We moved south to North Carolina when I was in elementary school, and most of my family is still in upstate New York. We decided summer would be the perfect time to take Little Lion to meet his great grandparents, and stopped to see some friends who live out of town along the way.
Method of Transportation – Our trusty Saturn Ion
Trip Length – 7 days, 6 nights
Child’s Age – 4.5 months
Season – Mid-Summer
W H A T T O P A C K
We packed for this trip almost exactly like we did when we traveled to DC (you can read more about that trip here). This time Caleb got his own suitcase instead of sharing with us. We also brought a pack and play, baby bathtub, bouncy seat, and my double electric pump for this trip. Caleb was in the middle of a nursing strike, so he ended up having bottles the entire trip.
W H A T W E N T W E L L
– Caleb was the perfect age for meeting family! He was still small, so they got to see him as a “baby,” but he was alert and aware of his surroundings and his smiles lit up the room. He wasn’t yet frightened by new faces, and had no separation anxiety, so he didn’t break great grandma’s heart when she wanted to cuddle with him. He also had a fairly predictable schedule, so we were able to plan around him to an extent.
– We planned our travel time for night as much as possible. By breaking up the long trip into smaller segments, we were able to do most of our driving after Caleb’s bedtime. We would feed him, put him in his car seat, play his “going to bed” song, and not hear a peep out of him the rest of the drive. We weren’t able to do this for all of our driving, but it was definitely the easiest! It got a bit dicey when we had to drive during his witching hour (5-6). I spent a lot of time in the back seat with him during that time.
– We were so thankful to have a solid bedtime routine for Caleb. Over the course of the 6 nights, we stayed in 4 different places. Caleb was able to sleep anywhere, and we are incredibly grateful for his easygoing personality. His night sleep was not any different while we were traveling than it is at home. We were very impressed with him, especially because there were a couple times he was up way past his normal bedtime.
W H A T D I D N ‘ T G O W E L L
– Caleb did get a little bit overstimulated a couple times during the trip. This was pretty much inevitable, but fortunately I was able to recognize his signals and get him some peace before it turned into a big issue. Great Grandpa’s train room was super cool… until it wasn’t. 🙂 He took lots of short naps instead of his typical long ones, but this ended up being okay.
– Constantly having to leave the room to pump was a bummer. I am so glad other family members were able to feed him too, but it still stinks to spend hours sitting in a room by yourself when you have limited time with family you rarely see.
– It was also very difficult to wash pump parts along the way. I knew finding hot water would be touch and go on the road, but I didn’t realize how tough it would be to deal with. I wish I had a picture of me with the burp cloth spread out as a towel on the diaper changing table in the bathroom of a Starbucks, with a water faucet that only stayed on for 5 seconds max. Quite a sight.
– We also seriously underestimated travel times. We did not anticipate just how many times we would have to pull over to check on him in the back (especially when he was fussy during the witching hour). A good rule of thumb… for every hour of travel time add 15 minutes extra.
Overall this trip went very well! We were all pretty tired of the road by the time it was over, but Great Grandma and Grandpa cuddles are well worth it!