I think we've done a pretty good job of it so far. At just shy of 9 months, this little boy has flown on an airplane 6 times, and has traveled through 12 states on roadtrips. He's explored St. Augustine, New Orleans, Boston and Annapolis with us. We still have plans to camp with him (once he's sleeping a little better!) and just bought a baby carrier for some backpacking trips.
Below are a few things we've learned about road-tripping with Si. (I plan on sharing a flying post later on.) If you're new to this parenting thing (like us!), be encouraged that your adventures and travel doesn't have to be put on the back burner!
Bring the kitchen sink (and don't stress about packing!)
The nice thing about car trips is that you can pack whatever the heck you want. Our days of packing light are long gone anyway, so I've embraced the fact that road trips mean loading up the trunk with everything we may want or need. Usually when we discuss whether or not to bring something, the conclusion is 'eh, why not?' Some of the 'extras' we bring along are 'new' toys (random things around the house that he can play with, or toys from a consignment shop) for Si to keep him entertained in the backseat, a few old towels for cleaning up messes, plenty of extra outfit changes for all of us, and the Ergo, stroller and pack'n'play.
And the good news is, that even if you forget something (like socks for your baby in Boston springtime! *ahem!*), you can most likely find a WalMart or Target that can help you out.
Pack some "carry-ons"
Instead of lugging our huge suitcases into our overnight stops along the way, we started packing backpacks with essentials for overnight stays. That way, when we stopped driving and finally got to hunker down for the night, Chris didn't have to make 20 trips to the car hauling in our stuff. When we got to our final destination, we could bring everything in, but until then, the car stayed nicely packed in Chris' Tetris-like configuration.
This also helps us to get up and out the door earlier after a night in the hotel. It's kind of difficult to get moving when clothes, diapers and toiletries are exploded over every inch of the hotel room!
Tune in to the static
This is a trick we started using when Si was teeny-tiny. White noise usually does a great job of calming him down when he's fussy (especially in the early days). Instead of downloading a white noise app, or lugging our white noise machine along, we just find a radio station with static and turn up the volume. It takes about 30 seconds for Si to chill.
Of course, sometimes this doesn't work. Sometimes the baby is screaming as you drive through rush hour Atlanta traffic, and you find yourself bawling and trying to change lanes through blurry tear-filled eyes, while your husband says, "You have to focus!". Not like I'd know anything about that...
Go with the flow
I think this probably applies for every 'new parent' situation. Crazy things happen, you'll most likely be unprepared at some point, and plans may get derailed. But I've found that adopting a relaxed attitude about the trip makes things go much smoother. I'm the kind of girl who gets flustered when plans change and expectations aren't met, but I'm slowly learning to be more flexible and have fun no matter what happens.
Got any roadtrip tips? Are you a 'bring the kitchen sink'-er or a light packer?