9 Travel Life Hacks + How to Pack for Vacation!!
How to Go on Vacation with an Infant
For some people, a vacation with a baby does not sound like a vacation at all. It’s true that babies require a lot of specialized care and attention, and it can be stressful to handle feeding your baby and getting your baby to sleep in a strange place. With careful planning, though, it’s definitely possible to have a fun and relaxing vacation with an infant in tow.
Planning Your Trip
Choose an infant-friendly location.You can take a baby almost anywhere, but you will have a more successful vacation if you select a location with your infant’s needs in mind. In general, you’ll probably want to avoid destinations that are likely to be very loud or very crowded, and you’ll do better if you skip vacations where you are likely to feel pressured to follow a certain itinerary (such as a scheduled sightseeing tour).
- Beach vacations can be problematic with very young babies. Take into consideration the fact that infants must be protected from sun (and babies under six months old cannot safely use sunscreen) and should not spend much time in salt water.
Pick the best time for your vacation.Once you’ve chosen a destination, you can try to schedule your trip for the best possible time. Ideally, try to go off season, when vacation spots will be less crowded. Factor in the weather conditions, too: your baby will be more comfortable if you avoid extremely hot or extremely cold temperatures.
- Generally speaking, you can schedule as long a vacation as you want. If your baby does not tolerate the unfamiliar surroundings well, though, you may decide to shorten your trip.
Select accommodations with care.When you choose a hotel, motel, or rental property, keep your infant’s needs in mind. You’ll need enough space for all your baby gear, and your baby will need a comfortable place to sleep.
- If possible, try to book accommodations that offer a kitchen with a refrigerator. It may cost a bit more, but unless your infant is breastfeeding exclusively, you’ll need a place to store baby food, snacks, juice, and any medications you may have. Having a kitchen sink will also make bottle preparation and clean up much easier.
- Look for a place that offers cribs for infants. It’s not completely necessary to have a crib, but if your baby sleeps in one at home, he or she will probably sleep best in one on vacation.
- Ideally, you want some distance from crowds. It can be difficult or impossible in a hotel or motel, but your baby will sleep better away from the noise. In addition, if your infant cries at night (as many do, especially in unfamiliar places), you will minimize the possibility that other guests will be disturbed. For this reason (as well as for reasons related to space and kitchen access) rental houses and apartments often work better than hotel rooms.
Arrange transportation.Will you take an airplane, car, train, or bus? If you are within driving distance, it is better to take your car: your baby will be familiar with traveling that way, you can stop whenever you want to for feedings and diaper changes, and you won’t risk causing your baby discomfort with the air pressure changes associated with flying. Trains can be better than buses for longer trips because they are more stable; you can walk up and down the aisles with your baby.
Get your baby a passport.If you are leaving the country, you will need passports for yourselves and also for your baby. This will need to be taken care of well in advance, as the paperwork can take time.
Take your baby to the pediatrician.Bring your infant to the doctor before your trip. A pediatrician can check to make sure that your baby is well and offer you advice for traveling. He or she may have specific guidelines for you to follow if you are taking your baby on an airplane or traveling to a foreign country.
Packing for Your Vacation
Pack comfortable clothes and shoes for yourself.Remember that you will be walking a lot and carrying your infant a lot, so pack comfortable clothes and shoes, and bring extra: life with an infant is messy, even on vacation.
Plan to dress your baby in layers.Consider the climate at your destination, but pack layers for your baby. It may be warm enough outside for your infant to wear only a onesie and socks, but remember that restaurants, stores, and hotels may be overly air conditioned and chilly. Similarly, it may be chilly outside, but indoor spots may be heated and stuffy. And pack extra, especially if you will not have access to laundry facilities. Babies get messy.
Bring enough feeding supplies.Depending on the age of your infant and what he or she is eating, you may need a breast pump, formula, bottles, bibs, and baby food.
- Do some research before you go, and try to determine what will be available at your destination. You may be able to purchase your baby’s formula and baby food there. Still, bring enough for travel, plus extra – you don’t want to be stranded without the necessary supplies if you wind up stuck in traffic or on a delayed flight.
Take a few extra baby blankets and towels.You may need these during travel, and once you arrive at your destination, they may come in handy: as extra bedding in a chilly hotel room, as a surface for diaper changes, and as protection from sunlight.
