In July, at just 1 Month Old, I brought my son on his very first vacation.
I began maternity leave and knew that within these 3 months, I would want to travel somewhere, anywhere just to take advantage of the time off (especially because my boss does not like to approve vacation time for me….I’m too needed- you can only imagine how they took the whole ‘me being pregnant’ thing) but honestly I was in fear to due to the fact of how young my son was and how difficult it may be to bring a newborn baby hours from home!
I got onto the good ol’ Google and simply just searched ‘Traveling with a newborn baby’ and ‘Bringing a 1 month on vacation’ and to my surprise, I didn’t find much information that was helpful. The most common answer was “You Don’t” and I refused to accept that as an answer.
So instead of trying to go off the advice of others, me and baby daddy decided to just wing it.
I live in Washington State in a suburb just 15 miles south of Seattle. To begin our vacation planning, we wanted to explore our options of flying somewhere that wouldn’t be too long of a flight time. California, Nevada, and Arizona are all only about 2 1/2 hours by plane from Seattle and the flights are fairly cheap- especially when children under 2 fly free.
Another option we discussed was a road trip to California- either San Francisco or Los Angeles. Seattle to San Francisco is about a 12 hour drive, where Los Angeles is about 18 hours. This option was the least appealing because 1. That’s a long freaking time to be in the car and 2. Previous reason PLUS having a 1 month old with us….meaning multiple frequent stops for feeding and diaper changes.
So what option did we decide? Well, the most difficult one of course…driving.
My wonderful significant other of mine and I just purchased a 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander before my son was born that would be perfect for our new little family. The car only had 10K Miles when we purchased it and it has a heck of an amount of space compared to what we’re used to driving, AKA Honda Civic’s. The gas mileage isn’t too bad, and the trunk space could fit everything we wanted to bring.
After much consideration, we chose to road trip to the one and only Bay Area. My Boyfriend was born and raised there and I haven’t been since I was 11, so we decided it would be perfect. I mean the sight-seeing, the food, and the chance for me and my son to meet family members on his Dad’s side that we’ve never met yet…..it was just so perfect to choose. Plus, a 12-hour drive didn’t sound too bad.
We decided 7 days for vacation would be best to see everything.
What We Packed
- 1 Suitcase for my Boyfriend and I’s clothes, +1 Suitcase for Shoes and our Bathroom Stuff
- 1 Nike Duffle Gym Bag for all of our son’s items- Clothes, Bibs, Burp Towels, Blankets, Socks, Hats, Diapers, Wipes, Bottles, Formula, Water Bottles
- An extra diaper bag for stuff to prepare his bottles (no, I don’t breastfeed unfortunately). We bought an electric kettle to warm up water which would be used to sanitize his bottles with the extra hot water since our hotel did not have a microwave included, we brought dish soap and our bottle cleaner, and we brought the bottle warmer plus our travel thermos for warming bottles on the road
- We didn’t have enough room for his whole pack n’ play which we use for sleeping at home, and I don’t trust the cleanliness of the one’s the hotels provide complimentary, so we brought his Fisher Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper for his overnight sleeping.
- Travel Bassinet for park and beach fun
- Stroller – I use the Graco Click Connect system for his Car Seat to easily be inserted into his stroller. It’s great!
- Bather + Baby Soap + Lotion
- Cooler for bottles and drinks for the road
I mean… there’s no possible way we would’ve been able to bring ALL of this on the plane so easily and even if there was, the bag check-in process + carrying it all to a rental car would have honestly been a nightmare + carrying our baby!
Our what was supposed to be 12-hour car ride turned into a 15-hour drive to San Francisco because of our stops, but honestly it was not bad at all. Me and my Boyfriend would switch driving every 3-4 hours or so, drank a few energy drinks each there and back, and our son did great! Each way, he slept most of the time. He only woke up at each of the stops and instead of using changing stations at the gas stations or Fast-Food places (a little sketchy when you’re stopping in the middle of nowhere), we just changed him in the car. Boy, the pediatricians were right when they said that a car ride can really put a baby to sleep!
It was such a fun trip, San Francisco was great. I mean the city is so similar to Seattle’s that it felt like home….except it’s about 150 times larger (this is accurate IMO). We stopped at the best viewpoints ever and ate the best food. It was so fun, and my son had such a great time!
I would do it again in a heartbeat. Except next time we go on vacation, he’ll be old enough to fly…. I can’t wait to travel the world with my little one!