Have Baby, Will Travel (road trip style)

2013_packingIt can be done! We just got home from our 4 night, 5 day vacation-our first official family vaca. I have to admit I was a skeptic to begin with. I thought, there is no way one can travel for 3+ hours with a baby who just started liking solids again and the only way she will drink her milk is directly from the tap (I’m talkin’ from the boob only people!) So I’m here to share with you today, how this seemingly mythical scenario can come to fruition and be enjoyable at that.
Can I just start off by saying that it helps having an amazing baby, an awesome partner, and being super organized (okay, really on the verge of OCD).
First of all I planned out every day that we were going to be gone, including what/where we were eating, and where/when we would stop to eat, and sleep, activities and attractions. This itinerary was really in place to guide us through our vacation not necessarily dictate our every move. I knew there were things that we wouldn’t be able to do and things that we would discover at the last minute; such as the Florida Aquarium in Tampa(one of my favorite things during our trip!). Microsoft Word actually has some pretty decent Vacation Itineraries or you can always make your own using Excel or hand write (like I did) using a simple calendar page.
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Packing was interesting, it seemed like I had my stuff together the night before only to realize the next morning I was rushing around like a crazy person trying to gather last minute things that I thought we may have needed. In hindsight, I should have had everything ready to go, piled next to the door (or even better, in the car), so we could be cool, calm and collected during our departure – I can assure you, we were not any of those things. This got the trip off to a bad start, we were moody, it was pouring and we were ready for the trip to end before it even started! Not to worry, it wasn’t anything a little old school WHAM couldn’t cure. We even had Maddie dancing! My advice, start packing a week or two before you’re scheduled to leave.

For Maddie’s things, I find it easier to use a tote rather than a bag, things are more easily accessible (this probably won’t work so well if you are flying). And for her toys, I used a backpack. I read somewhere to pack each outfit in a Ziploc baggie but I just couldn’t see wasting all that plastic so I improvised. The bundle of yarn cost $2.50 and I hardly used any of it, it worked out perfectly and Maddie loves to play with the cut pieces. It was a perfect solution to contain each of her outfits. Also, the things I didn’t bundle, I rolled. I do this for my stuff and now my husband does it when he packs his suitcase too. I think it really is a space saver.

In summary, my husband and I decided that there were things we should have left at home:
I brought way too many diapers-in my defense I had no clue how many she would use b/c I had never traveled this length of time with her
I should have brought my manual breast pump considering I was just pumping for relief, not to feed her – it would have fit into my suitcase very nicely
Some toys, she only played with a handful and the rest we improvised with empty bottles and things
Booster seat-it stayed in the car the entire trip
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We were a little worried about the weather holding out so I brought some things to do indoors; bubbles, “52 Activities for You and Your Baby”, ipod & portable speaker, plenty of books (for me and the kiddo), my sketchpad and our mini laptop

One last thing, and I’m so glad I did this, I didn’t want to eat out for every meal so I brought a bunch of food and snacks (did I mention that I eat like the world is going to end since I started nursing?!?) Also, try to find a hotel with a kitchenette, or at least a sink and refrigerator-it’s very helpful when cleaning bottle, sippy cups and baby bowls & spoons (just remember to bring a sponge or bottle brush and some dish soap. We stayed at the Hilton Grand Vacation Club at SeaWorld Orlando and the Embassy Suites Downtown Tampa – they both had a separate kitchen area.
Here’s what I brought:
For James & I:
Homemade Granola Bars
Shredded chicken sandwiches
Raisins
Cheese & Crackers
Cut Veggies
Coconut Water (individual drink boxes)
Bread
Peanut Butter & Jelly
Kashi Chips
Homemade Trail Mix
Microwaveable Oatmeal

For Maddie:
Yogurt melts
Cheese puff type snacks
Cereal
I love to feed Maddie homemade food but on a trip, it’s not the easiest thing to transport so I had an assortment of store bought baby food (highly recommend the squeeze packets, less messy!)

So the trip was a total success! I’ll post pics in another post but for now I just wanted to let you know that we did it! We had such a great time, it was leisurely, relaxing and rewarding – everything I think a vacation should be!

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