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Going on trips with your baby can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. Not only does traveling bring you closer with your family, but also allows you the remarkable chance to show your little one an entirely new part of the world. Most of us never forget our earliest family trips – it’s easily as enjoyable for babies as it is rewarding for parents. The problem is, actually getting to that destination can also be incredibly taxing and stressing, who hasn’t experienced heavy traffic with a fussy baby in the back?

So let’s take a look at some steps you can take, to make traveling on long car rides with your baby, a beautiful experience.

1. Plan with baby in mind.

First things first, before you hit the road, when you are still in the planning phase of the trip, try to plan a road trip with ample opportunities to impress, engage and excite your baby. Are there specifically scenic or interesting places you can drive through to keep baby interested? If saving an hour driving means sitting on an endlessly bland highway, maybe you should think again, your baby doesn’t think of efficiency the way you do. But be careful, too much excitement can also be problematic; don’t go anywhere that could scare or overstimulate your baby, try to find that balance.

2. Pack like a pro.

A major factor in keeping a traveling baby satisfied, is having everything you need close at hand. This involves careful packing, ideally a day (or two) before. Make sure to have all the essentials close at hand – toys, bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers and snacks should all be within arm’s reach in case of a bored-baby emergency.

3. Make frequent stops.

Babies operate on a totally different timeline than we do. They are most likely less concerned with making good time in the long run, than they are being occupied and satisfied in THIS moment. So plan your trip accordingly: shoot for frequent stops, parks, scenic views, playgrounds or special sites that might entertain your baby. Just because you’re in a car, doesn’t mean you can’t tire your baby out, just in the car ride, hopefully giving you those prized napping hours.

4. Timing for sleep.

Sleep-timing is a necessary way for you all to have a smooth journey. Try not to disrupt your baby’s precious sleep routine, by planning your trip around it. Driving at night, or at least at naptime gives you an advantage against the waking-baby fuss we are all used to.

5. Relax along the way.

These family trips are not just about baby, after all. Make sure to do things that you and your adult traveling companion(s) enjoy. Babies can usually sense when we are tense and upset, so why not give them good energies from the front seat.

Traveling with your baby can be challenging, but if you do it right, it’s pure reward. And trust us, they’ll remember these precious moments spending time with their family.