and hopefully result in an exciting and memorable trip for the whole family. For more baby travel tips, check out our road trips with kids guide.