Well the answer should always be to vacation! but when you have kids to travel with does it really feel like a vacation? As parents maybe we should call it a work trip? Either way it is nice to get away from home even if you have to pack your whole house so all babies and children are comfortable. We recently took our first trip as a family of 5 and it was well...a lot of fun, a lot of work, and interesting. Lets see we came back Sunday its now Tuesday and I'm still recovering.
There are many steps you can take to help maximize the amount of fun we as parents can have on vacation and in my opinion the key is to PREPARE. I cannot stress this enough prepare like you are leaving to an unknown remote area in the woods with no access to civilization for miles. In reality I'm sure you will be driving distance from a store where you can purchase your needs, but already having the Band Aids or nose suction thing makes all the difference. So when it comes to packing, pack early, pack smart, and pack for all situations. These are the items I know we might need and I make sure to pack along side our clothes, tooth brushes etc:
Meds: Children's Pepto, Children's Tylonal, Adult Tylonal, Tums, etc
First Aid: Band Aids, Bactin wound cleaner, and Neosporin
Sleeping needs: Pillows from home, Any stuffed animals needed to sleep, Noise machines, Mini humidifier (see cold and flu post for the one we use).
This trip was different because we now have a 8 year old, 5 year old, and 7 month old all with different needs and not to mention all boys and the two oldest fight over everything! For Liam and Finn I packed them two separate backpacks with their clothes, toothbrushes, and mini toothpaste (they each got their own bathroom sets so they don't fight over one set). They were both able to hold their own backpacks and be accountable for them on the trip.
Next came the baby... Oliver needed the most. We made sure to pack the pack and play, white noise machine, Ergo baby carrier, a bassinet sheet to cover the bottom of the pack and play ( this also smells like home helping baby sleep while away), and all the other baby essentials he might need. Along with these items I wanted to take note of a couple items that were new to me and made traveling with Oliver a little easier.
The black out pack and play cover. This item is amazing! it covers the outside of the pack and play to shut out the light and distractions perfect for babies sleeping in new environments and helps daytime naps. The other item is a outside foldable covered dome for baby to play in or nap in while relaxing in the sun by the pool or at the beach. This came in handy! it was super helpful to be able to put Oliver down in a shaded place allowing me to have free arms and relax in the sun!
Other important packing areas to consider and remember is the actual travel time. Are you traveling by car? plane? train? In a box? or with a fox? (sorry I've read Green Eggs & Ham way to many times) whatever way you travel remember to pack for entertainment, snacks, trash bags, etc. For our travel entertainment honestly tablets and gaming devices is where were at they hold their attention long enough and there is minimal effort on my end. For snacks I pack healthy items like apple slices, carrots, peanut butter sandwiches, goldfish, crackers, and gram crackers. When it comes to snacks remember to wash, cut, slice, and bag before you leave it just makes snacking on the go easier.
You also want to consider the environment your packing for. Will it be hot? cold? lot of walking? beach? pool? hotel? camping? whatever you might be going tailor your packing to those elements! for example most hotels have pack and plays so maybe you can skip lugging that around and just bring the pack and play cover.
Last, but not least don't forget yourself! Remember all the things you need while your away! Parents need to be comfortable too so don't forget the phone charger, watch charger, deodorant, or make up bag. The one item I forgot on this trip...my hair brush! Oh well I didn't want (have time) to brush my hair anyways.
So packing in a nutshell:
Pack for all situations
Traveling with kids is fun! Don't get me wrong it is a lot of work and I often wonder if its worth it, but yes it is! They won't remember the hard stuff all they will remember is the fun times you took them on vacation and they did all those fun activities and new experiences like jumping in the pool going underwater for the first time and not being scared (Liam). So please go! plan! prep! try not to stress (everyone will be fine...and if they are not well you packed for that right) and HAVE FUN!
After all we only have so many summers to spend with our kids, while they are still children.
with love and lots of bunnies,