We love travel and we love adventure. With the new addition to our family, we were confident it wouldn’t slow us down. We have the capacity to adapt, and shifted our perspectives and expectations for travel, knowing that things would look a little different. We refuse to put off traveling and adventure until she gets older, because even though she might not remember it, we’re still creating memories.
I saw a quote recently and feels like it completely embodies our outlook on traveling with a baby:
Destroy the idea that having kids stops you from living your life. Invite them to be a part of it. If you give them the chance to experience what brings you joy, they can find joy it in too.peachypatra
Here are 5 things we’ve learned so far on our adventures with baby:
1. Just do it
The most important thing to traveling with your baby is getting started. The first trip will be the hardest, and it gets easier from there. Pick a familiar activity because you can rely on knowing the ins and outs. I took our baby on our first car trip 10 days after she was born, and then we did our first family adventure together the following day. The first few times you leave home will require extra time, and know that you will inevitably forget something. But each outing is a learning opportunity, reinforcing what was important to bring along and what to pack for next time.
2. Start as soon as you can!
Newborns are generally pretty sleepy, so if yours is, take advantage of that. Them being sleepy is one less factor to contend with. I also liked getting out because it helped me get out of the house and move my body. I had an emergency c-section, and wanted to keep myself moving to help with my recovery. I like to think the more often we got out, the more we were introducing her and getting her familiar with the rhythm in this family and getting comfortable with new environments.
3. Practice using your gear
Practice using your stroller, carrier, and packing your diaper bag. Knowing how your gear handles means it’s one less thing to worry about when you are in new environments. For strollers, it gets you used to looking for ramps and elevators. You also want your items to be sturdy, durable, and washable. If you’re like us, you’re going to be dragging that stroller everywhere. And you’ll want a good carrier for adventuring places that strollers don’t easily go. Everything is going to get dirty, either from environmental conditions or bodily fluids if we’re being honest. Look for equipment that is stain resistant and/or machine-washable.
And always repack the diaper bag when you get home, so you’re never stuck without something essential the next time you run out the door!
We really like resort-style hotels, because there is often a pool, spa, and restaurants on the property. For the first few trips with a baby, it’s nice having all these amenities on site because you may not be able to get out or go too far, and still want to enjoy yourself on vacation. If you end up not being able to go out that day or evening, you don’t have to go far to find food or do a little something. And mom can get to the spa to treat herself!
4a. Sleep gear
Bring all the sleep things like your white noise machine and sleep sack. Often, hotels will provide a crib, however we bring our own bassinet and will bring our own travel crib in the future. If you can, book a 1-bedroom suite so you don’t have to sit in the dark when the baby is sleeping. Otherwise, bring an iPad and earphones if you want to watch something.
5. Reset your expectations
Your vacation itinerary won’t look the same as your pre-baby days, and it shouldn’t. You’ll end up with an overtired baby, and exhausting yourselves. As travelers who loved to jam pack our days, we really learned to slow down and take it easy. You won’t be able to do as many activities so plan accordingly. It’s about quality, and not quantity. It shouldn’t feel like you’re “missing out” on anything because there’s so much joy in being able to experience new or familiar things with your family!
For our first vacation away from home, we picked one “big activity” per day, and considered everything else a bonus. We still wanted to eat at nice restaurants, so all of our dinner reservations were for 5pm. I find that service is a little quicker at that time, and we are wrapping up as the crowd and noise starts to grow.
6. Remember to have fun!
I know this was 5 tips, but it’s worth a reminder. You are doing a great job as a parent trying to show your child new experiences. Yes, it’s a bit more work and planning with a baby, but if you have the right outlook, it’s such a joy to travel with a little one!