Here's the happy traveler with just a few of the necessities-
Tips for road tripping with a baby:
Pad your trip with a couple extra days. There were a couple tired cranky moments in our drive that we pulled off the road and stayed in a hotel for the night. Luckily we had added a couple extra days to our schedule just in case this happened.
If friends or family offer their home for you to stay in, accept the invitation. Practical side- it's free (although we always left a thank you gift), you can wash your clothes and cook a meal. Fun side- having people to show you around the area and hanging out with those you love. We were lucky to have people to stay with in almost every city we stopped in.
See muffins made by a friend in Seattle we stayed with- Score!
Plan to stop every couple hours. If my daughter wasn't sleeping, it was necessary to stop every couple hours to stretch our legs. Google is great for this. I was always able to find a beach, park or mall to stop at along the way.
Pit Stop at Pismo Beach-
Don't take the fastest route. Take the route that has the most to offer. We made the mistake of taking the fastest route once during our trip and it was awful. Long and boring with only a couple gas stations and fast food places to stop at. It's just not worth the time you save if you're miserable. Road trips are supposed to be fun.
Pack entertainment. For those moments we just couldn't stop and she was fussy I would break out the portable DVD player. She loves Baby Einstein so that was a great distraction for about an hour. We also had plenty of children's music to play and sing along to.
Plan your drive around baby's nap schedule. My daughter's daily routine is like clock work so I knew exactly when I could put her in the car and expect her to sleep and when I couldn't. It makes for a much calmer drive when baby sleeps through it.
Communicate with your spouse before you leave and share expectations. This was the longest trip we had ever taken together so it was important that we knew what to expect from each other before we got started. I was on baby duty for the most part so I sat in the back. My husband preferred to be the driver. Also, I'm the world's worst navigator so he knew up front to have good humor about it since I got us lost more than once.
Have fun! Oh and don't forget the camera.