As Summer travel plans draw closer, we asked our Backup Care Director for some of her tips when it comes to comes to traveling with kids.
Don’t hold yourself to a strict schedule when you have a young one in toe. It’s hard to have a strict schedule while traveling with kids. Especially when there are changes in time zones involved, you never really know when they are going to need to sleep or when they may be awake when you’re really hoping for sleep! The biggest thing that has changed for me when traveling now that my daughter is with us is the need to be flexible with plans and not try to squeeze too much into a given day.
Look into childcare options available at your destination. While my husband and I were in Dublin last spring, we took advantage of booking a nanny through an agency that was recommended by the hotel concierge. She was great and spent a couple of evenings watching our daughter in the hotel room so we could get some adult time out on the town, it takes more planning but we’ve found that it’s worth it.
Limit your travel locations. We realized with our trip last spring that we took on too many locations (4) and if we were to do it again we would stay in only 1 or 2 places. It’s impossible to travel lightly with a baby but we did our best and rented gear in places we went (ex. car seats and cribs). It is hard to lug everything you need for a little one to lots of locations so that is certainly a limitation. Doing research to find out what you can find where you’re going really helps so you don’t over pack.
Take time to enjoy the memories you’re making. There are so many wonderful memories to pick from. Even in challenging situations…like a diaper blow out in Siena where we had already used my daughter’s last change of clothes in the backpack (major oops), we were able to find the silver lining and use it as an opportunity to go buy her a new Italian outfit! My fondest memories are really the simplest ones that came on the heels of a stressful moment, like the diaper blowout, when we were able to sit back and laugh while enjoying a glass of wine on the piazza. The stress of traveling with kids is inevitable; I found the more you are prepared for it, the easier it is to move past.
Do the research before you depart. I found reading blogs of other parents REALLY helpful before our trip to Ireland and Italy. I received some priceless tips from my online research ahead of time such as:
- Book bassinet seats for long-haul flights, even if you don’t need the bassinet the extra leg room at the bulkhead is helpful with kids
- Bring a lightweight, reclining umbrella stroller that can hold up to cobblestones (Maclaren came highly recommended and ended up being amazing)
- Bring an inflatable tub for babies as many accommodations abroad don’t have tubs
- Diapers can usually be bought where you’re going so no need to fill a suitcase!
- Look into rentals for bulky baby equipment (cribs, car seats, etc.) or arrange ground transportation ahead of time inclusive of car seats (we found it similarly priced to cabs)
Consider bringing along help (and budget for it). It would have been an amazing opportunity to have more help in the evenings and even during the day when certain activities aren’t the most kid-friendly. But keep in mind that even though it’s a vacation for you, it is still work for your nanny and they should be compensated the same as they would in your home (including any overtime).
Thank you so much for the ideas and your insight Serena!