11 Survival Tips For A Road Trip With Baby

Are you getting ready to travel on your first road trip with baby??

We took our first road trip with our 1 month old baby all the way across Washington state to meet some friends.

Since then, we’ve gone on several road trip (in snow and sun!) with our little babe.

We’ve done the trial and error for you so you can plan your baby’s first road trip with confidence and ease!

Let’s get started!

Baby Road Trip Essentials Collage

11 Road Trip Tips With A Baby

1. Pack The Car The Night Before

On the night before your trip, once you put your baby down to bed, it’s time to pack the car. This allows you to work distraction-free.

Packing the night before allows you to worry about the important things (baby) in the morning.

It also gives time and space for you to meticulously go through a checklist so you don’t forget a thing.

Gif of road trip with baby - showing diaper caddy contents

2. Make a Portable Baby Changing Station

It’s not a matter of if, but when, your baby will poop in their car seat! Stay on top of cleanup by having a portable changing station ready.

We have all our gear in a diaper caddy, right next to the car seat. This allows for quick and easy diaper changes, with everything we need at hand.

Here’s what we include in our road trip diaper station:

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Changing pad (we have this reusable one, but you can buy disposable puppy pads too)
  • Diaper rash cream and travel-sized spatula
  • Extra footie pajamas (for blowouts)
  • Doggy poop bags (for diapers and/or soiled clothes)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Burp clothes

We’ve also seen folks set up a changing station in the trunk for more room!

We just don’t have that kind of space in our car (2e pack too much!) so the backseat works just fine for us.

3. Check The Car Seat (Baby Monitor)

On long-haul trips, keeping an eye on baby is our priority.

We’ve seen the traditional mirror-view installed so you can see baby from your rearview mirror, but we have something better than that.

We purchased a carseat camera, that was super easy to install.

It gives a clear picture of baby at all times, and even works at night (unlike the traditional mirror ones.)

4. Optional: Ride in the Backseat

If you are on a roadtrip with a newborn baby, it might more comfortable for one person to sit in the back. This way, they can keep an eye on baby!

I remember when our boy was super little – I wanted to make sure he was breathing every 10 seconds!

5. Plan To Stop Every 2 Hours

It is advised to not let baby sit in a car set for longer than 2 hours at a time.

We’ve also seen information about 2 hours being the MAX amount of time baby should be in a carseat, but at that rate, we wouldn’t get anywhere!

Berty and I simply track things like naps, and feeding with the Huckleberry app, which gives us a good idea of how long he’s been sitting in his seat.

Around the 2-hour mark (or earlier if he needs something), we park the car, change his diaper, feed him, and give him plenty of wiggle time out of the car.

Tip: Research your route, and find every rest stop, small town, gas station, or pullout you can find. This way you can stop as needed!

6. Bring Pumping Supplies

My journey has been exclusively breastfeeding, but I wasn’t going to be caught unprepared if I wasn’t able to feed him that way!

To ensure he could eat, I packed my portable pump, a bottle, milk bags, and a formula container to make sure he could be fed anytime, by anyone.

7. Be Prepared For Emergencies (First Aid Kit)

Planning a road trip with a baby? You can’t forget to pack a first aid kit.

It’s one of those things that you hope you’ll never use, but be so glad you have one if you did!

We like this one by the American Red Cross. It comes in a convenient container, and easily stows away in the car.

Read More: Make your own DIY Car Emergency kit

8. Pack Entertainment for Baby

To keep baby busy between naps, Berty and I packed a small bag of his favorite toys.

We would introduce a new one every hour or so, to keep him entertained and the novelty of a new toy fresh.

For newborns, this looks like a high-contrast mat, back & white cards, and jingle-toys.

For our 4-month old, he loves rattles, soft, crinkly books, and anything with ridges for teething.

We introduce only 1 or 2 toys at a time. We also have these toy leashes that we attach to his carseat and the toy. This keeps him from flinging them out of reach!

9. Bring Extras (Pacifiers, Clothes, Blankets)

There have been SO many instances where a pacifier or burp cloth falls out of the car and drops down in a dirty parking lot.

Plan for these moments and have plenty of backups for a quick changeout.

10. Have a LAundry Bag For Messes

Following up with point #9, when items get dirty, it’s essential to have a designated place to contain the mess.

We pack these wet/dry bags that are waterproof for messy clothes and dirty items.

They are waterproof and keep smells out too, so you car doesn’t stink!

11. Bring Snacks For Them (And You!)

Depending on how old your baby is (our first adventure was an 8 hour road trip with our newborn!) they may or may not need snacks, but you will!

Pack a small cooler of fresh goodies, some granola bars, and plenty of water.\

Don’t worry about needing to pee – you’ll be stopping frequently anyway!

Baby Road Trip Packing List

Looking for an easy way to remember all your baby road trip essentials? We’ve made it easy for you!

Here is a free downloadable road with with baby packing list, for making planning just a bit easier.

FAQs For a road trip with Baby

When can I travel with a newborn by car?

Berty and I did our first road trip with a newborn when our baby was just 6 weeks old! As long as you prepare for frequent stops, you should be fine.

It is recommended not to let your newborn stay in its carseat for longer than 2 hours at a time.

Finally (and most importantly), talk to your pediatrician about your specific baby and its needs!

What are some of your tips when planning a road trip with a baby? Tell us in the comments!