Family Magazine

How to Enjoy a Stress Free Vacation with a Baby

By Peppertan

Babies sure are a lot of work, nobody could deny that, and when even a short trip to the local market can mean packing two bags of supplies and taking an entire afternoon of your life, the thought of going on vacation probably seems at best exhausting and at worst, well, impossible.

The good news is that traveling when your child is quite small is actually often easier than when they are a little older, so long as you are open to it being a different experience to pre-baby getaways, and are able to plan and organize a few things ahead of time Here are some basic guidelines to help you make it happen.

Choose a Destination That Suits You All

Planning a vacation with a baby inevitably means compromising on your destination or the type of break possible, but it is still important to go somewhere that will be fun for everyone. Babies are generally easy to please, so while a beach or ski only resort type vacation, or a long haul flight to a country where you can’t drink the water are probably impractical, there’s not much else that is completely off limits, so don’t be too hasty when deciding on a destination.

If you decide to go somewhere exotic don’t forget to seek medical advice about the vaccinations needed, and when a young child is old enough to actually have them.

Consider Self Catering Options

Hotels, motels and similar types of accommodation may not be the most practical in terms of space and facilities when you have a baby to consider, so instead make a point of looking at self catering options. The rapid growth in sites offering full and exclusive use of self contained apartments and houses makes it even easier than ever to rent a private space that is much more user friendly for a family. Do check that the place is completely childproofed, though, if your little one is able to move independently.

While self catering may not sound like much of a relaxing break, it has more good points than bad. For example, if eating out is impractical, there are bound to be plenty of carry out/delivery options available, and as most places include a cleaning fee in the total charge there’s no need to spend hours a day on tiresome domestic chores. Overall, having access to laundry facilities and enough home comforts to properly relax are bound to make the vacation more fun than being confined to one room.

Pack Wisely

Both what and how you pack can make your trip much easier. All parents soon learn just how much paraphernalia a baby needs for even a short visit to see family or friends, but traveling doesn’t actually mean taking that much more. Choose easy to launder, comfortable and uncreasable clothes for the baby, along with some favorite toys. If you will be able to wash and dry clothes while away, prioritize packing only the 20% of items in your wardrobe that are worn regularly.

Pack a couple of your baby’s favorite snacks if they are at that stage already, for emergency use as necessary.

Don’t be tempted to force everything into one suitcase, it’s always safer to have something for everyone in two or three smaller cases in case one goes missing or is lost somehow. Some people like to bag up each entire outfit, making it easy to locate everything you need for a quick change. This would work equally well with adult’s clothing as well as a baby’s.

Make a note of what you are packing as you go along; this is an invaluable help when you are trying to find everything that needs to be brought home again at the end of your trip, especially if you are staying in a private rental, with the owner’s things around too.

Make Unpacking a Priority

It may seem counterintuitive, but unpacking generally makes it easier to be organized than living out of a suitcase does. Having familiar items around helps to settle a baby, and you will appreciate not having to dig through mounds of clothes, shoes and baby items to find anything. As a bonus note – unpacking also helps to prevent clean and worn clothes getting mixed up, so you will always know what is wearable.

Don’t Change Routines

This isn’t always easy, after all vacation is meant to be the time when you can sleep later than usual, eat when you feel like it and generally please yourself. If you have a baby who thrives on change, then you may get away with that, but otherwise be prepared to work around any routines you have already got in place. [If your travel plans involve crossing at least one time zone the jet lag, and consequent interruption of regular set routines will make a mockery of this advice!]

Get Mobile

Vacations offer a lot of time to explore a city and soak up the culture and history in local museums and galleries, enjoy the coastline or architecture, and see any famous sights and landmarks that are close by. All of these things and more are possible to do with a baby, especially if you have come prepared and brought along the best travel stroller you found online. A portable, lightweight and easy to maneuver stroller makes getting around much easier, safer, and faster than carrying the baby on your body.

Keep Baby Safe

If you plan to get a car rental, it’s best to reserve a car safety seat ahead of time. If your child has regular medications, make sure these are packed and carried in hand luggage, along with everyday items such as sun block and appropriate bug repellent.

These tips should help you plan and enjoy a peaceful, fun vacation with your baby, and allow you to spend this valuable family time relaxing, rather than being stressed out. The next time you take a break together, you may have two children to consider, but that’s a whole new ball game to think about once this vacation is all done!

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