Can parents still be wanderlusts?

Hello fellow wanderlusts!

My husband and I have always loved traveling. For years we’ve dreamt up trips across the states and around the world. While over seas trips have yet to make it into our plans, some of our favorite trips have been to Seattle, New Orleans, and Nashville.

Becoming parents has naturally changed a lot of short and long term plans for us now. We’ll be dreaming up plans for trips to Ireland, Germany, Tokyo, and so many other places around the world for a bit longer, but we’re still making travel plans with baby an option. This September (how are we literally at the end of August already???) we’ll be making a road trip back to Nashville.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous to take a road trip, let alone with an 8 month old. A part of me writing this post is to actually calm my nerves and help me plan out in some form of writing. Normally, my anxiety causes me to compulsively make to do lists, but I’m hoping this post will assist in my own motherly craziness in addition to helping other parents planning on road trips or big vacations with their little ones in the future.

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Wraith at 3 1/2 months old, enjoying one of many car rides. We have since upgraded to a Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 car seat, as she continues to grow.

So, how exactly are we planning? We’re traveling from Massachusetts to Tennessee and our trip is predicted to be ~16-18 hours driving (straight). We’ll be out of town for roughly one week and then driving back home for another long drive. We have our Airbnb picked out and booked. We’re getting our oil changed and the car checked out weeks prior to our departure. We’re reading up on other parent’s experiences, purchasing a child tablet for some distraction time, and mentally accepting that problems can arise at any point.

Some tips we’ve been focusing on include:

  • Take regular pit stops. Screenshot of Roadtrippers iOS appGas stations, food, and rest stops are naturally going to be a part of our stops, but how can we make things more exciting for us all? While we haven’t solidified an exact route we will be taking, we’ve been looking at some pit stops that may be more exciting using the mobile app, Roadtrippers. Not only does the app give you a roadmap for your trip, but it also tells you of different attractions that you can see along your route, where you can specify what type of attractions you’re looking for.
  • Don’t overpack. Our overhead storage is going to make a huge difference in the space we’ll have available within our car, but we still need to make sure essentials will be within reach without crowding our space up too much. Items we plan on having within reach include diapers, wipes, changing pad, burp cloths, a few changes of clothes, clean bottles, formula, snacks, blankies, and smaller toys.
  • Mum and dad may need to sit in back with baby. Toys, snacks, and endless episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Blues Clues, and Spongebob may not be enough entertainment throughout our drive for baby. Thankfully, mum or dad will be ready to hop in back for additional entertainment and comfort while the other continues our drive.
  • Finding the ideal time to drive. This topic receives a lot of mixed opinions from other parents. Most people will suggest driving throughout the night, so baby is more likely to sleep throughout the drive. Because neither of us will be familiar with the roads we’ll be on, we’re going to avoid driving too frequently at night. Our initial departure will be in the middle of the night, however we plan on staying off the road during dark hours.
  • Expect the unexpected. I can’t repeat this enough. Anything can happen during a road trip, but add an infant into the mix, and a whole different number of obstacles can arise. Some pit stops may need to take a little longer than planned. We may need to pull over somewhere before we had anticipated. It’s hard enough sitting in a car for an extended period as an adult, but imagine not being able to verbally express you simply don’t want to sitting down anymore? We need to be patient with each other and especially baby during our trip and try not to stress out if things get difficult. That is what parenthood is all about anyway, right?

So, to answer the question my husband and I have been wondering since we became parents… can new parents still be wanderlusts? Of course they can! Things will just be a little different. While our babies are the center of our world’s now, we can’t allow our pre-baby lives to completely stop. It’s okay to still enjoy the things you did before, but now you may just have a little human by your side enjoying everything with you.

Have you taken any long car trips with your little ones? What tips do you have for us and other fellow parents? Let me know in the comments! I’ll be posting a follow up to this post after we make it home from our trip next month. Hopefully then, I’ll really be able to dive into what worked for us and what didn’t. Stay tuned!

What are some activities you are taking up these days? What issues are you finding the most difficult during your postpartum recovery? Feel free to share your tips and stories in the comments and more importantly, stay safe and healthy!

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