Longtime readers and folks that know us know that we love to travel. In the almost 9 years that we’ve been together, we’ve been to Mexico twice, Hawaii three times, California twice, NYC and Florida a few times, a Mediterranean cruise, and a whole slew of other places in between. We absolutely LOVE to travel.
Our last trip before baby was a work trip for me in Ft. Lauderdale that we turned into a mini-babymoon. Since baby D entered our lives, we’ve been to visit my husband’s family nearly 9 hours away a few times, spent a couple of nights in Chicago for a work trip for me, and most recently, took our first flight and half work/half vacation trip to Philadelphia. We’re by no means “experts”, but I think it’s safe to say we’ve done our fair share of overnights in other places and have now even took to the skies with a wee one so I’d like to share a few of my observations along the way.
Obviously, traveling with a baby is WAY different than a quick weekend jaunt to a swanky hotel and fancy dinners with your sweetheart. But that doesn’t mean it has to be bad or unenjoyable.
1. You will sacrifice style. Now I am by no means a snob when it comes to restaurants or accommodations. I’m perfectly happy staying in a Hampton Inn and eating a sub sandwich for dinner. But dining out on the town is more of a task because certain restaurants aren’t stroller accessible, or even if a place is baby friendly and spacious, it just seems more upscale and you don’t want to kill the mood with your talkative baby. Sometimes I just don’t give a damn and will go there anyway simply because I want to eat there, but most of the time I try to be considerate of others and would rather avoid getting glared at by people wondering why on earth I just brought a baby to a bar.
2. One drink minimum. Speaking of bars, those carefree nights when you would stumble back to your hotel room a little bit tipsy are no more. Not only is it not safe, but chances are you’re so doggone tired after the first drink, a second one would have you crashing face first on the table.
3. Leave the nightlife behind. As if one and two didn’t drive this point home already, your nightlife on vacation is virtually nonexistent. Babies go to bed early. So unless you want to have an over-tired, screaming baby on your hands, you’ll be back in your hotel room and in your pajamas by 7:30pm, watching crappy TV or paying an ungodly amount of money for a movie that came out on DVD a year ago.
4. Mornings can be enjoyed (i.e. Brunch is a new favorite). Babies go to bed early but they also wake up early. So while all the rest of the world is still sleeping, you’re up and ready for the day and able to get a head start on the day’s activities. Since it still takes us awhile to get ready and get going, we’ve discovered the best way to enjoy our morning is to find a good breakfast or brunch place.
5. You have no choice but to s-l-o-w down. Sometimes when we go on a trip, we try to cram in too much activity so we rarely take time to just sit and enjoy our surroundings, like our over-priced hotel room. With a baby, sometimes you have no choice but to sit around and wait for the next baby-related activity because your entire schedule revolves around them – feeding times, nap times, pooping schedule, bath and bedtime routines, etc.
6. Sleep will most likely suck. Chalk it up to different surroundings but it should be expected that even if your baby is a rock star sleeper, there will be at least one night of very rough sleep. So don’t expect to be well-rested. And if you’re traveling in a different time zone, expect your schedule to be completely out of whack for at least half a day.
But despite ALL of these things, traveling with a baby still beats sitting around your house surrounded by mounds of unfolded laundry, a stack of dirty dishes, and crappy TV. Because it’s moments like taking your child on his first carriage ride, or giving him a taste of his first donut at a MLB stadium that will stay with you forever. And just like anything else when it comes to a baby – it’s a lot of work, but it’s so very worth it.