We took the baby on her first trip when she was three weeks old. We hadn’t planned to take her, but it worked out great. She slept through most of the activities and, when she wasn’t asleep, was content to be held. We were thrilled! We could take the baby everywhere and began to plan trips with reckless abandon. Ok, maybe not reckless abandon, but we didn’t mind her tagging along. Fast forward to this August, when she is firmly in toddlerhood. We planned a trip to the beach. I had to drive through Atlanta, but, no problem. I planned to drive through after the morning rush hour. Four hours into a traffic jam, listening to ear-piercing shrieks from the back seat, I was ready to cry along with her. Over the course of the past few months, I’ve learned some strategies on how to enjoy vacations with a toddler. I hope they will help you as much as they helped us!
How To Enjoy Vacations With A Toddler
1. Pack Their Favorites. Do they have a favorite toy, favorite book, or favorite sippy cup? Be sure to pack these! If they have an item they have to sleep with at home, they’ll need it when they are away from home too! If they have a favorite snack, be sure to pack enough for the entire trip. This is especially important if your child has food allergies. Many areas might not have the snack your child needs and you don’t want to spend hours of your vacation trying to find it.
2. Bring A Sound Machine. We recently spent a night in a hotel with a lot of city noise. A LOT of city noise. I don’t think any of us slept all night due to the garbage trucks that seemed to keep circling the hotel. It was so bad Brittany finally asked in exasperation, “I don’t think there are this many garbage trucks in the entire city! I think they are bringing them in from other cities just to circle the hotel.” The next night we used a sound machine. Voila! Problem solved. The noise of the garbage trucks was drowned out by the sound of relaxing waves. No one wants a cranky, tired baby.
3. Play that Funky Music. Because you’ll be listening to this a lot, plan a playlist the entire family will enjoy. I know the soothing, relaxing CDs I’ve purchased to help the baby fall asleep work really well. On me. That’s not what I want when I’m driving. And I can only listen to a movie soundtrack so many times before I want us to “accidentally” lose the CD somewhere. Since I am a huge fan of 80’s music, we have the Rock n’ Stroller CDs. There are two volumes of these CDs and they contain classic rock hits like I Love Rock N’ Roll, The Boys of Summer, Into the Groove, and, of course, the classic 867-5309/Jenny. These are upbeat songs I don’t mind singing over and over. Plus, I’m all about the baby becoming an 80’s music fan. The CDs are available on Amazon and iTunes. You can learn more about them at Rock N Stroller.
4. Go Electronic. If all else fails, download their favorite movie to your iPad. They will usually sit still long enough to doze off in unfamiliar surroundings or watch at least some of it during a traffic jam.
5. Don’t Overplan. One of the fastest ways to ruin a trip is to over plan activities. Make a list of the things you would like to do in the area and then adjust your schedule accordingly. Plan downtime for your toddler, with breaks to play, regular mealtimes, and a naptime. We also plan frequent traveling breaks for the baby to exercise and stretch her legs outside of the car. There’s nothing more stressful to me than driving with a screaming toddler in the backseat who keep trying to escape her car seat!
Let’s face it- vacations with a toddler are not going to be as relaxing as adult only vacations. But they can still be fun and you’re making great memories with your family!
What are your best tips for vacationing with a toddler?