Taking the First Family Vacation
Taking the First Family Vacation
They say that having a baby changes everything, and I’m here to tell you… “they” were right. And not just in the obvious ways, either. Because yes, you will feel tired all the time. And sure, your days (and nights) will be dictated by a tiny little person for quite a while. But that’s not all.
You’ll also find yourself consumed by thoughts about your baby, forever thinking about the type of person you want to raise him or her to be and the passions you want to instill. Passions that are usually carryovers from your pre-baby life, so that if you loved playing soccer back then – you’ll post your little one up in front of World Cup games and teach him or her which teams to cheer for.
The same is absolutely true if one of your pre-baby passions was travel. You’re going to want to share that passion with your little one, and likely sooner rather than later. After all, the itch to get on plane doesn’t go away just because you have a kiddo. So now is as good a time as any to start planning that first family vacation!
For the record, you don’t have to be a travel nut to start preparing for your first getaway with the baby. Everyone can benefit from some vacation time, whether that means a short trip a few hours away, or an international flight. Getting away from home is good for the soul, and the baby – so don’t shy away from this advice just because you were never big on travel before. You still deserve to get away!
And the good news is, that first family vacation should usually be something fairly simple anyway. Sure, you may be lusting for a trip to the Netherlands, or aching to get back to Thailand – but start slow at first, giving both yourself and baby a chance to adjust to what travel will look like now.
Because it’s different. Like everything else, travel will be totally different with a baby.
For starters, there is just a lot more stuff to worry about. Perhaps you once backpacked around Australia for two months carrying no more than what you could fit into your carry-on. But that’s not going to cut it anymore. Even if you can manage to get the big necessities waiting for you at your destination (starting with a crib, or some other safe place for your little one to sleep) there’s still the bottles, diapers, wipes, changes of clothes, books and toys to worry about.
You will be shocked at how much you need to bring with you for baby.
Of course, you may also be shocked by what you can leave behind. So like any good traveler might, sit down and make your list first – and then really ask yourself what is a necessity, and what is simply a want. You may find you can cut a fair amount by sticking to a rule of “How much will we actually use this?”
So for that first vacation, try to head somewhere that will have you on a plane for less than three hours. That still gives you a lot of options, and a chance to get your little one used to flying. Whenever possible, taking that test flight on a short itinerary is going to be easier on you than diving right in with a 10-hour red eye flight.
For the first 6 months of so, you can hopefully time your flights around nap time and get your little one to sleep while in the air. Something about all those airplane noises just soothes them.
Of course, pack a camera and take lots of pictures while at your destination, but also go easy on yourself. If your previous trips have involved epic 10-hour hiking adventures and cramming as many museums into a day as possible, just know you probably aren’t going to meet those same standards this time.
Because… naps. And meal times. And baby schedules.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t still peruse one museum or plan a short hike.
Just reduce your expectations for this first trip. The more you travel with baby, the easier it will become – and the more aware of your limits you will be.
But it all has to start with that first trip.