traveling with a toddler.

Last year, we went on vacation with our then 7 month PB. It was our first vacation with our baby, and, as we imagined, it was very different. But, for the most part, it was relatively easy. Sure there was more planning and logistics involved, but overall it went pretty smoothly. PB slept a lot during travel time, and he sat like a bump on a pickle down at the beach. Easy breezy.

This year, as we were planning our vacation back to that same beach, I assumed we’d need to again plan and work out some arrangements, but I expected our trip would flow pretty easily this time, too.

Enter tip number one:

LOWER DROP ALL OF YOUR EXPECTATIONS.

We always break up our trips at Ben’s dad’s house. We expected him to nap on the ride down, which he did not do. So, instead, we put him to bed at 9:00 p.m., and he woke up at 12:00 a.m., thinking he’d just taken a ‘nap’. He was ready to play just as Ben and I began dozing off. So, we were up all night long. Literally, we did not sleep the entire night.

We expected he’d sleep well in the car. He did not.

We expected we were taking a ‘vacation’. We did not. We prefer now to call it ‘quality time with family’, as we ‘worked’ more on vacation than we do at home.

We expected that he’d sleep well on our trip. He did not. Not for 2 weeks.

We expected that he’d enjoy playing in the sand, and that we’d be able to sit still for at least 5 minutes. He did not and we did not. He preferred to run from the ocean, to the sand, and to the pool, back and forth, allllll day long.


The bottom line: drop any expectations of a vacation. I know that a vacation pre-baby is 100% different than a ‘vacation’ with baby. And any expectations I have of what I once knew a vacation to be are non-existent. Reading a book, whilst plopping my behind in a beach chair, and dozing off during the day= never happening again. But, it’s okay. It’s actually better than okay. I wouldn’t trade seeing my boy squeal with excitement when a wave knocks him for anything.

Tip number two:

PLAN AHEAD FOR STOPS.

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far traveling with PB was trying to go from point A to point B as fast as we could, making minimal to zero stops. Bad idea. We’ve learned it’s best for us if we plan stops to rest and play a little. When traveling this time, I did a little research while we were on the road and I planned out kid-friendly stops for us. Chick-fil-a is a must, as it’s one of the only places left that has a kid area. I also scouted out the nicest rest stops I could, and we were able to get out for a while and let PB run wild in the shade. We stopped about every 2 hours and spent some energy. It made the trip so much more pleasant for all of us.

Tip number three:

PACK WISELY.

One of the unexpected joys of traveling with a baby is the amount of stuff you’ve gotta take. Seriously, I feel like we could pack our car full solely using PB’s things. I tried to pack as lightly and condensed as I could for this trip. I used the rolling method for packing his clothes (rolling the clothes up instead of folding them), and that was a big space saver. I packed all of his necessities first (clothes, diapers, shoes, sound machine, sippy cups, etc.) and then I crammed toys and books in anywhere I could fit them. I had things stuffed everywhere, but I was able to pack more in a smaller space.

and finally,

Tip number four:

SOAK IT UP AND ENJOY IT.

There were several times on vacation that I let myself get frazzled. We’d spend all morning chasing a wild man around the hotel, trying to feed everybody, lather up in sunscreen, and haul a load of stuff down to the beach. Some days, by the time we’d get everything and everybody to the beach, we’d no sooner turn around, and we’d be coming up for lunch and a PB nap. It seemed like we spent most of our time at the beach trying to get down to the beach. I let myself get too uptight, running around trying to ‘prepare’ for vacation that I lost sight of why I was there: to spend time with my family, and watch my baby boy experience so many new things. Focusing on that reminds me that life is so precious and it is meant to be nothing but enjoyed.

Do you guys have any vacation traveling tips? Traveling tips for baby? Toddlers? Husbands?


Have a blessed Monday πŸ™‚

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One thought on “traveling with a toddler.

  1. Well this will be super useful in a few years… I love that you're going through all this first so I can be prepared when our “vacations” become “quality family time”. Love it! πŸ™‚

    Like

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