Preparing for Your First Vacation with Baby…

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Varadero, Cuba

Is it even really a vacation?

Is everyone saying you’re nuts? And is it even worth it? Planning for my first vacation with baby is why I started this website way back when. It all seemed so daunting!

After all, travel can be stressful in itself. Throwing diapers and spit up into the mix doesn’t necessarily sound like much fun. Just leaving the house is often a major accomplishment in the early days of motherhood. But, once you’re out and about, you can’t imagine ever staying home. And once you’ve gone away with your baby, you can’t imagine ever experiencing somewhere new without them.

Your first vacation with baby will be very different from your last vacation without…

Backpacking and hostels or exotic locales and boutique hotels might be postponed for the time being.  In choosing a destination, your first concerns should be safety and health. If you feel the need for a little sun, there are many places in Mexico and the Caribbean that are peaceful and clean – at many price points. The Southern U.S. is also a great option. Europe can be pricier and trickier, but it can be done. Deciding where to go is part of the fun!  Pick a place you’ve always wanted to visit, and tailor your itinerary to baby’s routine and your needs.

Does the room matter?

You’ll be spending more time in your room now, so it’s worth spending a little more to make sure it’s nice. A kitchenette comes in handy, but it’s not necessary. You will need a fridge – not only for baby’s food, but for your drinks as well! Unless you’re arranging for babysitting, your evenings will be spent in once baby’s in bed. Try to book a room with a balcony or terrace.  And check if your hotel offers cribs, but if you’re concerned, toss a travel crib onto your already giant pile of luggage.

What do we pack for our first vacation with baby?

Right, luggage… You’re going to have a lot of it and it will be heavy.  If baby’s traveling on your lap, you likely won’t get extra luggage allowance. Some airlines will nail you with overweight charges, but you might get lucky with a sympathetic check-in person. Either way, you shouldn’t be charged for checking a car seat or gate-checking a stroller, and your bags will be considerably lighter on the way back.  Make a detailed packing list or print one from here. How detailed depends on how easily you can buy what you need. Florida? No problem. Cuba? A little more work.

The travel days are tough, so be armed with extra everything – diapers, wipes, distractions, clothes (for you too!), and nourishment for baby. Delays are common, and airports aren’t the best places to buy baby things. Once you get where you’re going, the journey becomes a distant memory, and your new vacation memories can start! Your holiday routine will fall into place if you go with the flow.

A vacation with baby provides the opportunity for you all to connect away from the busy-ness of day-to-day life.  Take the plunge, and book it! It doesn’t matter if baby won’t remember it, because you will never forget.

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7 Responses to Preparing for Your First Vacation with Baby…

  1. Mara at #

    My first vacation with my baby was when he was two months old. We spent three months driving 2/3 of the way across the United States and back, visiting friends and family along the way. It was fun and doable – but I recommend that anyone who wants to try something ambitious take a few weekend trips first. My husband and I really didn’t know what we were in for.

  2. Judi at #

    I took a lot of roadtrips and one short plane ride with my baby before he could crawl, and they were all a piece of cake. I just had to plan on longer stops (for feeding and diaper changing) and more of them.

    Now that he’s crawling and pulling himself up, he’s not willing to sit in one place as long. If someone sits next to him and plays with him the whole time, he can go for quite a while, but it’s definitely not as relaxing.

  3. Corinne at #

    Once they’re mobile it’s truly a different ballgame!

  4. Cristina at #

    Thank you for the tips. This is great practical advise for first time moms who are both excited and nervous in planning the first vacation for the family. I have also found this site from Little Nomads that gives great tips on travel with a family and finding the perfect destination

  5. I had 3 and we traveled with them frequently. First flight was from Germany with a 9 month old by myself. She never slowed me down. When she was 18 months old, we had a new little boy. I have made many trips with the two of them by car alone. The baby slept, but I went to the 5 & 10c store and bought a bag full of cheap toys. When the older one got bored, I’d pull out a new toy. They always went with us to the beach and loved it. When they were in elementary school we flew to Bankok, Thailand. My cousin bought them all a book bag filled with toys and snacks. The trip was a breeze. We flew straight through as that was easier than getting off the plane and finding a hotel.When the third one came along, we spent a lot of time at the beach. I love to fish so the 2 older one would have life jackets and the little one was in the stroller in the edge of the water with me. With the canopy and a towel draped around the canopy, I’d catch loads of fish. The 2 older ones loved to play with those fish that would puff up. Of course, I ruined my stroller in the salt waster, but we had fun. If you just plan ahead it’s wonderful having them along.

    • Corinne at #

      Thank you for sharing, Doris–I love your stroller story!

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