Who doesn’t have a fond road-trip family memory? Riding in the backseat of your parents’ station wagon through endless corn fields in the Midwest, the woods of the Northwest or perhaps the wide-open Southwest. But now, as parents, you’re planning your first long car ride and it might not seem as magical or carefree. Use these tips for traveling with a baby to ensure your drive goes as smoothly as possible.

  1. Travel on Baby’s Schedule

    Schedule your drive time for when your baby is most likely to snooze. That’ll take the pressure off you to entertain a bored and wide-eyed kid. This might mean traveling during nap, before dawn or at night. By traveling during your baby’s typical sleep times, you’ll also be able to drive for longer stretches without needing breaks. Though these travel times might not be your first choice, they might be a better alternative to a screaming child with no exit ramp in sight.

  2. Safety First

    Safety is the most important issue to consider when planning a road trip. Before you hit the road, make sure your vehicle is up-to-date on any oil changes or scheduled maintenance. Also, make sure your child’s car seat is installed properly. You should also bring a roadside emergency kit filled with first-aid items, a flashlight and other useful items. Your kit will vary according to your children and their ages, but ensure  it’s tailored to fit you and your baby’s needs.

  3. Lots and Lots of Toys

    Keep everyone happy with car activities, new toys, songs and stories! Traveling by car versus an airplane gives you extra space for all the loud shakers and crinkly toys your little tot loves. Not to mention, you don’t have to worry about annoying other passengers with loud toys! Pack the toys in a bag and keep it in an easy access spot. It can also be helpful to have some new toys or activities for your kids to try — something they haven’t played with before.

  4. Install a Car Seat Mirror

    If you’ll be spending a majority of your time in the driver’s seat, installing a mirror to face the car seat will help you keep a close eye on your little one as they take in the sights of the open road.

  5. One Word: Snacks

    These are perhaps the most important items to bring along with you! A hungry baby is an unhappy baby. Bring along a cooler full of tasty snacks to keep you and your baby happy.

  6. Make a Mess Clean up Kit

    As unpleasant as it is to think about, there’s a good chance your baby will make a mess. Pack a container or bag with clean up essentials, like extra wipes, spare outfits and diapers.

  7. Ride in the Backseat

    If you’re not traveling alone, take turns riding in the backseat next to your baby. A friendly face will come in handy during your trip, and you’ll also be able to tend to the needs of your little one.

  8. Make Time for Family Fun

    Break up long stretches with stops at local parks and other noteworthy sites. This will give your little one a chance to stretch their legs and allow you to regroup, too.

Although, you’ll still probably run into some unforeseen hiccups, a road trip is based on the memories you make with your family. The good news is with Farm Bureau Financial Services Roadside Assistance you can make sure those family memories don’t include standing by the side of the road. Make sure you’re properly covered and start making lasting family memories!