Promised and delivered…
Since Sophia’s birth, we’ve travelled to Virginia beach when she was 8 months old, Michigan when she was 9 months old, the Caribbean when she was 14 months old, California when she was 21 months old and now back to the Caribbean when she was 26 months old.
Some of those vacations like the California were active and involved changing hotels and a bit of driving while others like the Virginia shore were more relaxing especially since we rented an apartment that had a kitchen.
My takeaway is that even active vacations are doable with a child and the key to enjoying yourself is your own attitude and planning. Before going on any of these, I scoured the internet for advice, tips and tricks to find that the majority of the advice out there was conflicting and incomplete. So when I found nothing that was sufficient, I started to devise my own.
Packing: I always pack generously, but have started to trim down once I set everything out. I usually take enough tops and bottoms such that I have one per day. The reason is, if something soils, I can always wash it in the sink. Kids clothes are small.
Snacking: Even though Sophia eats mostly table food, I always pack snacks and even some baby food that she likes so she can have something familiar when adjusting to a foreign environment. Her favorite snacks are raisins, cheerios, alpha-bits and these mango pouches.
Dressing: I tend to err on the side of practicality. This means layers, onesies, sandals with socks (yes, I know it is a fashion faux pas) and light cardigans are staples in Sophia’s wardrobe.
Beach Time: Some kids are beach kids from the get-go. They love the water and it is difficult to get them out. Other kids are cautious and just getting them to play in the sand is an accomplishment. Sophia falls into the latter category. We found that short stints at the beach (1.5-2 hrs) each day were plenty. Children tire out very quickly in the heat and humidity and nothing is worse than a cranky kid.
Education & Expectation: While we travel for pleasure, traveling with kids is in part for education. They get to learn about new places and cultures where people enjoy different lifestyles and customs. We try our best to adapt to the local regimen and have come to expect that Sophia adjusts as well. For example, while some may shy away from this, we thought it was quite reasonable to tour wineries and expect Sophia to behave while we tasted the offerings.
I have come to understand that successful travels are 25% planning and 75% attitude. It may be daunting to try traveling with a toddler, but it is really quite fun. Not only do you get to see and experience new places, but you get to see your kids experience that too.
The payoff is worth it…