"Release your attachments to how things "ought" to be and instead surrender to how they actually are."
-Dr. Shefali Tsabary
My husband and I did a crazy thing --- we flew out of the country to visit friends with our 13 month-old baby girl! Wowzers, right?
We both made a conscious decisision (not coersed by any means) to fly eight hours, for the first time, with a baby, to a different country, for ten days. Did I mention there is a six hour time difference between Maryland and Denmark?
To many people this may sound like a total disaster, wrapped up in a pretty bow of course, waiting to happen. And I would be lying if I didn't have doubts or a mild freak out in the beginning.
But when I say this trip was PHENOMENAL, this trip was PHENOMENAL!
If any parents or caregivers are thinking about embarking on a crazy adventure, I'm here to spread words of encouragement that
YOU CAN DO IT and IT CAN BE AMAZING!
Here are our TOP 10 TRAVELING TIPS WITH A BABY that my husband and I both agreed made our trip a little less chaotic and a whole lot more fun!
TOP 10 TRAVELING TIPS WITH A BABY
1. Have ZERO expectations.
We went into our vacation with no expectations of how it was going to go. This made every little accomplishment that much sweeter! Baby sleeping for 3.5 hours on the flight to Copenhagen was a two thumbs up for us because our expectation was zero :).
2. Pack as minimal clothing and accessories as possible.
Have you heard of the story of how mama bear, papa bear and baby bear all fit their belongings into ONE BAG?!
It's true - my husband and I packed around 10 articles of clothing each, as well as our daughter's 8 onesies, two shorts and two pants, accessories, cosmetics and a rain jacket into one rolling suitcase. This made checking backs in the airport and carrying luggage a breeze! Especially because we brought the Pack-n-Play and stroller too. We definitely made use of the washer and dryer available to us in Copehagen because we sweat a lot and baby food stains definitely occured.
3. Save money for what you truly value.
As a family we value good food and new experiences. This is why we saved more than enough money, starting well in advance, to spend on good food, lots of coffee and fun adventures while in Copehagen. Having the peace of mind that money would not be an issue made spending money fun and stress-free on vacation.
4. It's worth bringing the big and bulky stroller your baby can comfortably sleep in.
We were unsure if we should bring the larger of our two strollers. But, bringing our more industrial size stroller was probably the. best. decision. ever. Our BOB stroller made the time change for our baby girl so much easier to manage. She napped in this stroller whenever she got tired while we're out exploring, and the rubber tires were a life-saver on rough cobble stone roads.
5. Stay in a place that has a kitchen.
Having access to a kitchen made me feel a little less stressed and more at home, as I like to cook most of the meals we eat. On vacation I would usually cook or provide a healthy breakfast to fuel us for exploring. I also used the kitchen to prepare and pack our daughter's lunch each day to take with us. Doing this made me feel a little better about eating whatever we wanted out (hello yummy pastries), because we at least put one nutrient dense meal in our bodies each day.
6. Make space and time for exploration and sponeity.
This tip was a huge sanity saver for us! It was important for us to NOT have a jam-packed and rigid schedule to follow. We wanted space in our day for things to go wrong. If something didn't go as planned, (which totally happened) then having space in our day allowed us to have more patience and kindness in order to find a solution. Doing this made every moment on vacation, even the struggles, more enjoyable.
7. Establish roles with your partner when traveling.
My husband and I didn't do this intentionally in the beginning, but I realized after the trip that subconcsiously we gave ourselves specific responsibilties that made traveling less chaotic. For example, my husband handled everything related to transportation, like holding the passports, plane tickets, bus cards, etc. While my role was taking care of our baby girl, feeding her, soothing her and making sure she didn't get too many bruises along the way. Other responsbilities like changing her diaper were definitely shared equally. One person shouldn't handle that shit, pun intended.
8. Pack simple snacks for traveling on the plane and when going on vacation adventures.
Nobody likes a hangry person, especially one like me. No joke though, when I'm hungry I turn into a crazy person. Knowing this, I made sure we had plenty of simple snacks to bring with us wherever we went. Some of our favorites include Lara Bars, PB & J sandwiches, beef jerky, and those fruit and veggie pouches for the babe.
9. Bring a backpack, water bottle and blanket.
Staying hydrated is super important for our health, so we made sure to fill our water bottles before venturing out to see the city. I also carried a backpack with all of our diaper supplies, snacks and extras we may have needed for emergency blowout situations. We also brought a thin blanket with us and stored it under the stroller. This blanket was used probably twice a day, for both a crawling space for our daughter and for picnicking. Anytime our daughter needed to stretch her legs or if we wanted to picnic at a random grassy area, we busted the blanket out and just chilled. This blanket made relaxing that much easier for all parties.
10. Enjoy the adventure!
As adults we tend to only do things for a specific outcome; we work to make money or we exercise to lose weight. But for once, forget the outcomes and do things just for the sake of having fun! Let's take a lesson from the kids -- no stress, just play!
I hope these tips help you embark on a happier and less chaotic adventure.
Please feel free to share below any tips or lessons you have learned along the way when traveling with small children!
Always craving health + happiness,