Taking a Road Trip with a Baby

by Katie on August 7, 2012

in Audrey

Good morning friends!  How was the weekend?  Ours started out at the park- someone was a happy camper on the swings!

Dude, I love the iPhone.  The camera on it has no delay so it is quick enough to capture all of her cute expressions :)

This weekend also brought quite the adventure- a road trip!  Audrey is no stranger to long car rides- when she was six months old Brian, Audrey, Bailey and I drove from Charleston to Upstate New York (with a stop in Virginia along the way).   One week and two thousand miles later, I felt like we were seasoned road trippers!  Audrey slept a lot of the way and it a great trip.

The road trip this past weekend was a bit different- shorter (600 miles and ten hours total in the car) AND it was just me and Audrey.  No Brian.  No distraction in the backseat!

Road trip ready.

Audrey and I headed to Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday morning for a whirlwind overnight trip- one of my best friends (and Audrey’s godmother), Nicole was in town for a conference. I haven’t seen Nicole in almost a year and she hadn’t met Audrey yet so we needed to make the trip!  The hotel we were staying at didn’t accept pets and Bailey seems to be too fragile to leave behind with anyone (most of my friends have big dogs) so Brian stayed home with Bails.

I’ll be honest, I was a little nervous to drive ten hours alone in the car with Audrey.  Long car rides are bad enough for adults- what about very curious, mobile babies that just want to play?!  Here are some of the things I did to make the trip go as smoothly as possible:

  • Pack lots of snacks (for you and for baby).  Now that Audrey is almost a year old, she doesn’t need to eat as often as she did when she was a smaller baby.  That being so, I was hoping to keep the number of stops on the five hour trip to one- a quick feeding session, diaper change and tank fill up and we would hopefully be on our way again!  I snacked on trail mix, almonds and cheerios (although the cheerios were meant for Audrey, heh).  I purchased a snack catcher for Audrey to play with on the trip- I filled it with a few puffs since they dissolve easily.  She just liked to pull at the top and it kept her occupied for a bit!   The snacks come in handy once you get to your destination- I scattered cheerios and puffs on a blanket on the floor and Audrey loved scooting around to snack.

  • Pack light.  It might seem impossible with a baby (they require so.much.stuff) but it is helpful to have to carry as little as possible with a little wriggly munchkin in tow.  We were only gone for one night so I was able to keep packing to a minimum:

On the left are Audrey’s essentials and in the suitcase I have Audrey’s items on the left (pack n play sheet, burp cloth, two pairs of pajamas, socks, a few outfits) and my clothes on the right (I only packed boat shoes and wore flip flops so it was easier to pack light!).  In addition to those two bags I had the pack n play and stroller.  The trunk was almost full, and I packed light!

A closer look at Audrey’s essentials-

At the top of the photo are all of her toys, then her snacks, bibs, diapers (I didn’t want to cloth diaper in the hotel so disposables for the weekend), wipes, teething tablets, tylenol (for teething pain), daily vitamin, brush, thermometer (just in case) and books!

I put the essential bag within arm’s reach during the trip- this was clutch.  As soon as she got bored/fussy I just tossed a toy back in her general direction and that kept her occupied for another five minutes.  :D

  • Use the stroller during rest stops!  Now that Audrey is in her big girl car seat, I carry her (instead of the heavy carrier) everywhere with me).  That makes it difficult if, say, I need to use the bathroom when we are out and about.  Using the stroller, I just wheeled her into the largest bathroom stall with the changing table in it- this way I could change her diaper and use the facilities myself.

  • Brush up on your children’s songs.  If the toys weren’t occupying Audrey, all I had to do was sing a song and she would be happy (apparently she doesn’t have high vocal standards).  My current repertoire includes the itsy bitsy spider, the wheels on the bus, the ABC song, hush little baby, row your boat and an Audrey song that I made up.  Let me tell you, these songs get old after awhile!  I need to learn some more songs!

View from our hotel room.

  • Use white noise.  I was nervous that Audrey wouldn’t sleep well in the hotel room- she doesn’t have the best track record with the pack ‘n play!  I tried to stick to our normal routine (bath, books, nurse) and added in white noise using an app on my iPhone.  She fell asleep instantly and stuck to her usual schedule- nurse at four and up at six.  I was expecting a lot worse, so I was stoked!!
  • Relax!  I brought lots of toys to keep Audrey occupied, forgetting that most often it is the simple things that babies love.   Don’t get me wrong- the toys were clutch in the car.  Once we got to the hotel suite, there was so much for her to explore that she barely looked at her toys.


