8 Ways to Pack Light When You’re Road Tripping With a Baby in Tow
Now that you're a mom, the “quick" trip has a whole new meaning. You're totally looking forward to all kinds of brand-new family firsts, but before the fab festivities kick off, you need to get to your destination. And before you can pile into the car, you need to pack — for baby. While it's tempting to bring along three-fourths of your registry, you still need room to fit yourself and maybe even your S.O. in the car. Here are eight ways to pack light for baby's first road trip.
1. Buy consumables when you get there. You have to buy diapers, wipes, creams, and lotions anyway. So why spend the week before your holiday trip at the warehouse club stocking up? Unless you're headed to a completely isolated cabin in the middle of nowhere, chances are there is a store near your destination that sells diapers, wipes, and everything else you'll need. Instead of packing a stockpile of disposable baby care items, pack a handful of extras in the diaper bag for the drive and buy the rest later.
2. Pack light for yourself. One of the easiest ways to make room for your added baby gear is to pack less for yourself. This doesn't mean you need to give up all of your space for the baby. Instead, limit what each adult can bring — pack the essentials only. You don't really need three contingency outfits for every day.
3. Choose options that multitask. Anything that's convertible, changeable, reversible, or in any other way transforms from one type of use to another is welcome on any trip where space is at a premium. Selecting items that pull double-duty can halve the space you need, freeing up room for even more multitasking items.
4. Take one toy, and one toy only. In a few years, your now-baby/then-preschooler might insist that you bring their entire train collection or every single building block in the toy chest. But right now, your baby won't throw a tantrum if they don't bring every toy they have — in fact, they really don't care if you bring a stuffed giraffe or a really brightly colored cardboard box.
5. Expect to do laundry. Babies aren't exactly neat and tidy. Between the spit-up and everything else that comes out of them, you could easily go through a dozen or more changes on one weekend trip. But this doesn't mean you have to pack your little one's entire wardrobe. Bring the bare minimum, and make a plan to wash your baby's clothes as needed during your time away. If there isn't a washer available, you can easily pick up a small bottle of detergent and hand-wash in a sink.
6. Pick a lightweight stroller. The over-size carry basket, all-terrain, multi-position recline stroller may comfort and cradle your kiddo during long walks around your own neighborhood… But it also takes up the entire trunk of your car. Swap the mega stroller for a smaller, lighter one that folds up easily and travels without added unnecessary bulk.
7. Minimize your baggage count. Even though you're driving and won't need to pay extra for additional bags, the car seat, stroller, and other bulky baby gear take up space. Condensing your luggage into a handful of bags frees up your car for all that gear you're bringing along. Stash baby's clothes with yours, combine your family's three suitcases into one, and truly utilize all of those little hidden pockets and zippered compartments in your baggage.
8. Leave the linens behind. Sheets, blankets, towels… With the exception of a burp cloth and a swaddle blanket or two, it's unlikely you'll need to bring much with you. If you're staying with a relative or friend, you can check ahead that they'll have linens/towels for you to use. The same goes for a hotel, if you're going that route.
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This post has been updated.
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