Decide on necessary equipment.You may want to limit what you pack, especially if you are flying, but your vacation will be infinitely easier if you have your baby’s car seat and stroller. Consider bringing a sling as well, especially for younger infants – it can be an easy way to carry your baby around with you.
- If you haven’t used a sling before but want to bring one, practice with it at home. You will find out right away if your baby hates being in the sling; otherwise, you can get you and your baby accustomed to the feeling, so that it will be natural when you’re on vacation.
Don’t forget sun protection.If you are going someplace warm and sunny, you will need to take extra precautions to protect your infant’s delicate skin and eyes. Bring a sunshade, hats, and sunglasses, and, if your baby is older than six months, bring the highest SPF sunscreen you can find.
Bring your baby’s favorite toys.If your infant has a favorite toy or sleeps with a particular stuffed animal, bring it along. You want to provide some familiar comforts in an unfamiliar environment.
Pack baby wipes.These will come in handy for more than diaper changes – you can use them to clean up a messy baby, or you can wipe your baby’s face to help cool off.
Ask your pediatrician about medications.Your pediatrician can recommend medications to bring along for your baby. Depending on your baby’s age and your vacation destination, you may want over-the-counter fever reducers, disinfectants, treatment for insect bites and rashes, and medicine for diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems.
Enjoying Your Vacation
Set up your space as soon as possible.Once you arrive at your destination, unpack, get organized, and designate places for your baby to sleep, play, and eat. Household routines get disrupted on vacation, and that’s okay, but babies do need time and space for eating and sleeping.
Prioritize your baby’s sleep schedule.Some routines are going to be negotiable, but your vacation will be more fun and more relaxing if you prioritize your infant’s sleep needs. Try to replicate your usual bedtime routine – if you usually give your baby a bottle, a bath, and a lullaby before bed, do that on vacation as well – and don’t neglect nap times.
- If you are traveling with a spouse or partner, you can consider switching off on “nap duty,” with one of you staying with the infant while the other does something fun.
Make meals as stress free as possible.It’s probably best not to take your baby to fancy restaurants; you will only worry about disturbing other diners or paying a fortune for a meal you don’t get to eat because you are outside consoling a cranky infant. Choose pleasant, casual restaurants with a higher noise level.
- Restaurant meals are a big part of vacation fun for many people, but consider doing breakfast and/or lunch in your accommodations, especially if you have a kitchen. This will be much less stressful, and you can plan these meals around a baby’s nap schedule.
Spend plenty of time outdoors.Provided that you protect your infant from the sun, it can be fantastic to enjoy fresh air and sunshine together. And if your baby isn’t sleeping well in a strange crib, he or she may take a better nap in the stroller.
Don’t wed yourself to a schedule.It’s better to take advantage of your baby’s best moods, whenever they occur, than to try to force a cranky baby on a particular outing at a particular time. Try to be as flexible as possible.
Ask about child care.Some hotels and resorts offer child care or can recommend babysitters. If you’d like a day to swim, sightsee, or do something fun with your significant other, this can be a good option.
QuestionCould my baby stay asleep for a 3 hour plane trip?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt could, but the altitude might cause your baby's ears to pop, which is painful and might wake him/her up. I'd make sure to have some distractions/entertainment available just in case.Thanks!
QuestionWhat are some nice things to do for babies in Puerto Rico?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSpend time in the shade outdoors and look for a baby pool.Thanks!
QuestionI want to take my baby on vacation to Puerto Rico. What should I do if she gets scared on the flight?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry putting your baby to sleep for the flight. If it's a short flight she might stay asleep the whole time. If it's long, you can try entertaining her with toys or books.Thanks!
QuestionWhere are some nice vacation spots to take my one year-old?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerBeaches, or maybe the snow, or just a different environment. If you have some overseas relatives, maybe you could go there, drop off your kid and go on a holiday yourself.Thanks!
- Be flexible. To maximize your fun and minimize your frustration, you’ll need to stay flexible and be willing to change or adapt your plans. If you’d planned dinner out, but your baby is fussy, you may have to order in; if your baby takes a longer nap than you’d planned, make the most of it by enjoying the quiet time with your spouse or partner, and don’t worry about the adjustment to your schedule.
- Adjust your expectations. A vacation with a baby will probably not involve non-stop sightseeing or whole, uninterrupted days at the beach. You can still have fun and find time to relax, but be reasonable and realize that an infant does impose some limits on your activities.
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