Now that you have a kid, that vacation within driving distance is probably looking a little more appealing than it did before. What, you thought you were actually going on that African safari? That’s what retirement is for. You are saving for retirement, aren’t you? When you get over that little speed bump, come back here for some great advice on traveling with a baby. Getting to your destination (one of these iconic family road trips, perhaps?) will require a mixture of common sense, patience, and fatherly ingenuity. Actually enjoying your so-called vacation with your kid is a different matter altogether.
You Could’ve Thought Of That
- Timing is everything: Tailor your driving schedule to your kid’s sleep and nap schedule, inasmuch as they keep a regular one, and break up the trip accordingly with rest stops. Tiny asses get sore just like yours does.
- Keep ’em company: You wouldn’t want to drive for 8 hours without anyone riding shotgun, would you? Put someone else back there to play with Junior, aka keep ’em distracted.
- Bring all the toys: They’re annoying to carry, but at some point you’ll be glad you brought a bin with every single one of your kid’s favorite toy cars, giant plastic keys, and teddy bears.
- Snacks: If you need a reminder to pack snacks on a road trip, you shouldn’t be taking a road trip.
- Don’t leave home without: All of this essential family road trip gear. If nothing else pack some travel-size Purell, garbage bags, and extra ziplocks. Why is everything always wet?
Thank You, Whoever Thought Of That
- Keep it clean: Rest stops used to be just for grabbing coffee and Slim Jims. With a kid, you now must consider clean bathrooms and proper changing tables. Chain hotel lobby, good. Fast food chain … not so good.
- Hack bedtime: You’ll want to employ the same bedtime ritual in the car as you do at home; that’s easier said than done in an unfamiliar time zone doing 60-miles-an-hour. Try playing a certain album or playlist during naps and bedtime at home leading up to the trip, then play it on the road when they start fussing. Congrats on becoming a baby hypnotist, by the way.
- Hack other stuff: Painter’s tape is apparently great for everything from hanging a spare t-shirt as a makeshift sun shade to covering sockets at your destination. A ziplock bag with some Band-Aids, wipes, Advil, and antibiotic ointment makes a solid first aid kit. Think of a potential problem, then hack together a solution. You’re a father, it’s what you do.
- Don’t leave home without: Bubbles. Why does everything in a small child’s world shut down at the sight of bubbles? Who the hell cares? Pack a bottle and deploy in case of emergency.