Traveling with teens can be stressful (read more here) & traveling with young children can be exhausting (discover more here) but there’s nothing that quite compares to traveling with a baby. Sure, babies and toddlers are adorable but they are A LOT of work. Many new parents are intimidated by the idea of taking a family vacation with their little one(s) but there’s no reason to be discouraged. It’s totally possible to have a fun and dare I say, relaxing family trip with the young ones. It would be naive to think your travels would be as worry-free as your pre-kid days but you can still plan a memorable and rewarding trip. Just follow these 8 tips to survive & thrive on your baby-friendly vacation:

Stick to a Schedule

Don’t stress about keeping exactly to your usual schedule. After all, the whole point of a vacation is to break from routine. However, some sense of normalcy will be good for you and the baby. Try to budget for nap time and other daily routines so that you’re not dealing with an overly-cranky toddler. Which brings me to the next tip: don’t over schedule. We all tend to be overly ambitious on vacation in wanting to see and do everything. With a young one, it’s not realistic (or wise) to try and accomplish everything on your bucket list. Pick & choose the activities that are going to be the most rewarding and easy to execute. You will be grateful to have some downtime to relax and kick back.

Book Direct Flights

The most overwhelming part about traveling with a baby is usually the flying. Do yourself (and everyone) a favor by booking a direct flight to your destination. Even if it costs a bit more, the convenience is well worth it. It’s tough enough to board/de-board one flight but imagine having to experience that hassle again. Not to mention, the last thing you want to do is disrupt a sleeping/comfortable baby that is already situated. While we’re on the topic of flying, another great tip is to have one parent board the plane first with the luggage and have the second parent board the flight (with children) when it’s closer to take off. There’s no reason to sit on the flight longer than necessary. There will be plenty of time to get acquainted with your neighbors.

Do Your Research

This might seem obvious but the key to planning a great baby-friendly vacation is selecting a location that is baby-friendly. It’s very important to do your research and chose a destination that is going to be enjoyable & safe for your young ones. Depending on their age, they may not remember much (or any) of the trip, so balance is critical. Make sure to select a destination that the adults are going to appreciate. After all, this vacation is for you too! You should absolutely partake in the things you love but make sure there are plenty of fun activities for the kiddies to enjoy. Whether you visit a petting zoo, carnival, or even a playground, your vacation will be much more pleasant if the kids are entertained. In addition to selecting a suitable destination, choosing your accommodations is just as critical to a successful vacation. Pre-baby you might have opted to stay at a fancy resort but once kids are in the mix, you need to consider what will be more practical. Vacation rentals are great for families since they offer a lot more space and provide access to a kitchen. Not ready to let go of the glamorous life? Try spending a few nights at a hotel and some at a home rental to get the best of both worlds. If the price is of concern, check out our beginner’s guide to finding inexpensive accommodation.

Pack Right

Gone are the days of packing for a trip and worrying about having enough fashion options. When traveling with a baby, your packing strategy can have a serious impact on the outcome of your trip. From car seats and strollers all the way to blankets and breastfeeding pumps, there is A LOT to account for. Make sure you create or follow a checklist to ensure nothing important gets left behind – here’s a good one to get you started. Needless to say, you won’t be able to procrastinate until the night before to pack for a baby-friendly vacation.

While staying home with a young baby or toddler might be more comfortable, where’s the fun in that? Life is all about creating new memories with your new family. As a doting and loving parent, you deserve to enjoy a change of pace & scenery. It will do the whole family good to escape the everyday and experience the excitement of a new location. Your only regret will be not having booked your vacation sooner!