This post is long overdue. We took our Smoky Mountain trip 1 month ago and I’m already itching for another adventure! Driving 6 hours straight was not Aurora’s idea of fun, but we made it work! I’m sharing some of my tips for traveling with a baby & keeping her entertained! 👇🏻👇🏻
Keep in mind, these aren’t tips for backpacking or camping with a baby! 🚫 For our first trip, we kept it simple and stayed in a cabin because it was still pretty cold out. BUT… we are pretty excited to take on those ventures soon as well!
Indiana can be beautiful, but by March I had gone crazy sitting inside all day with A. Getting out of the state & hiking somewhere just a little warmer was SO worth it. She loves being outside & new surroundings keep her stimulated. First tip:
1. Try not to stress out about traveling with your baby.
I know that’s easier said than done, but remember your baby may be calmer while out and about than at home, because there is so much to take in. Now, that’s not always true, but if meltdowns and feedings in public give you anxiety like me, it’s an important note to remember.
2. Keep your baby’s typical schedule in mind
It’s always important to remember what your baby would be doing if you were at home. For example, we kinda forgot that Aurora had been going down for the night around 7:30 pm. Our first night there we tried to go out to eat, but ended up going home because she was cranky and couldn’t fall asleep without her bedtime routine (Bath, milk, rocking chair 🤪) The second night, we got her to sleep first at the cabin & then packed her up to go. We ate around 10 pm 🙈 The last night we were smart and ate a 5pm dinner! Oh the sacrifices you make for your baby 🤷🏼♀️
3. Bring several forms of entertainment for the drive/flight.
I think the key to long drives is having different things to do so you don’t feel stuck. We brought:
- a baby music player/white noise maker
- car toys (keys, teether,rattle)
- our iPad
I thought I would never give my baby an iPad but I’ve actually found some great learning apps and games that I don’t mind. limit Aurora’s screen time & always make sure “night mode” is on and the brightness is all the way down. She plays Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn – it has 4 categories: ABC’s, Shapes & Colors, Numbers, & Songs. She LOVES it and it keeps her entertained for a good while. I also used Netflix for part of the drive, but I don’t let her just stare directly at it. I just put it on as background music- she loves Little Baby Bums (nursery rhymes)
- jars of food
I don’t know that feeding while in a car seat is suggested, so be careful here, but one way I kept Aurora entertained (and not starving before we could find an exit) was to give her small spoons of food. Be careful with this, as it could be problematic if your baby started choking, but Aurora was still on purées and giving her just a taste kept her entertained for so long!
4. Set up their bed the same as at home
Sleep on vacation is very important. A gets so cranky if she misses a nap. We bring A’s pack & play and lounger everywhere we go. She never has any trouble sleeping away from home. Lately however, she’s gotten used to being rocked to sleep. Luckily our cabin had a rocking recliner, but if your baby is particular about this I would suggest doing your research before settling on a place to stay!
5. Lastly, have fun! Realize that traveling with a baby WILL limit what you can do in some ways and make it fun anyway. We hiked a little bit, stopped and nursed A in meadows, let her nap while we explored the land in the car, etc. However, we didn’t let it keep us from doing new things. I went up in a ski lift for the first time! It was awesome and Aurora actually slept through it all!
That’s all! Let me know if you have any other tips or tricks! ❤️