Over the past 18 months, we’ve taken Inez and Judah on two family beach vacations. Last June we went to Antigua and rented a condo in a small resort community. Last month we were in Tulum, Mexico and rented a house on the beach with a pool. Based on my experience taking one pre-teen and one baby/toddler on these trips, here are my tips:
1. Smaller is better.
Living in NYC, we think more space is better. But while on vacation, you don’t need space for storage, so it’s easier to contain both an active toddler and your various sunscreens in a small space. Rent a condo, not a house.
2. Keep it to one plane ride.
There are plenty of warm beaches one plane ride away from NYC. No need to get fancy, Florida will do.
3. Check a large suitcase.
Don’t stress about trying to fit all that baby crap into a carry on. While your partner is waiting at baggage claim, you can change the baby’s diaper, or call the hotel shuttle.
4. Stay near the airport.
You don’t want to make a journey longer than you need to. If you can take a short airport shuttle to your vacation spot, then you don’t even need to haul a car seat along.
5. Sit still.
We live in NYC. If we want to go sightseeing, eat amazing food, or go to a museum, we can do that in our own backyard. So when on vacation, just stay in one place and relax. No need to figure out if activities are appropriate to do with baby, or how you will get there.
6. Don’t stress the small stuff.
Bring a few of your child’s favorites snacks that are easy to pack. But once they run out you may have to buy some food you wouldn’t buy at home (ie: snacks with added sugar). A few food indulgences aren’t the worst thing every now and then.
7. Be prepared, just in case.
Bring a thermometer, any over the counter medications you would give your child, such as Tylenol and also the dosage chart. You’ll feel at ease knowing that if your child wakes up in the middle of the night with a fever, you’re prepared.
8. Bring baby’s comforts from home.
Even if these items are bulky (blanket, stuffed animal, lovey), they will make your child feel at home in a new setting. This is important for your whole family, that your child sleep easily.
9. Take time as a couple.
Sneak in some alone time. Put the kids to bed early, take advantage of nap time, or utilize on-site babysitting services.
10. Extra hands.
If grandma is available and she is more of a help than an annoyance, bring her along!