Vacationing with a small child is no easy feat. As if packing wasn’t hassle enough before having a kid, now you’re packing for another person. An infant, actually. And infants come with a lot of baggage.
First are the clothes. Take extras, because you never know when junior will go vomitron or demonstrate the literal definition of a “shit storm”.
Hint: Stay where washing machines and dryers are easily accessible and free, otherwise you’ll also need to pack quarters.
Other staples like books, toys, lovies, and bath-time supplies need packed too. Add a huge supply of food and snacks plus everything that accompanies the eating routine. Oh, and let’s not forget diapers and wipes.
Hint: Pack enough diapers and wipes for the duration of the trip. As they are used, suitcase space is freed for purchases.
This is just the tip of the packing iceberg. And, bonus, you can’t rely heavily on a list. It’s transient, ever changing with your child from infanthood to toddlerhood. Each time I pack, the list changes. Every time we travel, I wonder, Is this trip worth the hassle of packing?
Preparations for vacationing extend far beyond the suitcase. By the time we leave the house I’ve asked as many questions as my son does in a morning.
Are we driving or flying? Can we time either around naps? What time zone will we be in? When do we need to be there? So then what time should we leave the house? Did I forget anything? Phone? Check. Ids? Check. Child? Check. Is the iPad charged? Chargers? Check and check. Is this trip really worth the hassle of getting there? Are we there yet?!
Whether you are contemplating vacationing with your small child or questioning your sanity for traveling with them again, here are 5 reasons to pack up and leave town with your little one.
1. Change of scene. Sure, we do the same things on vacation as we do at home – play at the park, go to the pool, take walks – but the location is different. For this Midwesterner, pushing my son in a swing oceanside is a very welcome change of scene (and a breath of salty-fresh air).
2. Old vacation spot, new attractions. Revisiting pre-baby destinations is an entirely different experience with a child. Basically none of our former routines exist. At first, I viewed this as a limiting crux. We still can’t sleep in, can we? In actuality, it’s opened up a whole new world of opportunity. With coffee in hand, we’ve experienced aquariums, zoos, gardens, and children’s museums that my husband and I never visited before. Cheers to branching out.
3. Experiences are souvenirs. Vacationing is a great way to break up the monotony of daily life. We’ve discovered foods that our son likes while staying with friends. Visiting libraries has exposed us to children’s books that we continue to check out back home. New experiences lead to new words and phrases in my son’s vocabulary. They all go home with us, adding variety to the norm, and reminding us of our travels.
4. Returning home is just as exciting as the vacation. Let’s be realistic. With a small child in tow, vacations no longer equate to relaxation; they offer a break from the norm. While I rarely come home feeling rested, I do look forward to being home. My own kitchen, my own bed, getting our son back in his room, even daily routines are eagerly anticipated on the return journey. Now if only a magic fairy could have the fridge stocked for me upon arrival…
5. Making memories. One of my friends recently posted to Facebook, “Life is nothing but making memories.” There is a lot that I have forgotten about my son’s nearly 2.5 years of life. The days blur together becoming hazy around the edges. However, my husband and I fondly remember every vacation we’ve taken with our son: His first flight; his first trip to the ocean; even that time he erupted from both ends all over me in a hotel at 2am.
Hint: Pack an extra pair of pajamas for yourself in case one winds up in the wash.
So, is vacationing with your little one worth the hassles of packing, long car rides, airports, flights, time changes, and hotel sleeping (or lack thereof)? You bet your bottom dollar it is. Dollars. Shoot, I’m out of cash. I need to stop at the ATM before we leave.