What is normal for planning backpacking with a baby?

In July we are planning a trip to Portugal, not that much of a problem? However we are driving. Driving in a 2cv. Driving in a 2cv with a 3 month old. The 2cv is currently in bits… I know this is doable as many of my friends have achieved similar ventures. This is because we are all in the 2cv club, this sounds cool you say, well it is. Traveling the world in a 2cv is something I have grown up with, I started when I was a young child my first 2cv world meeting was back in 1995 in Slovenia. I barely remember this as I was six at the time. All I remember is my grandma being upset as it was close to a war zone (back when Yugoslavia was a place and there was still wars going on in surrounding areas) but I don’t remember anything bad happening. What I do remember is how annoyed I was that I missed out of seeing some blind fish in a funky cave, because I had measles. Since then I have been approximately every two years, lesser so more recently, as jobs and such started to get in the way (being a nurse is not a very flexible profession). I have planned a budget to try and afford the trip but it still very much depends on many factors, hopefully on the 17th of July we will be setting off, I am ever optimistic.

So the first hurdle is feeding my little Joanie. As I have mentioned before I have struggled with breastfeeding however am getting there and even if I have not managed to get her back on the breast by then I still plan to express and bottle feed. This is going to be difficult as we are camping and have no electricity. So my plan is to use rechargeable batteries in my breast pump and charge them while we are driving. Sterilising may be harder than when you have the advantage of a microwave and electricity, however I will be using Milton on advice from my mum who used to bottle feed me and my sister while traveling (although I was six when we started traveling my sister was still young). So it seems a possibility if I haven’t got her breastfeeding from me yet. I still have high hopes for this and things are going well so far. In regards to breastfeeding her on demand while traveling I think it is wise to just be incredibly flexible with stop offs, there are plenty of places to stop to breast feed on the way down and we plan on doing lots of stop offs to see different bits and bobs. I have been to France so many times especially the west coast so I know the best places to stop. My only concern is getting over the Pyrenees, from past experience driving over the Alps I know it takes a long time driving through mountain passes; especially if a landslide has closed the route you planned, which did happen and added at least three hours on to our journey time. Breastfeeding however should be ok in this example as there are lots of viewing stations situated all over the ranges to stop and eat and pee and so on.

The second hurdle is route planning to avoid long stretches of traveling in the car. This shouldn’t be hard it’s easy to stop anywhere as I’ve said above and I imagine we will be stopping a lot for at least an hour a time. So our overall travel time a day will be around 3-4 hours not including breaks. This is a massive drop from the last trip we made where we were traveling between 4-8 hours a day (knackering). We will have to plan for extra time in case things don’t work out and we take longer than expected; we got stuck driving around the outer areas of Venice last time when we got stuck in the Alps and couldn’t find a campsite.

The third hurdle is making sure we know where we are going and where plenty of campsites are and when they close (this was a massive misjudgement last time when we pretty much ‘winged it’) it’s easy enough to find campsites, it just takes a lot of research and plotting on a map. It’s never wise to just pick one as often they aren’t open or they are full; which is another good reason to get there earlier rather than later.

Other things to consider are if we or she gets ill which is sorted if you have a NHS EHIC card and the correct travel insurance. I’m sure there are many more things to consider that I haven’t thought about yet.

Hopefully our route will take us down the west coast of France to stay with our friends in Bordeaux then continue on down to Ericeira near Lisbon where the 2cv world meeting will be, obviously in more steps than that!

Love Kate x

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Me and Tom years ago

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