Why you should Road Trip with your Baby

Have you considered a road trip with your baby? Due to the flexibility and large luggage allowance, it’s perhaps one of the easiest forms of travel for that first family holiday.  Just load up your car, grab a map and drive!

When Arthur was just 5 months old we spent some time road-tripping around Scotland. We drove whilst he napped, discovered the most beautiful beaches, hiked through stunning mountain scenery, spent our evenings planning the days ahead and, would you believe it, Arthur actually slept better at night!

Scotland6.jpg

Road-tripping with babies and toddlers requires a fair bit of planning and organising. But it allows you the flexibility to travel on a schedule that suits your family and spontaneity to visit a destination when and where you want. It’s a fantastic form of travel for very young families, and here’s why:

Babies and toddlers nap

Nap time is your driving time between destinations. Most babies and toddlers fall asleep easily in the car. Something about the vibrations and sound. They love it! And it means no nap time battles for the parents. Just ensure they’ve had some grub before you set off. Up to the age of 15months, many babies and toddlers nap twice per day which means you can do a 1.5 hour drive in the morning, stop for lunch, wander and play, then do another 1.5 hours in the afternoon to your destination that night. Of course all babies are different. But the important message is that you fit to their routine and plan your route in advance. Don’t try and do longer than their standard nap times. This only results in a grouchy bub and stressed parents

If you are considering new car seat for your little one and envisage doing lots more travel with them, check out this great post from The Family Voyage

They sleep better at night 

Honest! We actually found that as Arthur was napping better during the day due to being in the car, he slept better at night! Meaning us parents felt much more refreshed than usual. As those sleep experts tell us, good sleep breeds good sleep.

Time out 

Watch the scenery drift past, let your mind wander in peace, listen to your favourite music and catch up with your partner, all whilst your baby naps in the car. Plus, if they’re in a deep sleep, you can stop the car (but leave the radio and engine running), step out and admire the view.

DSC01196.JPG

Explore places you wouldn’t normally see 

You’re led your baby’s routine. It may be the case that it’s too far to get to your desired destination in one day. So you look on the map and see a little village just a little closer and decide to stay there. It’s often these lesser-known locations that become the highlight of your trip.

You have the car to store all their stuff 

For little people, babies come with a crazy amount of stuff; buggy, travel cot, sleep aids, sleeping bag, three (or more!) changes of clothes per day, black out blind, snacks if weaning, nappies, wipes, toys… the list seems endless. The thought of being able to throw everything the baby may need in a car is comforting for new parents. We suggest storing baby’s things in plastic shelves (see photo below), so it’s easier to search for items and handy for unpacking and packing the car at each destination. Good packing of the car is key to making life easier. Last thing you want to do is rummage under mounds of clothes and nappies, just to find their night light.

roadtripping
Space in the car for a cool box 

Stock up on milk, drinks and food at the supermarket to store in your cool box. You can then enjoy a nibble whenever you fancy. Stumble across a stunning view point? Well there’s your lunch stop. Plus, it helps you save those pennies to spend on fuel and accommodation.

Free activities

Because you’re moving from place to place, it is likely that you will want to wander around and explore on foot each destination. This is free! If you stay longer in one place, you often resort to paid activities to fill the time. Very young children don’t require too much entertainment, and certainly don’t need paid entertainment. They’re more than happy crawling through some grass, feeling the sensation of sand between their toes on a beach, or watching and waving at passers-by.

scotland5

No flights 

No flight costs, no enforced flight schedules, no squeezing as much as humanly possible into your carry on and no stresses of keeping bub peaceful at 30,000ft. No parent enjoys flying and a road trip means you don’t experience these hassles.

dsc00765

 

So get a map, and work out how many hours of driving you are prepared to do per day (considering naps) and how many days driving you wish to do. Work out a route from your front door, allowing a couple of days for contingency, pack the car with military organisation and drive. Remember to stay flexible to baby’s needs (those naps aren’t always predictable) and don’t push the distances too much. This is a road trip you will talk about for years to come.

If you have older kids and are looking for ways to keep the road trip stress free, check out this post from Have Kids, Will Travel who have some great travel tips.

And… apologies if you have one of those babies who hates the car – I feel for you! In fact my nephew is one! A road trip is probably not the best idea for your family holiday. Time to check flights?

dsc00576


We wouldn’t be anywhere without our trusted Lonely Planet. The Scotland edition was invaluable for this road trip. Visit Scotland is also a fantastic source of information.

ScotlandLP

You may also like to read:
Why we swear by Essaouira
Maximising annual leave
Books for young explorers

Wanderlust Kids

Previous

Gift ideas for kids who love to travel

Next

Chanthaburi with kids – the perfect pit-stop

13 Comments

  1. We did a road trip around Botswana and Namibia when our little one was 9 months old. The best entertainment in the car was a laminated piece of paper (it had instructions for the car on it.) We took a variety of toys for him to play with, but this was his favourite!

    • Brilliant! I bet that was incredible! We’ve road tripped there pre-kids. Would love to take the boys. Funny how it’s always the the non-toys that are the best toys 😀

  2. Pam Goward

    Lovely photos. Would love to do a road trip in Scotland, but having difficulty in convincing the other half. Don’t suppose you’ve got any tips for that. 😉

  3. We did the garden route with my little one when he was just over 2 and loved it, two full days of driving which he surprisingly handled pretty well and with minimal screen time 🙂 Road tripping is great #wanderlustkids

    • That’s fantastic! I imagine the Garden Route would be fab for kids. We travelled it when I was first pregnant and found some amazing campsites. Would love to take the boys back!

  4. Amy

    I love the idea of going on a little road trip and finding hidden gems. My husband is a satnav kinda person but I’m more let’s see where we end up. Hopefully I can convince him!

  5. I love road trips with my toddler for many of the reasons you mention! It is so much more flexible than being held to train / ferry / flight times. #wanderlustkids

  6. These are brilliant hints and tips. Naps are a godsend at that age and I love your idea of a ready-made picnic with the cool box! #wanderlustkids

  7. Many parents would stop enjoying road travel when they have a toddler to care. This blog would help toddler parents to enjoy their life traveling while taking care of their babies. Good explanation on babies and toddler naps.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

%d bloggers like this: