At some point of time we realized having a baby is going to put a serious crimp in our travel lust. I do not remember when it was – probably it was during one of those late night colicy baby screaming, mom and dad going crazy period but we moved on. When our little girl turned 8 months we were ready to head out for our first family vacation. It was a scary trip and we decided to play it safe by traveling somewhere close to home. Here are some things we learned during the trip in addition to the number of standard suggestions available online. Hopefully it will help someone wanting to travel with a baby.
This was the hardest part for us. The minute the word vacation comes up, all sorts of exotic places flirt through our minds. The first vacation (and many subsequent ones) with the baby in tow needs to be kid-friendly for the sake of the parents sanity. We chose to go to San Antonio – a 3 hour drive from home – a place we have gone multiple times in the past and yes kid-friendly
Nothing like finding a friend/relative who will not interfere in your parenting decisions, will trust your parenting skills, love the baby and help with anything and everything! Do such people exist? In our world yes and baby’s uncle KA was our tripmate.
Do not forget the baby’s schedule:
You are on a vacation and that means saying good bye to schedules and routine. It means eating random stuff at random times, sleeping at odd hours and generally being lazy and busy at the same time. But the baby does not understand that. When we traveled our little girl hated to be outdoors past 6pm and yes we were back in the hotel room by 6pm every single night. It is not what we wanted to do but we did it. Also at bedtime – noone but mom in the room was a must for our girl so uncle and dad went out photographing and exploring while mom put baby to sleep.
Stay close to places you want to visit
There is something about strapping a baby in the car driving 10 minutes to an attraction that makes them scream. Stay within walking distance of the main attractions (usually the city center) and save yourself from tears and screams as you drive on unfamiliar roadways. This also makes it easier for the adults to grab a quick bite to go than staying somewhere where the only option for food is the room service.
Plan to stay put and limit your activities:
A hard choice for people who want to do everything a place has to offer but a lifesaver with a baby. We spent most of our 3 days seated along the Riverwalk watching people and boats and chasing pigeons – not very exciting but it kept us sane.
Plan on some catch-up
Hotel room, no chores and curfews mean time to catch up on things you want to do. We took with us books we wanted to read and spent our vacation reading without worrying if the house was clean. We also caught up on sleep – it isn’t very often that we get a chance to sleep at 8pm as soon as the baby is asleep.
Relax some of your standards
At home it is easier to impose rules on your baby but in a strange place cut your baby some slack. For example, our little girl crawled on the floors of a fast food chain where we stopped for a quick bite on the way home. Definitely not clean but she needed to stretch her limbs before being buckled down again and we had to give her a break at times.
Not necessary but we would definitely recommend carrying a baby carrier (we use a Baby Bjorn) for the times the baby refuses to stay put on the stroller and some bribe (in our case it was rice rusks and baby puffs).
It is not hard – it just needs a lot of patience and some sacrifices just like most parts of parenting and ofcourse the memories you create last forever.
More about our San Antonio trip coming up soon