At first glance, a vacation with a baby may seem like the ultimate stressor. But depending on your circumstances and how comfortable you are with leaving your little one, a break can also be an opportunity for rest and relaxation with your partner.
In fact, getting away from home and daily responsibilities is healthy for any parent, regardless of child-rearing status.
If you’re planning on taking that getaway but don’t know where to start, look no further! We have compiled some great ideas to help you prepare for your first vacation with a baby.
From booking hotels to packing efficiently and exploring local attractions, this article covers all the bases.
Read on to discover valuable tips and tricks that will leave you ready and excited for that new adventure!
Research your destination and local amenities
Before plunging into specific tips and tricks, take some time to research your destination and local amenities. This will help you better understand the culture and environment in which you will be spending your time.
For example, if you’re traveling to a tropical area, you might want to know that mosquitos and sand flies can seriously harm your child’s health.
Does your destination have good access to healthcare? Are there any cultural norms that you should be aware of?
You may be surprised by how many of these questions are already answered in a basic Google search. You may also want to consider booking your trip during a time of year when your baby will be less likely to be exposed to bugs or other potential dangers.
For example, if you’re going to a warmer location in the summer, you want to ensure adequate cooling available to avoid overheating. There are a lot of factors to consider when planning a vacation with a baby.
Still, the best way to get started is by researching and asking yourself questions about your destination and the potential hazards your baby may face.
Check travel requirements with your airline or other transport providers to prepare appropriately.
Depending on your destination, you may have to book a separate seat for your infant. You may also need to provide documentation proving your baby’s vaccination status.
You can check these requirements directly with your airline or other transport providers to ensure that you are prepared appropriately.
This can include looking into TSA rules regarding what you can bring through security at an airport with a baby and how you need to be ready for an easier transition.
If you are traveling by train or coach, contact your operator and ask what provisions will be on board so you can prepare what to take.
Will you have access to running water or a toilet, and will you be able to move around if the baby gets fussy? Knowing what to expect can help you prepare for the journey easier.
Create a packing list for baby
Before packing your bag, create a packing list for your baby. When you’ve got a list of everything you need to pack for your infant, it’s much easier to avoid forgetting something important.
Plus, if you make a list for your partner to review, you can make sure that nothing gets left behind. When creating your list, there are a couple of things to remember.
First, use your knowledge of your baby’s needs to tailor the list to their needs.
For example, if your baby requires a specific type of formula, be sure to pack enough for the length of your trip. If you breastfeed, make sure you have a portable breast pump and storage containers to pump on the go. If you forget and run out, you may face difficulties in finding a place to restock.
Second, ensure all the items on your list are lightweight and easy to travel with. If your baby has a lot of delicate clothing, you may consider packing appropriately sized Ziploc bags to keep your garments clean and protected during your travels.
Bring a lightweight stroller and car seat if applicable.
A stroller can hope you get your baby from A to B and manage all your luggage simultaneously. However, you don’t want to take a big bulky stroller that can be tricky to collapse at a moment’s notice.
Choose a lightweight stroller you can quickly put up and fold away when needed. Especially if you are flying, check out these tips for buying a baby stroller to help you find the suitable model for your lifestyle and travel.
Don’t forget your car seat too. If you are flying, you may need to book an additional seat, so it’s best to check beforehand with your carrier, regardless of how you are traveling, for their rules on strollers and car seats.
Pack a to-go bag with baby essentials and medication
If you’ve ever traveled with a baby, you know there are many hygiene items you need to bring with you. The biggest challenge will be fitting all your essentials into your suitcase.
Pack a to-go bag with baby essentials like diapers, wipes, clothing, and other hygiene products to avoid leaving anything behind. Diaper rash ointment, baby food (if you’re planning on feeding your baby solids), and a first aid kit (including items like pain relievers and antibiotic ointment) are all excellent items to have as well.
You’ll also want to pack any medication your baby may need, such as anti-fungal cream or pain relievers. You may also want to include information about your baby’s medical history in case you need medical attention while on vacation.
Make sure baby is well-rested in the days before
Before you go away on vacation, try to ensure your baby is well-rested in the days leading up to your trip. This will help minimize restlessness and extra commotion in the days before your flight, which can be stressful for everyone.
Also, well-rested babies tend to cry less, which can be a lifesaver when you’re on a long flight or traveling by car. If you have a baby sleeping through the night, try to keep sleeping patterns consistent in the days before your trip.
This will make it more likely that your baby will rest well in transit, leaving you to enjoy your trip without worry. If your baby is still waking at night, you can try to get them to rest more in the days before your trip.
This may mean going to bed earlier, giving yourself extra time to get ready in the morning, or giving yourself a bit more quiet time each day before you have to be active with your baby again.
Let go of all expectations.
Traveling with a baby is different from traveling with an older child or an adult. It will likely be a very different experience, and that’s okay.
You’ll want to let go of all expectations and be in the moment. That way, you can focus on enjoying your trip and being present in the experience of traveling with your baby.
It can be helpful to remember that your baby doesn’t understand the concept of traveling to a different place. For them, it’s just a change of scenery.
Your baby’s attention span is likely to be relatively short, and you’ll want to be prepared for lots of breaks and naps.
Don’t forget toys and baby food for the trip.
If you are bringing toys along for your trip, make sure they are lightweight and don’t have too many small pieces that could easily be lost. Make sure to pack a few toys that are appropriate for your child’s age and that they will enjoy playing with.
If you plan on feeding your baby food while traveling, bring enough of what they need. These are the things that will make your baby happy and help them to feel comfortable.
You can also bring a couple of comfort items, like a favorite pillow or blanket, to help make them feel at home while traveling.
Discuss childcare responsibilities for your trip with your partner
If you are traveling with a baby, discussing with your partner what childcare responsibilities will be shared among everyone is essential. You should ensure you are on the same page regarding childcare and duties for the trip.
This is especially important if you have never traveled with children. It can be vastly different for everyone, and you need all the support to make it as enjoyable as possible.
Vacations with babies can be challenging, especially if there aren’t many other children or you aren’t on the same page regarding what to expect from each other.
Talk about what to expect, sharing duties, and how you approach different situations such as meal times or staying up late to socialize if you are traveling in a large group. This can reduce any issues or arguments that can spoil the trip.
Traveling with a baby can be scary and take a lot of preparation; however, that doesn’t mean it won’t be worth it in the long run, whether you are visiting family or friends, taking a cultural trip, or heading to a beach vacation.
Being prepared is half the battle; if you get as organized as possible, you can have the best time.