As those of you with kids would surely agree, travelling and vacationing with babies (and older kids too, I would certainly imagine!) is quite a bit different than with adults exclusively. While we got a taste of this during our weekend trip to Picton, it really hit home during our cottage vacation. As such, I thought I'd share some of the lessons we learned and helpful tips we discovered!
- Scheduling travel time during baby's sleeping hours is ideal! We decided to leave the Bruce tonight after dinner and S slept the entire ride home. This was a stark contrast to our return trip from Picton during which we frantically rotated toys and busted out every song in the book in an attempt to coax her out of her "I hate being restained in this seat!" crying fit.
- Stackable and sortable toys are the bomb. They take up less space, provide a versatile playing experience (so baby is probably less likely to get bored of them) and are sand (and other grime) resilient. S was content to independently play with her stacking cups and Fisher Price shape sorting box on many occasions during our trip!
- Getting organized and establishing schedules/routines early on in your trip is super-helpful. For example, if your baby is on solids, find a convenient home for her food & accessories as soon as you can and institute an efficient cleaning routine. I brought along our kitchen wetbag which really came in handy for S's used bibs and wash cloths.
- When packing your vehicle, order & accessibility of key items becomes much more important! Food & water, diaper bag and toys (in particular) need to be easily within reach.
- Cloth diapering while traveling / cottaging is totally doable - particularly if you have access to a washer. (Otherwise I can see it being much more of a PITA.) I filled one entire suitcase with S's stash, laid out her portable change mat on the couch in our room, threw a pillow on the floor to cushion the knees and voila - accessible and at least moderately ergonomic changing station! :)
- While on the topic of cloth diapers, disposable liners are a nice diapering accessory on the go. As my husband put it, a liner is basically a diaper sprayer in another form. :) Although they're not perfect (bunching & whatnot), they can definitely make poopy diaper changes less messy in lieu of said sprayer. (We learned this firsthand at the Timmy's north of Espanola.)
- Don't expect to catch up on sleep during your trip! In our case, S nipped any desire for this in the bud by falling asleep later, waking up earlier and napping for shorter stretches. Kind of makes sense as she was exposed to so many exciting new sensations and experiences, but a little exhausting at the same time! Luckily we had many other family members eager to spend time with our li'l monkey which allowed us to get in some R&R!
- Finally, if you're like me, vacationing can help you realize that babies are, indeed, quite robust and that a little dirt truly isn't a bad thing. S enjoyed a speedy motorboat ride, splashed away in quite frigid lake water and took advantage of the (decidedly non-pristine) area rugs at each cottage to work on her crawling (and associated face planting). But ehhh - through all that, she's just fine. :)
Anyone have any other helpful tips or lessons learned when it comes to travelling and vacation with little ones? Feel free to share!!