When Persephone “PJ” was nine weeks old we packed up the mini van and d rove 500 miles from San Diego to Sebastopol see my cousin get married. I had made this drive countless times in my life. I considered both NorCal & SoCal home in my early twenties and so when we RSVP’d to the wedding I was certain the journey would be something we could handle. Just to be safe we decided to split the journey into two days, and planned to take it slow. We booked a reasonably priced room in Carmel-by-the-Sea for the layover and proceeded pack everything we could think of in our van.
On the day of our departure, Ron packed up the car with luggage and I filled up the baby with milk. I settled into the back seat next to our angelic sleeping infant and Ron got us on the road. I think we were only an hour into our journey before we
experienced a full-blown diaper explosion. Laughing about how cliché the predicament was, we changed her diaper, broke into the stash of spare onesies, and got back on the road. About an hour later the tempered glass was rattling from her hungry cries and we were pulling off into the McDonald’s parking lot to nurse.
After a painfully long day full of stops and starts, the first leg of our journey was over and we had arrived at our hotel. Ron schlepped all our bags and baby gear up two flights of stairs as I changed Persephone, nursed her to sleep and placed her gently in the Pack & Play bassinet. Exhausted, we collapsed onto the hotel mattress and quickly fell asleep.
“Waaaaah-Waaaaah-Waaaaah-Waaaah…” We were jolted awake not by the cri
es of a hungry baby, but by the blood curdling wails of a smoke detector gone haywire! There was no fire, but there was a midnight visit from maintenance personnel. The moral of the story is that some things you can anticipate and plan for, others you cannot!
Nine Months have passed since PJ’s first big trip and since then she has logged about 5000 road trip miles and joined us on plane rides both domestic & international. We learn a little bit more with each trip, but packing we have down to a science. Here are our BABY MUST-HAVES FOR ROAD TRIP TRAVEL: Printable Packing List – Road Trip
- Onesies or Tops: 1/Day + 2 Extra
- some short sleeve & some long sleeve
- Pants: 1/Day + 1 Extra
- Zip-Up Hoodie or Jacket
- Hats : 1 -2
for sun protection/warmth or both
- Socks: 1/day + 2 Extra
- Shoes: 1
- Pajamas: 2
- Swimsuit: 1 (Don’t forget a Swim Diaper)
Diapers & Toiletries:
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- Diapers: 1-2 packages (You can pick up more on the road)
- Wipes: 1-2 packages (You can pick up more when you stop for diapers)
- Changing Pad
- Diaper Cream
- Infant Tylenol (While you can pick this up on the road, if you baby is sick you will be happy not to have to)
- Nosefrida (Again, better safe than sorry)
- Baby wash
- Towel & wash cloth (Or just use the hotel ones like we do)
- Diaper Bag (I ditched the traditional diaper bag a while back and for traveling I use a backpack which doubles as my purse & carry-on.)
- Bottles, nipples, & caps (2 sets)
- Bottle brush & dish soap
- Breast pump & charger
- Formula (Single serve packages are awesome for travel)
- Silicon Bib (We have this one: Summer Infant Bibbity)
- Silicon Placemat (We have these and love them: Neat Solutions Sili-Stick Table Topper)
- Food Pouches
- Spill Proof Snack Cup
- Sippy Cup (I cannot tell you how much I love this straw cup! It is the first sip cup that PJ has been able to use, and it is practically un-spillable! Munchkin Click Lock Weighted Flexi Straw Trainer Cup, Blue, 7 Ounce)
- Portable Crib
- Crib Sheet
- Stroller (If you are in the market for a stroller, seriously spend the extra money and buy a BOB Revolution, or seek one out used like we did. We used to have a Graco stroller, and it was awful! The BOB is worth EVERY PENNY!)
- Baby Carrier (I love my ERGObaby 360 Baby Carrier)
- Swaddle or Sleep Sack
- Monitor (If you and your baby will be in separate rooms)
- Pacifiers (I seriously bring like ten of these NUK Pacifiers on every trip. And yes, get the glow in the dark ones, you will be happy you did)
- Sound machine (We splurged and got the Sound Oasis because the sounds are less repetitive than some of the ones targeted for use in nurseries. Yes, you could just use a sound app on your phone, but then your phone is held hostage all night by a sleeping baby!)
- Door Jumper (This Evenflo ExerSaucer Door Jumper is an easily portable option to entertain and contain your baby while you are in a hotel room. I was actually able to fit this into my carry-on bag when we went to Mexico last year, and I was happy to forgo a couple of outfit changes to do so!)
- Lovey (your child’s special cuddly toy or blanket)
We are currently touring the Southwest USA… Stay tuned for updates from the road
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