02/26/2014 06:47 pm ET Updated Apr 28, 2014

Packing for Baby's 1st Road Trip

My husband and I were asking ourselves this exact question last week as we were prepping for our first weekend away from home with our 4-month-old infant. Because I can have my OCD moments, I decided that we should bring everything and then figure out what we didn't need, versus taking nothing and learning the hard way. We also took the opportunity to try out a new ride. As city folk, we don't own a car but we also know that as parents of a growing family a car will become necessity sooner rather than later. Here is what we learned that you are probably on the fence about. I hope that future road trippers will take my advice and not pack the entire nursery.

We hopped into a Cadillac SRX which is their answer to the SUV cars that you see around. It's small enough to be a sedan but has the shape of an SUV. The plusses of the car were that the seats were extremely comfortable, the all-wheel drive worked like a charm in these wicked winter conditions we've been having and the baby loved the double moon roof. What didn't work were the buttons on the console because they are touch sensitive and we couldn't figure out where or how to touch to get a consistent response. We also were frustrated with the fact that the car seat didn't fit comfortably in back. I'm not that tall (5'8") but it was a tight ride with the wee one behind me. Overall, it was a great ride for the weekend but I think it's better suited to an infant-less owner.

Do Pack:
Pack n' Play w/changing table This folds up for easy travel, gives baby a safe place to sleep and protects mom and dad's backs during diaper changes.
Basic bouncy chair If they can't sit up on their own, this will let them observe their new and exciting surroundings. You don't need any bells, whistles or motors, the new scenery will be enough.
Fold up play mat For when they get bored in the bouncy chair. The removable dangling toys will keep them occupied on the mat and anywhere else. No other toys are needed unless your munchkin has an absolute favorite.
Carrier Even though we didn't use ours, I know that if it were above freezing we would have used it a lot for walking around town, hiking, etc.
Baby blankets Pack a few of these because you'll use at least one for him to lay on and another for naps.

Don't Pack:
Tub I just got in the standard bath tub with my little one for bath time and washed him that way. I passed him to the husband for drying and diapering while I dried and dressed myself afterward.
Monitor You will most likely be able to hear your baby no matter what so save the suitcase space.
Stroller A carrier is way more multipurpose than a stroller and takes up a lot less space. Unless you plan on strolling on a smooth surface for extended periods daily, leave the stroller at home.


Dana Holmes is a lifestyle, gift and etiquette expert and contributor to the Gift Rap Blog. She has been working in trend forecasting and gift recommendations for the past decade. Dana loves making occasions special with her unique gift ideas, tips and touches. She has been interviewed by The New York Times, Associated Press, Fox and Friends, TODAY in NY and many more..