For many parents, the thought of embarking on a vacation outside the realm of your neighborhood playground, backyard pool or local children’s museum can be terribly daunting. Envisioning yourself towing suitcases, lugging diaper bags and abundant baby supplies, while potentially dealing with a fussy, teary-eyed travel companion is enough to intimidate any new parent, no matter how seasoned a traveler they may be. The reality is, when traveling with your baby or toddler you will survive. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep up your sleeve to keep it fun!
1. Keep it Light
Once you’ve decided on your destination, start considering what kind of activities you’ll be doing. Will you be exploring a city with cobblestone streets? Walking to the beach everyday to plop yourself in a chair for the day? Regardless of how much traveling you’ll be doing once you get there, a lightweight buggy like the Maclaren Volo is a great option for transporting your baby across all types of terrain. Perfect for parents on-the-move, the Maclaren Volo features a breathable seat that’s ideal for warm weather and is easily compacted to squeeze in small spaces when you need to store it at a restaurant or in a cab. For over five decades, Maclaren has supported active families, and the Volo, the world’s lightest full-size stroller, is a trustworthy travel companion that will make your family vacation a breeze.
2. Pack Smart
Pack your bags. Unpack. Take out 25% and put it back. Re-pack. You don’t need nearly as much stuff to keep your family entertained, properly-clothed and happy on vacation as you think you need. Instead of packing extra to be safe, pack smarter. Remember that you can buy a lot of things once you get there; do a little research to ensure you can buy the diapers or wipes you need when you arrive. Although, bringing extra baby wipes certainly won’t hurt anyone. Bring the few toys your child needs to feel comfortable in an uncomfortable environment, but don’t bring the whole toy chest or all the stuffed animals on the bed. Lastly: layers, layers, layers. Pack smart by bringing layers of clothing for your baby to ensure you’re prepared if there’s a big drop in temperature at night or it’s hotter than expected for the time of year. Bring the essentials and unpack strategically, as soon as you can after arriving at your accommodation to keep it all organized for the rest of your trip.
3. Plan, not every second
Research is vital to ensure the success of a trip you haven’t been on previously. Just “winging it” is never a good plan when you have energy-filled (or tired and cranky) toddlers in tow in an unfamiliar place. Plan out one meal a day for the duration of your stay so you don’t spend an excessive amount of time seeking a dinner spot that works for everyone after a long day of adventuring. Make reservations for early meals, ensuring that the restaurant will be less hectic, there will be an empty highchair and of course, you’ll get your food quicker. Plan day-time activities that will engage your kids and yourself! Whether it’s a day of sandcastle building at the beach or a trip to the aquarium, make sure you have a destination in mind for each day. Lastly, plan out how you’re going to get there. Will you need to drive? Can you get there on foot? The Maclaren Volo stroller can be carried with one hand and folded easily, so if your travel plans change, you’re flexible. Toss it in a lightweight storage bag when you get tired of walking and hail a cab! While planning is essential, don’t worry about adhering to a stringent agenda. Things could change everyday- the weather, the energy of your family members, so go with the flow don’t stress when you diverge from the schedule.
4. Take it Slow
While it’s tempting to soak up every minute of a week-long vacation by hitting the ground running the moment you arrive, remind yourself that slow-and-steady wins the race when it comes to traveling with a little one. A 45-minute nap, even if it’s not quite nap time yet, might make all the difference when it comes to your child’s crankiness levels come late afternoon. Remind yourself that he might have trouble sleeping in an unusual room or house and allow your family to slowly settle in for a couple nights before embarking on the big activities of the trip. Also, don’t try to schedule four different events in a day, keep a slower pace, relax and take on the day as it comes. Remember: you’re on vacation! Slow down and enjoy.
5. Laugh it off
While traveling with small children poses its risks, it yields great rewards that make the struggles absolutely worth it. Even when things go awry and you can’t get to every activity you spent time scheduling, the Airbnb isn’t nearly as swanky or spacious as it was advertised, or your two-year-old has a meltdown at baggage claim within the first 2 hours of the trip, the hiccups in your plan are all memories that will last your family a lifetime. Laugh it off, veer off-course and roll with it. Remain positive and savor the craziness that is your very first family vacation.