A definitive list of what you need for your baby's first road trip.

Rafferty's Garden
Thanks to our brand partner, Rafferty's Garden

The summer holidays are upon us and for many the festive season means one thing… road trips!

Whether it’s visiting family or just getting away, summer in Australia is often about packing everyone up in the car and heading off in search of sunshine, swims, good food and maybe even a little outdoor cricket.

Though if you’re a new parent, like me, gone are the days of throwing the overnight bag in the boot and hitting the road. Having a little person makes prepping and packing for a journey all the more complex, and can also be the difference between and enjoyable time and, well, wishing you just stayed home.

So, here are my top tips for road-tripping (and travelling in general) with your little mate.

WATCH: Leigh Campbell on This Glorious Mess Little Kids. Post continues below. 

Video by Mamamia

Before you go.

Make a list on the notes section of your phone.

It’ll be the difference between trying to remember the thousands of things in your head (often that come to mind at 2am) and feeling like you have a go-to checklist that you can use next time, too. In the week leading up to going away, jot down every item you think of when it comes to you, then check it off the list as you pack the bags.

Plan for the worst (but expect the best).

Make a little kit of emergency essentials, like baby Panadol, saline nasal spray and any other general medical bits and pieces your babe may have needed in the past. That way if they get the sniffles you’re not searching for a pharmacy on a public holiday in a small town or if you’re out in the suburbs. Having a baby first aid kit in the car at all times is a great thing to do as well.

Order ahead if you can.

By the time you’ve thrown in your bags, travel cot and travel pram (and maybe even the family dog) there’s often not much room left in the car for anything else. If you’re staying at a friend’s place or an AirBnB, particularly if you’re going for a decent chunk of time, consider doing an online shop ahead of time to arrive at the same time as you. This is great for bulky items like nappies and tins of formula, and while you’re at it, grab some baby food pouches too so you’re not stuck in the kitchen cooking all holidays.

Some of our favourites from the Rafferty's Garden range. Image: Supplied

On the road.

Overpack (and thank me later).

Gone are the days when overpacking means taking 14 dresses when you’re only going for five days. These days it’s all about taking double the amount of nappies you think you'll need to cover you from poonamis and any unexpected delays like traffic or a flat tire. For long road trips it’s worth considering upsizing in nappies so that any unfortunate poo situations stay contained and the car seat stays clean.

What about travelling overseas with your baby? Laura Byrne chats with Leigh and Tegan Natoli on This Glorious Mess about her trip to Europe. Post continues below.

Plan meals and snacks.

It wouldn't be a road trip without stuff to eat. For adults it’s all about Snakes and salt and vinegar chips but for the baby it’s best to consider their nutrition first. Forget fumbling with Tupperware and home-made food in the backseat or at pit stops and consider stocking up on easy pouches instead.

The Rafferty’s Garden Nothing Else range contains exactly what it says on the packet and not a thing more. They’re perfect for travel and contain no preservatives, nothing artificial and don't need refrigeration (until they are open). Tip: the fruit ones left in the freezer for an hour make a delicious and healthy slushy treat once you’re at your destination.


Consider comfort for your own sanity.

If the baby is happy it’ll be a more enjoyable trip. Make sure their window is covered with an SPF50 sun shield, and if it’s a hot day turn the car aircon on five or 10 minutes before you all pile in.

Pop their dummy (if they use one) on a dummy chain that clips to their outfit so you’re not trying to find a spat-out dummy on the car floor at every traffic light. If they’re at teething stage, make sure there’s a few teething toys on their lap so they don’t munch on the car seat straps.

"If they baby is happy it’ll be a more enjoyable trip." Image: Supplied

Stop crying in its tracks.

A few tears and meltdowns on the journey is par for the course but a screaming baby when you still have a ways to go can be stressful. Enter, 'The Happy Song' by singer-songwriter Imogen Heap. It has been scientifically proven to cheer babies up and I can personally attest to that. You’ll have to sacrifice your '80s playlist and chuck it on repeat but trust me, it works.

Above all, have a great time, drive safe and take lots of photos!

We’d love to hear your trips for travelling with a baby...tell us in the comments!

Rafferty's Garden

We believe that real food tastes best. The Rafferty's Garden NOTHNG ELSE range is made from delicious, premium, pureed fruit & vegetables. Proudly made in Australia with NOTHING ELSE except for the real ingredients in the name, it has a smooth texture making it the perfect first food for babies trying solid food for the first time.