It’s officially summer! If you’ve experienced the kind of weather that we have in the Pacific Northwest the past nine months, you’re more than ready to welcome the warmth of the sun. With this season comes all sorts of summer travel and a personal favorite is a good ol’ fashioned road trip.
We’ve already taken advantage of the longer days by booking two trips to Oregon and Idaho, respectively. The drives are pretty long for a baby, but with a few tricks, we’ve managed to make the trips enjoyable for everyone. Now that Holden is a little over a year old, we feel well versed in the art of road tripping with a baby. And luckily for you, we’re happy to divulge our secrets so that you can learn from our mistakes.
Always pack snacks
I am food motivated. That’s the simplest way to put it. Food is a love language to me and I find myself booking trips based off of the food that I want to eat. Craving authentic spaghetti? Great- let’s go to Italy! Feeling like some spicy pad thai? Done. I’ve already booked our tickets to Chiang Mai.
Chris, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. He literally only eats to survive. Food plays such a little part in his day that he will sometimes forget to eat or skip a meal entirely. It’s soul crushing to me and I just don’t understand it. But now that we’re in charge of a tiny human, we need to ensure that he gets all of the nutrients he needs. That means frequent food stops.
Neither Chris nor I necessarily mind stopping to feed our kiddo his meals, but there are times that we’ve been on the road for hours, we’re so close to our destination, and we just need to feed the babe a snack to finish the last leg. That’s why we have a dedicated snack compartment in our car. In it, you’ll find snacks for everyone. Chris usually has sunflower seeds, Haribo sour gummy bears and a 5-hour Energy. My snacks include crunchy vittles like muddy buddies (because, delicious), trail mix, and chips. For Holden, we have Mum-Mum biscuits (he’s obsessed), organic baby yogurt bites, and fruit (his favorite are raspberries). We also make sure to pack drinks for everyone. That typically includes La Croix for mom and dad while Holden gets water or almond milk in a sippy cup. I pinky promise that we eat healthy 90% of the time but with road trips, almost anything goes.
Prepare to make stops
And often. It’s easier to accept that your trip is going to take longer with a kiddo if you plan for multiple stops. These pit stops might be for snack breaks, diaper changes, or even to let the little one get his wiggles out. We try to plan our longer road trips around Holden’s naps so that we know we’ll be on the road during his designated sleep time. That means we have a few hours where he’s passed out and we can drive without stopping. However, once he wakes up, he needs food, cuddles, and a little play time.
In order to ensure the happiness of all travelers, we mentally prepare ourselves before departure for all the stops we’ll make around le bebe. A good rule of thumb that works for us is to plan for a 20 minute break for every two hours we’re on the road. I’m sure it’ll get easier once Holden is older, but with a one year old, this is the schedule that currently works best for our little family.
We’ve also learned to make the most of those 20 minute breaks. We pop shoes on the kiddo and let him run around like a banshee. The more energy he exerts, the better he’ll be in the car. We particularly enjoyed our spontaneous stop at the colorful fruit stand on our road trip to the North Shore. Holden picked out a pineapple and mango for our pit stop treat.
Save at the pump
This summer, we teamed up with Shell in order to bring awareness to a pretty amazing promotion that is sure to save you dolla dolla bills. We are loving our Gold Status from Shell and the *Fuel Rewards® program. With Instant Gold Status, we save a minimum of 5c/gallon, up to 20 gallons per purchase. And our Fuel Rewards® points have been adding up fast. We’ve stacked our rewards by linking a card to our Fuel Rewards® account and use that card for purchases at restaurants and for travel expenses. One of our favorite things is to pull into a Shell station, enter our Fuel Rewards® number, and guess how much we’ll save with our visit.
Redeeming Fuel Reward® points is easy. Simply find a participating Shell station, swipe your membership card or type in your Fuel Rewards® ALT ID before you pay, and insert your credit or debit card to finish your transaction. Then, sit back and watch as your Fuel Rewards® points add up.
There’s still time for you to sign up for the Fuel Rewards® program and receive Instant Gold Status. Simply sign up before the end of the year to be automatically upgraded to gold status and start saving 5c/gallon at the pump. This is the only rewards program we’ve been a part of where you are instantly upgraded to gold status just for signing up. Don’t miss out and be sure to get in on the savings. You can sign up for the Fuel Rewards program here. Tell ’em Chris and Tawny sent you.
Chris has been so happy with the money that we’ve saved that he not only did he let me purchase a ridiculously huge pineapple floaty for our time on Lake Coeur d’Alene but he also booked us an extra night away. It’s going to be amazing. I might have even bought Holden a new adorable life vest and baby floaty of his own. We can’t wait to take our sail kayaks out on the water and enjoy some much needed family time.
Enjoy the ride
This is where I get sappy. I know that Holden is only a year old, but time has already flown by since we welcomed him into our lives. And if you think about it, we really only have seventeen more summers with this guy until he [most likely] becomes an adult, flies the coop, and gets too cool for us. That’s only seventeen more summers of family vacations and road trips. I want to make the most of every adventure and hope that he looks back fondly on all of our family travels. Sure, traveling with children can be a challenge, but this part of our lives goes by entirely too quickly. Why not make the most of it?