Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Guest Post: amy's travel tips

i’d been secretly {ok, not so secretly} freaking out about our two week trip to hawaii with friends, almost to the point of not looking forward to it.  Why?  traveling with a nine month old.  i was worried about the six hour flight there & back, parker crying while sharing a condo with two other {currently kidless} couples, fitting naps into a busy sight-seeing agenda, & all those other inevitable baby-related inconveniences that might occur.

all these worries were for naught.  it went perfectly.  here's what helped us & what we learned along the way:

number one:  if your baby is under two years old & is flying free as an "infant on lap", ask at the gate if you can be moved to a spot with an empty seat.

this is my NUMBER ONE TIP.  i cannot sing enough praise for this one piece of advice.  it saved us big time, both ways.  and?  kudos to hawaiian airlines for being super accommodating.  both times they were able to move us to an empty row of three seats, which allowed for us to bring on the car seat & strap parker in.  the benefits were two fold: it made me feel so much more comfortable knowing that he was securely belted in his car seat rather than being held while flying through the air at 500 mph, AND he felt like he was riding in the car, so he slept like a champ. 

when he was awake we were able to put the car seat under the seat in front of us & let him stretch his legs, sit up in the seat, crawl around a little, etc.  it was awesome.

number 2:  if you're traveling with friends, travel with friends who love kids.

this was key to our successful two weeks.  we have awesome friends.  even though the two couples we vacationed with don't have kids yet, they were all amazing with parker.  everyone played with him, held him, entertained him, & kept him happy at one point or another.  not once did anyone complain when we had to wait an extra half hour or so to go out because parker was napping, or when we had to be a little more mindful of quietly closing doors because a baby was sleeping.

but on the flip side of that...

number three:  be flexible, be realistic, & realize that every one else's vacation doesn't need to revolve around your kid.

kids are pretty dang adaptable.  once i accepted that parker would probably miss a few naps, stay up a bit later, & eat at a few different times than normal, the vacation went great.  we didn't want to hold everyone else back for the sake of his "schedule", so realizing that your kid can handle a few upsets in his normal routine makes life a bit easier for everyone.

number four:  always pack a backpack full of snacks, sippy cups, toys, diapers, wipes, clothes changes, & more snacks. take it everywhere.

having a bag of tricks to keep parker entertained was pretty key.  we always had a backpack on hand full of toys, various snacks, his sippy cup, a change of clothes, diapers, & wipes.  this seems obvious, but it was easy to forget about.  until we would go from the beach to a restaurant & realize we left stuff for him to play with in the car.  if we just took this one go-to bag with us everywhere we were set.

how is this different than packing a diaper bag?  i suppose it's not much different.  but a backpack seems much more on-the-go trip-like, right?  and, sam wore it a lot.  so it's different.

number five:  have an amazing husband who pulls his own share.

sam is easily the number one reason why this vacation with parker went so smoothly for me.  we totally took turns staying back at the condo with parker during naps, holding him while the other swam in the ocean, & carrying him in the baby bjorn for hikes.  never once did i feel like i was getting the short end of the stick, or that parker was completely my responsibility.  why should i?  his dad was with me.  and sam was perfect in that respect.

make sure your partner is on board with baby duties & that you agree to how you will share the down time so that the trip will be relaxing & fair for both of you.

and finally,

number six:  realize it might not go perfectly.  there will be tears, there will be fussiness, & there will be things that don't go quite as you planned.

one thing i didn't expect?  parker would HATE the beach.  he hated sand.  he hated being on a blanket or a towel on top of sand.  all time spent at the beach with parker was spent holding parker.  but that was ok.  sam & i took turns holding him & our friends helped out a few times too.  as long as he was held, he was happy.

also?  he would not, for the life of him, stand in the water.  if he was up by your shoulder clutching you tightly, he would allow for you to wade in the water with him.  but standing in it?  not happening.  ah well, maybe next time.

oh yeah.  and?  parker cut a tooth on this trip.  i won't even go into that.

so anywho, there's a few things that worked for us.  a vacation is totally worth it, even after baby.  i would do it again in a heartbeat.

You see me mention Amy every Saturday as the happy host of our weeks in phone pics.  I would like to thank her for allowing me to post her work on TryItMom. You can find more on her adorable blog at a good life, on twitter, and facebook.  Warning: You will spend a lot of time oooooing and aahhhhing over adorable pics of her little guy!

I am currently following her tips because they are awesome! On one of our flights yesterday, we were able to take an empty seat for O's car seat, and it was heaven (mostly because we had to split up, and hubby was entertaining JD while I was reading a magazine & watching O sleep).

1 comment:

  1. I will echo asking about an empty seat. We've flown several time with our son and most gate agents have been totally accommodating. (Not all, one was really snotty, but there's always a jerk or two in any travel.)

    Also, learning to roll with it is key. I spend the weeks leading up to all the trips we've taken with kidlet FREAKING out about napping, and feeding, and sleeping, and crying and I'm a hige ball of anxiety right up until we're actually on vacation. And then everything goes fine and I wonder why I stressed out so much.

    Best advice I have? HAVE FUN. Let the stress go. Be as prepared as possible, but remember that part of the fun of being on vacation is that life is a little different.


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