New parents are usually the people most in need of a vacation. Yet the thought of taking their vacation with baby in tow probably freaks many of them out. Parenting skills need to be learned and nurtured. The same is true when it comes to travel. Travel is not a hereditary trait, it's a life skill and practice makes perfect. Good news is that the earlier you start traveling with your baby, they will learn travel skills right along with you and vacations will once again be something the whole family will look forward to taking. Keep these tips in mind and it will make the travel process much easier...
1. Babies are resilient - They are tougher than we give them credit for. As long as you take responsible care and consideration they will be just fine. Before planning your vacation with baby ask the advice of your pediatrician. Babies are not yet fully immunized and their immune systems are fully matured. Share any travel plans with your pediatrian. Your doctor can best advise you on travel safety for your baby and offer tips that will keep your baby happy and healthy during your trip.
2. Practice Makes Perfect - Before embarking on a complicated itinerary to Europe with your baby, take a practice trip with your baby. Plan an overnight stay in a local area hotel not too far from home or plan a stay with nearby relatives. Having this experience will give you better insight into the logistics of packing and keeping your baby comfortable and happy. A successful short outting will also help build travel confidence for parents. Yes, you CAN do this.
3. Ease of mobility - A vacation with baby means a lot of gear. Choose a destination that is easy to navigate and stroller friendly. One of the first baby vacations we took with our first child was to a local county fair. We quickly realized that navigating the crowded, muddy pathways was a nightmare with my son's stroller. If your flying with an infant be prepared and double check to make sure your car seat if approved by the FAA.
4. Keep to Schedule - The best way to keep your baby (and everyone else) happy while on vacation is to do your best to keep to your baby's schedule. Try to maintain the same routine as you do at home for things like bedtime routines and nap time.
5. Take your time - Keeping to your baby's routine does mean time away from your vacationing. Don't jam your schedule or completely fill up your itinerary. Doing anything normally takes twice as long once you have a baby with you and a vacation is no different. Learn to take your time. Often the greatest joys are found in seredipitous moments.
6. Treat yourself - A vacation with baby can't be totally about baby. Parents need time too to recharge their batteries too. This may mean something as simple as some time alone it take a long bath, a round of golf or a morning sleep in. This may mean cooperation between parents so that baby is attended while one parent gets their luxury time. It may mean hiring child care or getting relatives to join you on your vacation so they can help with child care duties. Remember to plan some alone time for you too.
7. Take the right baby vacation - There are plenty of great baby friendly vacation options out there. This is the time when you need to work with a professional travel agent. Their advise can be invaluable. A family travel agent can help you to find the right vacation with baby that also fits your budget and particular family circumstances.
If you follow these guidelines you and your baby will soon be confident, world-class travelers. Remember, practice makes perfect. If for any reason, things don't go so smoothly the first time around, don't be discouraged. The more your family travels together, the more adaptable and better you all will be for your efforts.