5 Tips from Our First Vacation with Baby
Our First Vacation with Baby in Tow
It’s been a long time coming, but we finally took the plunge and booked our first family vacation with the baby. After taking maternity leave, getting back into the swing of things at work, and just life in general after adjusting to a family of three (okay, five if you count our pups!), it was hard to get around to booking our first family vacation.
Ideally we would’ve taken our daughter, now 13 months old, on her first flight months ago, before she became mobile. I’ve heard it’s much easier, which it probably would’ve been. Oh well, c’est la vie. If I’ve learned anything after having my daughter, it’s that you have to learn to let go a little and go with the flow. I couldn’t exactly go with the flow when it came to my anxiety around the flight, though. My mind was racing with questions around the best times to fly with a baby, ear popping, ear infections, keeping her entertained, aisle or window seat, how will she nap, wait…what if she can’t fall asleep?!
Well, I’m here to tell you that we have returned from our first vacation and first flight with our daughter to share a few tips that I learned for planning and taking kid-friendly vacations.
5 Tips for Your Family Vacation with Baby
- Don’t wait like we did. We were too busy to find a time for our vacation and ended up waiting way. too. long. Just bite the bullet and book it. You deserve it, even if it’s just a short trip or a staycation; I bet it’s still well worth the break.
- Keep it low-key. While planning, or when I briefly realized I should be planning our vacation, I frequently thought of the best pre-baby vacation my husband and I took together and brought our expectations down a few notches. I knew there would be no late nights out on the town, sleeping in until midday, crazy excursions, or laying out by the pool or beach napping on and off with a cocktail from sunrise to sunset. At this point, a staycation would’ve been perfectly fine by us, but we did want to accomplish three things:
- Conquer flying with a baby by taking our daughter on her first flight.
- Go somewhere warm and sunny (an hour flight would’ve sufficed, but we most certainly had to fly over an hour to get the amount of Vitamin D that this momma really, really needed).
- Unplug from work and life for some quality family time.
- Plan accordingly. I knew from a couple short road trips to visit family that the flight and staying at a hotel was likely to throw our daughter’s schedule out the window. So we opted for a shorter trip and a few extra days at home before heading back to work to help us get her back on schedule after returning home from vacation. In my opinion it was most certainly worth forgoing a couple extra days of sun for the extra sleep we gained by getting us back home early to get everyone back on track before we returned to reality.
- Do your research. We chose our destination based on the wonderful recommendation of a colleague who proclaimed it was an incredible environment for kid-friendly vacations. This, on top of some Google searches, was all we needed to know that this place would work for us. Okay, I also called to confirm what I’d read online was true – that a pack n’ play, stroller, and highchairs were readily available upon check-in. It was almost too good to be true, after all. After painstakingly preparing for our first family vacation, the last thing I wanted was to worry about all the baby stuff we needed to bring, or ended up forgetting, or finding ourselves in an environment with other guests that were looking for a kid-free vacation. This destination was so family-friendly, which made packing and transportation almost too easy.
- Go with family if you’ll find it helpful. Or don’t, if that kind of thing stresses you out. I’m of the latter group, so it was just my husband, me, and our daughter. Sometimes it’s great to have aunts, uncles, or grandparents around to help watch the kids and to give mom and dad some alone time, and we saw plenty of parents doing just that. This may come in handy for us in the future, but this time we felt that we needed to enjoy a trip together just the three of us without the usual daily interruptions.
And that flight that I was so nervous about? Our departure time was at 6 a.m., and she took two 30 minute naps, which was great! And the rest of the time, she was a rock star. We revealed a new (quiet) toy that we purchased along with some of her favorite board books in our carry-on, which, combined with lots of her favorite snacks, kept her occupied for the remainder of the flight. And having a relatively short travel time definitely worked in our favor, too. Our return flight was at 6 p.m., and while she did well, I think I’ll be sticking with the early morning flights in the future!
In the end, our vacation with baby was everything we expected, and more. Remember how I mentioned that we brought our expectations down a bit from our best vacation together? Turns out that helped. A lot. But we still managed some naps, pool time, and cocktails. Now it’s time to plan our next getaway!
- Read more posts from Laura including Baby on the Move: Tips for Babyproofing Your Home.
- Check out our Family Trips & Vacations Pinterest board.
- E-family news: Road Trips with Kids: Planning Guide & Packing Tips