Hopping on a plane, saying yes to a road trip, or setting off on a cruise with a baby in tow can cause even the calmest of parents to spin out. But, a combination of preparation and flexibility can cause your trip to be filled with enjoyment and relaxation, instead of irritation and meltdowns.
To set yourself up for success when traveling with your baby, try out the following tips.
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1. Book A Non-Stop Flight That Suits Baby’s Sleep Schedule.
When possible, select a non-stop flight that is in the air when baby usually sleeps. Few things are as stressful as having a fussy baby on a plane, so being en route when they usually nap, or are down for the night, will infuse ample relief during transit.
2. Plan Around Baby’s Eat-Sleep-Play Schedule.
Loosely building your daily itinerary around your baby’s eat-sleep-play schedule can help ensure you have a happy (or sleeping!) baby as you sightsee, lie on the beach, or try out the local cuisine. If you’re not quite sure about the timing of this schedule, start tracking it about a week before you leave for your trip.
3. Don’t Overbook Yourself.
In addition to molding your itinerary around your baby’s eat-sleep-play schedule, you’ll also be doing yourself a favor by keeping your itinerary short and sweet. Rushing from one activity to the next, and being on a tight timeline, can easily go awry with a baby who couldn’t care less about your timing needs. You could try planning one big activity each day, and leaving the rest of your time open for spontaneity, which can totally include a long nap in your hotel room!
4. Choose Baby Friendly Activities.
Unless you’ll have childcare during your trip, keep baby in mind as you schedule activities. For example, seeing a show or going to an art museum might create more stress than sightseeing in an outdoor location baby can safely explore, or playing in the pool. And, if you’re scheduling paid activities, make sure they have a generous refund policy in case baby decides to change your plans at the last minute.
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5. Make A Packing List And Bring The Right Gear.
About a week before you leave start thinking about the items you’ll need for each phase of your trip, and write it all down. This pre-planning gives you time to purchase new items you may need and cross off items you decide are non-essentials. You can also organize your list by category (e.g., airplane, bedtime, beach, car travel, etc.), which can simplify packing and the eventual retrieval of items. Check out our list of ideas of items to pack. A baby monitor that you can take with you is a major
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6. Replicate Baby’s Sleep Environment, As Much As Possible.
While it’s impossible to create an exact replica of baby’s nursery while traveling, bringing along some key items can help create an ambiance of familiarity, that will hopefully make it easier for your baby to slip into slumber. For example, if your baby usually sleeps with a special blanket and sound machine, in a dark room, you can bring along the blanket and sound machine (or find a sound machine app on your phone), and hang a blanket over the curtains while baby’s sleeping – if you’re not staying in a hotel that has black out shades.
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Choose Accommodations With A Private Bedroom.
If possible, select a hotel room or vacation rental that has a private bedroom for baby to snooze. This way, you can enjoy a movie, play a game, or have a lively conversation with your partner while baby recharges. You want to enjoy your vacation, and having to whisper and tip toe around every time baby is sleeping can dampen that enjoyment.