Planning Your First Family Vacation With a Baby

If you are a parent, you already know that your life will never be the same again. 

Planning a family vacation with a baby is no different.  Gone are the days of reading through half of your novel on the flight. No more getting out of bed with your spouse early – just to see the sunrise on the beach.  (We did that once – except we got up way too early, went back to bed, then ended up missing the sunrise!)  Or, on the flip side, no more sleeping in.  Babies don’t usually get the memo about sleeping in just because it’s vacation time.

There are a few new things you should expect.

What to Expect on Your First Vacation with a Baby

You have to take more stuff.

It seems like we used to be able to travel with a carry-on for the two of us.  Now when we go away for the weekend with our family of five, it looks like we’re taking the whole house.  Expect to have to pack more, and plan accordingly when you book your car rental or pack your bags to fly.  It’s amazing how quickly all of those diaper and little outfits can overtake your suitcase.  Watch out for extra luggage charges by most airlines now!

Your schedule will have to be more flexible.

Do you want your children to nap at the hotel in the afternoons?  Plan your outings for the morning.  Remember that young children can’t walk all day and need time to rest.  Consider bedtimes, too.  Be prepared to adjust plans according to the needs of the youngest travelers. 

Activity choices and destinations may be different.

Sitting through a Broadway musical with a baby or toddler is not my idea of fun.  But finding the nearest park to entertain him for a little while and then having a picnic afterward seems quite appealing.  (It’s much cheaper too!)  Save your fancy dinners and shows for the weekend away with your spouse.  Choose baby and kid-friendly activities on your family vacations, and remember that simple is better and often preferred with little ones. 

Take it s-l-o-w-l-y.

Everything takes longer when you have extra people to dress, shoes to tie, and car seats to buckle.  Be sure not to over plan.  This will result in an over-tired baby, frustrated parents, and a not-so-good vacation.  When planning, make a list of everything you’d like to do.  Then scratch off a few items, and your list will likely be closer to reality.  You’ll be a lot more likely to enjoy the outings you actually get to have if you choose just a few things to do instead of packing each day full of activities.

How was your first vacation with a baby?  What do you recommend for first time vacationers with children?

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