Traveling with a baby can seem like a daunting task. Even thinking about it make the heart beat a little faster, but having extensively traveled with children myself, I’m here to tell you- it doesn’t have to be that way! Whether you are a stay at home mom, or working parent- you worked hard for your time “off” and you deserve a vacation just as much as anyone! I gotcha covered!
Ten Tips to Enjoy Time Away with Your Baby
When choosing accommodations ask yourself where you want the bulk of your time on vacation to be spent. Do you want to spend as much time as possible relaxing by the beach or do you prefer to be in the city where all the action is? Then choose lodging that places you smack dab in the center of the activities and sites where you want to be. With baby, chances are you will be making at least one trip back to the room during the day so being centrally located may cost a little more upfront but will save you on your most precious resource of all- you time.
Set Realistic Expectations:
Traveling with children is not the same as traveling alone so make sure to be flexible as possible. Expect to have a great time but remember that you don’t have to cram everything in to one trip. Take time to think about the things that are most important to you and leave second tier activities to fall into place if time allows or save them for another time altogether.
Prepare for Sleep:
If you’re up for it, have a few trial days in which you help your baby prepare for a different sleeping arrangement. Will you be in a different time zone? What is the set up of the room you’ll be staying in? Will he have his own room or bed or be with you? Having a portable crib might be cumbersome- but for some it’s a good idea. Not only is it familiar to your baby, it can save you loads of money too as some hotels charge you an arm and a leg to use theirs!
Stick to a routine:
Baby’s need routine. No matter how exciting a new place can be, being thrown off schedule can wreck havoc on a generally good disposition. It’s difficult for little ones to get used to all the activity and different sleep schedules anyway so keeping to a schedule that will help your family thrive! Planning your day around what the baby’s needs are will help you utilize each hour wisely.
Eat Up & Eat In:
It’s not necessary to get up and go out to breakfast to get the day going, but it is important to get the day started right by nourishing your bodies with food that will give you as much stamina as possible to meet unexpected opportunities or challenges head on. If you have a kitchen in your room put it to good use or grab some power bars and bananas at the grocery store when you get in to town. Not only will it save you time but money…and who doesn’t love that?!
Let Baby Set the Schedule:
It may seem counterintuitive to let the baby set the schedule- you are on vacation after all! I assure you planning the bulk of your activity around when your baby is generally the happiest will give you an overall better experience. If there is a specific restaurant you want to try out while you are in town but baby is fussy at dinnertime, go for lunch instead. You can also call and ask if they allow baby in during happy hour so you can sample the menu. Not only will your baby thank you but your pocketbook will as well!
Let the baby think it’s nap time while your out. Get the stroller- aka bed on wheels- ready with a blanket to black out light, go to a semi quiet place, fill his tummy and you just may be able to site see or enjoy a quiet lunch while your babe is snoozing! No need to go back to the room if you’re already out and about.
It is hard enough for a little one to get used to all the activity and different sleep schedules so be wise with your time. It might be a good idea to plan quiet activities- like that art museum you’ve been dying to see- for afternoons while the baby is napping.
The name of the game here is to occupy them with something they haven’t seen before or don’t already own. New toys or objects can be a lifesaver in a pinch. Even just a few minutes in order to avoid a major meltdown and plan your next move could mean the difference between an enjoyable outing and a complete nightmare! You don’t have to spend money either. If the baby is too little to open a lid try putting pebbles or rice in a used water bottle and close the lid tightly and voila- you have a music maker!
Lastly and most importantly… Have fun! I know it might not be the easiest with a baby in hand, however it can be done. Don’t give up on your vacation if the baby is a bit fussy or sleepless. They will get used to it and you WILL be able to find time to enjoy yourself. Don’t stress out about what others think if your baby gets fussy. Just do the best you can and take a deep breath and be in the moment.
I sincerely hope this list serves as a useful resource for you as you plan for your upcoming vacation! Do you have any useful tips that I didn’t cover? I’d love to hear them. Just leave a comment below 🙂