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Saturday, February 10, 2018

a packing list: an extended road trip with a baby & a dog

We just got back from a 10 day road trip around the entire island of Taiwan, and we took our eight month old daughter and large dog with us! This was our first time traveling with either the dog or the baby, let alone both of them together. I spent days thinking about exactly what we would need to bring for our two special travel companions, and in the end, I think we did a great job because we didn't have to buy anything on the road for either the dog or the baby, and we used every single thing we packed at least once.

Vet Records
Travel Bowls
Dry Food
Wet Food
Water Bottles
Wet Wipes 
Dust Wipes
Poop Bags
Pee Pads

We put all of these items except for his bed in an easy to carry plastic tub. I think, ultimately, the most important items we brought were the blanket we used to cover the back seat of the rental car to protect it from damage and the towel we left in the back seat of the car to wipe him down with before we let him back in the car. For peace of mind, we scoped out veterinary practices in each town we were staying in before we left in case anything happened, and we brought his vet records in a folder just in case. We laid out pee pads at every place we stayed just in case he had an accident in the middle of the night, but he never did. Even though every accommodation we used was pet friendly, we still did a brief wipe down before we left using the wet wipes and dust wipes. Bubu was a great traveler, and we will definitely hit the road with him again in the future.

One piece of wisdom I gained from this trip? Many AirBnbs advertise their places as "pet friendly", however, clarify with each property owner what that means before booking. In Taiwan, I discovered that 25 percent of the time "pet friendly" meant I was expected to leave my dog on the porch for the duration of our stay. In my opinion, that is absurd, so I reported the properties to AirBnb for further assessment.

Medical Records
Car Seat
Travel Crib
Sheets (2 Sets)
Travel High Chair
Ergo Baby Carrier
Stroller w Rain Cover & Sun Cover
Diaper Bag 
Diapers (1 Pack)
Diaper Rash Cream
PJs (2)
Pants (3)
Onesies (5)
Long Sleeve Shirts (3)
Socks (5)
Blanket (2)
Spoons (3)
Sippy Cup
Small Tupperware
Bibs (5)
Books (3)
Baby Tylenol
Gripe Water
Saline Nasal Spray
Booger Sucker
Nail Clipper
Baby Towel
Baby Wash
Wash Cloth

We put all of these items except for the large ones in another plastic tub. The reason we did not bring more clothing is because we knew half of our AirBnbs had washers and dryers, so we could do laundry. As far as the food goes, we prepare our daughter fresh meals every day. All of our AirBnbs had kitchens, so we were able to prepare her breakfast, lunch, and dinner before leaving each morning. We brought dates, sweet potatoes, broccoli, broad beans, tofu, string cheese, blueberries, pears, chicken, baby pasta, baby cereal, banana, kiwi, rice crackers, cream cheese, and frozen peas. Obviously, we had a little cooler bag that we could stick in the fridge. We also looked up hospitals in each town we were staying in for peace of mind; the only place we stayed with no access to immediate health care was our last stop in Alishan.

Many AirBnbs advertise their places as having kitchens, but in reality all that means is that they provide a mini fridge and tea kettle. We made the mistake of not clarifying what "kitchen" meant, so some mornings, we had to boil our daughter's food in the tea kettle in order to prepare it for her. However, most places had a full kitchen including all the pots, pans, and cutlery we could ever need. I would just clarify with the property owner what a "kitchen" means if you are counting on being able to cook.

Laundry Soap
Dish Soap
Garbage Bags
While it is undeniable that traveling with a baby and a dog or just either one changes things, we had a great time and found neither to be a burden. I would recommend families to be brave enough to give it a try. Just make sure to set aside any expectations that the experience will be anything like travels without these kinds of companions.

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