Traveling without kids is relatively easy, and something most people are good at, and practised at. However, it all changes when you have a little one to consider. Traveling with babies and toddlers requires a lot more planning to ensure your hard earned break goes as well as possible.
These tips are not in any particular order, just my top tips as they have come to me.
Pack The Essentials
You know what your little one can’t live without, and what isn’t important, so try to take all the essentials. Your baby is going to be a bit confused anyway by the changes to routine, so if having blankie and teddy will make her feel more at home, make sure they get packed. You may also need your baby monitor for your own peace of mind, and easy-care clothes as washing may be a challenge.
A travel crib may be an essential especially if it doubles up a playard. If your little one is on the move you may need a playpen quite a lot as well, if where you are staying is not particularly toddler-proof!
Leave Non-Essentials Behind
Depending on how you are traveling, and how much luggage you can take with you, you may have to leave some items behind. Can you use the car seat or buggy at meal times, and leave the high chair at home? It will all depend on where you are staying.
If you are staying with friends with children you may well be able to borrow items like highchairs, and leave a lot of the big essentials at home.
Hire a Big Enough Rental Vehicle
If you need to hire a vehicle, make sure it is large enough to hold all the extra baby gear you need, as well as your own suitcases. You will now be traveling with a lot more than you ever used to in your pre-baby days.
Can You Buy When You Get There?
In most cases you will be able to shop fairly soon after arrival, so take a limited supply of diapers and formula, and buy on arrival. Any bulky or heavy items would be much better bought once there. I usually take a very limited supply of toiletries whenever I go away, and buy when I get there. It is also a great excuse to go look around the shops and get familiar with the area.
Plan Activities That Will Work For You
The activities you will do when on vacation with a little one will be very different from before baby. If they are happy, you will be happy and enjoy yourself, so plan events that will keep you all amused. Trips to the zoo or even the park always work well.
Rent Somewhere With An Extra Room
I don’t know about you, but we all sleep better when the little one isn’t in our room, so try and rent a 2 bedroom apartment if you can. If that isn’t possible, at least try to get a one bedroom, rather than a hotel room. Going to bed at 7pm when baby does is not my idea of a fun vacation. Sitting in the dark trying to be quiet doesn’t work for me either
Make sure you pack the baby monitor for peace of mind if baby is in another room.
Plan Meals and Food
How well does your baby do at eating out? It can sometimes be quite hard work if you are all trying to eat at the same time in a restaurant. Maybe you could sometimes feed her first at the apartment, and then go out to a restaurant afterwards. This will mean you will hopefully be able to enjoy your meal.
Respect Baby’s Schedule
Babies can cope with a bit of schedule disruption, but if you can, get baby back on schedule whenever possible. In our house if she doesn’t get enough sleep, we all feel it the next day, so we try really hard to make sure it happens. Plan your days as much as possible to allow baby to keep to her regular routine.
Make Allowances for A Different Environment
Just remember you are all in a different environment, but you understand what is happening, they don’t. It may take them longer to adjust to a different temperature, humidity etc. Be kind and understanding.
Be Flexible and Have Fun
Enjoy the experience of taking your baby on vacation. It can be hard work, but very enjoyable as well. Just go with the flow. If your baby wants extra naps, go with it.
Is there anything else that you do, and I haven’t mentioned? Please let me know.