Luggage tag?  Okay!

Lots of cool stuff to look at out the window!

I was a little nervous before we left on Saturday morning- I was driving 600 miles with Audrey all by myself!  Now that it has come and gone, I’m so happy that we did it.  I got to catch up with a bestie, Audrey got to meet her godmother, and I’m more confident in my abilities as a parent :)  A good trip indeed!

What are your roadtrip essentials?  Pre-baby I was all about food, coffee and books on cd.  I love books on cd!  Have a good one, friends!


{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Melissa G August 7, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Road trippin’ with Audrey looks like fun! Glad you made it there & back safely. 600 miles is a looooong trip.

You got an iPhone! Congrats! I will now iMessage you.

Miss ya much!


2 Katie August 7, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Thanks girl- miss you!


3 Lee August 7, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Sorry we didn’t have time to meet up! Glad you had a nice trip though. What did you end up doing in ATL?


4 Katie August 7, 2012 at 2:43 pm

I know- next time for sure! We ended up just going out to eat and then ordering pizza. We walked downtown for a bit but the area was a little shady. I was surprised since there were really nice hotels around! Is buckhead the nice area?


5 Nicole August 7, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Yay! I’m so glad that you were able to come visit, and that the trip went so smoothly. Audrey was SO good all weekend – can’t wait until our next visit! :)


6 Katie August 7, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Ha, she was.. Aside from the diva diaper changes :)


7 Anna @ On Anna's Plate August 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Yay! Glad the trip went so well– road trips with a baby are always a little scary!! :-)


8 The Linz August 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I’m so happy to hear that your trip went so well. I would be nervous to do that drive too, but sounds like you had fabulous company! P.S I totally wish I would have known you were in ATL — so close to me! :( Oh well, someday we shall meet Katie!!


9 Katie August 7, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Aw! We were there for less than 24 hours so it was a quick trip! But yes, we need to meet!!!!


10 Kelly @ Runmarun August 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Wow! You are amazing for being brave enough to undertake a ten hour road trip without help. I don’t know if I could drive ten hours with just myself to worry about. Thank you for all of the tips- they will be really helpful if I ever decide to take Lula somewhere without my husband.

That is great that she slept so well! Lula doesn’t do well sleeping in the pack and play either and I am really hopeful that changes when we take our next trip.

I am still surprised at how much it takes to prepare to go somewhere overnight with a little one. I am often getting ready for an entire day beforehand!

I love that little butterfly romper Audrey has on- is that from Target? I think I’ve seen it before and almost got it 3 or 4 times! :)


11 Katie August 7, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Brian and I did long distance for a bit and I used to drive a lot for work so I’m no stranger to driving long distances- it is a different ball game with a little one! The morning we left I was so nervous and kept asking Brian if he was sure he and bailey couldn’t come, ha. Yes, the pack n play worked great- hopefully lula does well too! The yellow outfit is from Carter’s- so cute! :)


12 Wendy Irene August 7, 2012 at 3:05 pm

That is so awesome that you did the trip Katie! You are a wonderful Mama. I love the sepia picture of Audrey on the floor of the hotel.


13 Katie August 7, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Thanks Wendy! I’m having fun with an iPhone app :)


14 BakingSuit August 7, 2012 at 4:11 pm

What a fun trip!

I don’t know if this would be helpful to know, but there are a bunch of kid friendly cds (and not kids singing annoying ones) out there that might make future road trips a little easier on your vocal cords. Off the top of my head, Jack Johnson did the Curious George one, Kenny Loggins Return to Pooh Corner, Jewel Lullaby, and a few others that I can’t remember right now.


15 Katie August 7, 2012 at 7:06 pm

That is a really good tip- thanks for the heads up!


16 Nicole August 7, 2012 at 8:18 pm

What kind of convertable carseat are you using and do you like it? We are about ready to switch. THanks!


17 Katie August 7, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Hi! We have the evenflo Titan elite- so far I really like it! Easy to get her in and out of in the middle seat and the straps adjust easily. We were going to get the britax marathon but this one had better safety ratings on consumer reports ad it was cheaper!


18 Katie August 22, 2012 at 2:17 am

Okay so I looked at my car seat guide and it isn’t the titan elite- it is the evenflo symphony 65 e3. This is the one that had the great safety ratings on consumer reports. Sorry for the confusion!


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