Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Planning an infant-friendly vacation

Summer vacation poses a new challenge for us this year. We not only need to find exciting activities for Amelia (who will be six years old), but we also need to consider infant-friendly options. Andrew will be 4-5 months old when we will likely travel.

We took Amelia many places at a young age. At five months old, we traveled to Maine. We had a fantastic and peaceful vacation, even if we did have a few extra hurdles with a baby. At fourteen months, Amelia went on a family vacation to Europe. We had a lot of extra family to help with her, but it was still a big accomplishment. She has been to various beaches, on cruises, and to national parks in the western U.S.. Also Hawaii. Clearly, we are not afraid to enjoy vacations away just because of children.

When planning a trip with a very small infant, I have a few basic tips...

No one wants to have their fancy Ritz Carlton or romantic bed and breakfast vacation ruined by a screaming baby next door. When we travel with a small child, we avoid quaint, very upscale, or typically adult places. We choose resorts that will have a good number of child guests or we opt for vacation cottages and cabins where we do not have to share walls with other travelers.

We do not need to plan a jam-packed, sunrise-to-sunset vacation this year. We should consider one activity for each day, with a lot of comfortable relaxation thrown in so baby can nap. With a six year old along for the fun as well, we will need to also bring quiet games, books, and art supplies so she can be happily occupied while we have some non-active time.

It is best not to schedule that amazing sunset dinner with an infant in tow. Or dream of a five-hour scenic railroad ride through nature. With a young infant, you will have to be flexible. Plan some things you want to do and see, but keep times and days flexible just in case Junior isn't feeling it. You may need to drop everything for an unexpected feeding or unexplained meltdown. Tell yourself this is OK ahead of time and you will avoid disappointment.

We are not sure where we will travel this summer, but we are beginning the work of investigating our options. Vacation travel is fun and I look forward to whatever family adventure we end up with this time. We are now a family of four! But that will not stop us from our journeys.
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