Gigi was 4 months old when we went on our first road trip. We were heading for a month long stay in Guernsey to meet her family and knew we would have to drive there from our home in the West of Scotland. Two reasons for driving - Shannon was going to be working from home so he took his computer and also Gigi has a lot of essentials!
We also were road tripping whilst England was still in lockdown, this meant we were not able to stay overnight at a hotel so we had to plan our trip around where we could stay - which would be Wales (which like Scotland, had lifted accommodation restrictions)
So leaving home we travelled to Yorkshire, stopping at the home of the Brontë’s- Haworth, then onto Harrogate - which is famous for its mineral springs, then to the market and spa town of Knaresborough. We then headed to York to see its Minster, the cobbled lanes of The Shambles and its Roman city walls. That was quite enough for day one, so we headed across the country to the border of Wales and stayed at a Premier Inn in Wrexham.
On the second day we travelled to Bath, home of the famous Roman-built baths before leaving England once more and heading into Wales and to Gigi’s first capital city - Cardiff! After a quick trip to the home of ‘Gavin & Stacey’ in Barry Island we headed to Newport for another Premier Inn stay.
We were up very early to make our way out of Wales and down to the ferry in Portsmouth (not being able to stay in England was very annoying at this point as we would have stayed in Portsmouth and not had to do a 2 and half hour drive!)
We were on the slow ferry to Guernsey which took 7 hours, we had thought ahead and booked a cabin, which turned out to be the best decision as we got a travel cot where Gigi could have a nap and play- we brought her play mat with us and that kept her occupied, and essentially we both could remove our face masks when in the cabin - we would have to wear them at all times when walking around the boat.
After a wonderful month in Guernsey it was (sadly) time to return home. If we had left Poole harbour and travelled straight home it would have been an 8 hour drive but we wanted to make the most of trip (and crucially lockdown restrictions had now been lifted in England) so we spent 2 days travelling around Cornwall and Devon, stopping at lots of gorgeous places including Lyme Regis, Torquay, Newquay, Port Issac, Lands End and Penzance.
We also had more family introduce Gigi too so we spent a night in the market town of Leominster which is on the England / Wales border. The following day (and last day) we travelled up to the Roman city of Chester where we explored before making our way home.
So what was it like road tripping with a 4 - 5 month old baby?
You have to plan everything in advance (something we had to work on during our trip down, but mastered on the way back) - you need to organise the following
Milk - We have the Tommee Tippee tubs that you can pop the powder into in advance, so each day we filled them up, placed inside a bottle/teat/lid and kept inside her nappy bag for easy access. We filled a flask (this is what we have) each morning and made a mix of boiling water and cool bottled water with her milk. We would try get this organised in advance so we would be ready to feed when we reached a service station or our destination. Sometimes it was necessary for the passenger to lean across and feed Gigi whilst travelling. We also brought ready made milk just in case of an emergency
Nap time - A tip from another parent was to travel when baby naps, which would work well if you have a good routine or your baby sleeps at certain times, but we’ve always found as soon as we put Gigi in her car seat she falls asleep anyway so for us, we travelled regardless of her nap times
Entertainment - When she wasn’t asleep we had on hand a rotation of toys including her Matchstick Monkey teething toy, Sophie the giraffe, a sensory book which hang from her car seat, her muslin as she likes to snuggle it, and we don’t think babies can have too much screen time, so we have a phone holder (this one) which connects to the headrest and she can watch baby sensory on youTube - her favourite is Hey Bear’s dancing vegetables
Comfort - the temperature of the car is important (especially as it was summer time for us) we would have the air con on or the windows open and kept checking she was at a good temperature. We had a light blanket on hand if need be, and also a wireless fan (few pounds from Home Bargains) which we could position on her (and useful for the pram when out of the car)
Essentials - We packed a holdall for all 3 of us which contained everything she needed clothing wise for the duration of each road trip, so we didn’t need to keep dipping into our big suitcases to find anything. We overpacked the holdall for her but it was better to be safe. We also filled her changing bag up with loads of nappies, wipes and muslins (as well as her milk)
We were taking our Red Kite travel cot with us to Guernsey complete with our Mamas and Papas mattress, and it turned out that the two Premier Inn’s and Travel Lodge didn’t provide a mattress with the travel cot we requested in the room, so each night we brought in ours from the car. Also, wow Premier Inn’s are hot! We faffed around with the air con and opening windows but the rooms were so hot, we were concerned it may be too hot for Gigi so she slept in her vest only. Also another thing about those 3 hotels… even though on the special requests we had asked for a cot -we were put in rooms that were a far distance from reception - they had no forward thinking that those with babies would really appreciate the ease of a room near reception, as each night we sure forgot something and had to nip out, and the amount we had to carry too!
The trip down Gigi was amazing - napping and keeping herself entertained, as parents we were worried we were pushing her but she seemed fine and coped really well. On the trip back home however she was getting frustrated at being in her seat so long, even though we did stop every hour or so. But wow we were so proud of travelling with a baby and having completed our first road trip where we covered over 2000 miles…