- Cindy Lim and Tristan Yeats are travelling to all 50 states with their baby daughter Harper.
- They factor in pediatrician appointments and playtime when on the road.
- They recommend packing as little as possible and keeping expectations realistic, while also enjoying the uninterrupted family time.
Harper Yeats ate her first solid food in Alaska. She rolled over for the first time in Iowa. And with any luck, she’ll become the youngest person ever to visit all 50 states, reaching all of them before she’s 6 months old. (She’ll arrive at number 50 on Thursday.)
But her parents, Cindy Lim and Tristan Yeats, aren’t driving across the country with her to every state for the record. They just wanted to take advantage of Lim’s maternity leave and spend some time being full-time parents while also indulging their love of travel.
Lim and Yeats are originally from Australia but live in Canada when they’re not on the road. You can follow the adventures of their “Newborn Traveller in Training” on Instagram.
INSIDER spoke to Lim and Yeats about how they managed this epic road trip with a newborn and their advice for new parents who want to keep travelling. Here are 10 ways to make a road trip with a baby feasible – and fun.
Keep your expectations realistic.
“We’ve done a fair bit of travel before [having Harper] and we would try to pack as much into a day as possible because you’re only on vacation for a limited amount of time,” said Lim. “But now we say if it takes us four hours to get from one place to another, with Harper it will take eight.”
Pack as little as possible and buy things as you need them.
They recommend buying things as you need them rather than buying everything in advance and bringing it everywhere.
“We try to pack as little as possible, because you could bring everything, but I find that more stressful,” Lim said. “We’ve managed to work out less clothes, less diapers, less toys, less everything, and to just buy things as you need them.”
Taking breaks slows down a cross-country drive, but Lim and Yeats say it’s all about the journey, anyway.
“We’ll drive for an hour, break for an hour or two and play with her, drive for another hour and break for another hour or two, so it just ends up being slower,” said Lim. “We really have to make the car trip the vacation as much as the destination is the vacation. We try to make being in the car fun so we don’t feel like we’re missing out on anything.”
Babies can be unpredictable. One minute they’re happy and quiet, the next minute they’re crying for any number of reasons. Lim and Yeats have learned that flexibility is important when making travel plans.
“With a baby you never quite know what you’re going to get,” said Yeats. “Don’t try to commit to doing too much.”
Take bad days in stride.
“There are challenging days,” said Lim. “She obviously is still a baby, so there are ups and downs. We try to remind ourselves that even if she was at home she would still be having challenging days.”
Prioritise your child’s well-being.
There was one day in Colorado when Harper simply had enough and wouldn’t stop crying. Lim and Yeats stopped driving for an hour and a half to comfort her.
“We’ve always said we would do this trip as long as she was ok and as long as we were ok, and if at any stage it got too much for her we’d just turn around and go home,” said Lim. “Inevitably the next day she wakes up and everything’s fine. Tough days followed by great days – we just try to be kind to ourselves.”
Spend at least two nights in each destination.
Because travelling with a baby moves at a slower pace, Lim and Yeats opt to spend more time in each place so that they’re not too rushed and get a break from the road.
“We aim typically to spend at least two nights in every destination so that we’re not driving every day,” Yeats said.
Factor in pediatrician appointments.
Lim and Yeats return to Toronto once a month for checkups with Harper’s pediatrician and to get her vaccinations.
“Harper’s our priority,” said Lim. “We knew she had monthly checkups with her doctor and we said that’s just something we’ll have to factor into our costs.”
Ignore negative comments.
Lim and Yeats don’t respond to negative comments on social media, but say that people often message them privately to express concerns about their parenting choices.
“That’s mostly what we see, is people being worried about Harper being in the carseat all day every day, people worrying about her not having her doctor’s appointments, not getting vaccinated, her getting a flat head, all of those things,” Lim said.
But they didn’t let that stop them from embarking on an epic road trip.
“A lot of people told us that you shouldn’t do it, it will be too difficult, wait until Harper’s old enough to remember it, all sorts of things like that,” Yeats said. “Go for it. Take a chance, and if it gets too hard and doesn’t work out, you go home and you’re no worse off than when you started.”
Enjoy the family time.
“Being on vacation means the two of us are there full time to share the load and to do it all together. Having the time together has been great for us to bond as a family,” Yeats said. “We hope that this is just the first of many adventures that we do with Harper, and hopefully when she’s grown up she’ll go off and do her own adventures.”
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