Talk about niche blog topics, not only will this article focus on travelling on the road with an infant, but also covers info for musicians taking their babies on tour with them!
When I told people that I was going on tour this winter, they thought I was crazy for several reasons. For one, touring in winter can bring about awful snowstorms and cancelled shows. Secondly, how on earth are we going to travel with a 3-month old baby without the comforts of home?
Looking back, not only did we do it. We would do it again in a heartbeat. However, I would imagine it being more difficult as she gets older (e.g. 7-12 months when more aware of her surroundings).
It wasn’t easy, and it took a ton of planning, but we had the most special family adventure with moments that will last a lifetime.
Let’s break it down.
February 1 – March 25
Two Weeks – Bay Area, California
Five Weeks – North East U.S. – NY, NJ, CT, MA, PA
- Sensible travel – I’ve done tours where I drive 3-4 hours a day – every day in order to reach more schools. This tour, I was much more strict on the areas I would visit. The goal was to stay in one place at a minimum 4-5 days. The less packing/unpacking the better!
- Introducing foods – We knew that we were entering the stage of solid food introduction and made a game plan of introducing only fruits and veggies while living on the road. Introducing common allergens would wait until we got home.
- The stroller – The most important thing of all. We needed something not only compact, but that could double as a bassinet for sleeping if we couldn’t find a crib. We found the perfect one second-hand online.
- The carrier – Our Baby Bjorn carrier rocks. Strap on a baby and go! There were times when this was essential – especially airports.
- The feeding chair – A high chair wasn’t an option as they take up too much room, so we brought a cool little seat that we could plop anywhere. Most meals, she was on top of the kitchen table. It helped keep a bit of consistency to mealtime as we started introducing solid foods.
- The play centre – We did not bring this originally, but saw a really compact foldable one at a consignment baby store. Baby LOVED it and it gave my wife a bit of time to catch up on work when I was out at gigs.
The Pit Stops
- 2 Hour Max – We found that two hours was the maximum driving time before needing a break. We all appreciated to stretch, feed, and have a bathroom/diaper-changing break.
- Starbucks – Coffee and change tables? Need I say more?
- Family Bathrooms – For the first time in my life I used them. They are wonderful. Malls/rest stops that go out of their way to make a private/clean place to change a baby have my newfound respect.
- AirBnb – I couldn’t recommend this enough. I was very transparent when requesting to book that we are travelling with a baby. She cries minimally in the night, but I still don’t want hosts to be surprised by this as it’s not for everyone! We had many private spaces that gave us our own kitchen and even backyards to play in. It also makes a long trip not seem so long when you are discovering new areas as you start to feel at home.
- Hotels – We did two nights overall in hotels which went fine. We were given foldaway cribs upon request. We couldn’t imagine staying any more than 1-2 nights at a hotel after knowing the benefits of AirBnB places.
- Airplanes – We took advantage of family pre-boarding which gave us some time to gate-check the stroller and get settled in our chairs with toys and food accessible. Aisle seats were key in order to get up and walk around with baby. Feeding on takeoff and arrival helped dealing with the air pressure.
- Rental Cars – Making sure that our rental car came with a car seat (about $75 extra). Also enough space to fit my guitar, a hockey bag of music gear and two speakers. That space proved to be tough, but we packed that car like we were playing Tetris!
- Minivan – We had access to a minivan for our big east coast trip (1 month+). It was amazing for carting around little extras that we couldn’t afford in California (e.g. feeding chair, play centre, extra music gear!)
- Children’s Museums – Our GPS would show us “Children’s Museums” under the “nearby attractions” area. She loved the “baby room” in the Nassau, CT children’s museum.
- Aquariums – What a treat to see the Monterey Aquarium! Our baby loved it!
- Parks – Not an option on the cold east coast, but we greatly enjoyed strolls around some beautiful parks and trails in California.
- Swimming Pools – We searched up local YMCA’s and community centres and went to “family swim” several times. We were disappointed a few times with places that wouldn’t allow babies under the age of 6 months.
- Department Stores – We shamelessly went into many department stores to kill some time between shows, as well as check out (or perhaps play with….) the baby toys.
- My gigs of course! She didn’t come to all, but it was so fun seeing my little one at the back of gymnasiums soaking in the kid-friendly music. She didn’t cry at the sight of my puppets so that’s a good start!
As I gear up for another solo tour, I know I will be reminiscing a lot about this special family adventure we had. Thank goodness for FaceTime!