Top Tips for Traveling with Baby
Traveling with a baby means bracing yourself for a new definition of travel. Before having Eleanor, Brett and I were able to do things at a much quicker pace. It’s taken us some time to adjust and we often have to remind ourselves to slow down. However, we are all much happier when we remember to go at a more leisurely pace and enjoy the sights. For us this means maintaining Eleanor’s schedule as best we can. Our daily lives look something like this:
7:00 am - Wake up 7:00 am - 9:30 am - Breakfast, shower, get ready and work check-in 9:30 am - 11:30 am - Get out of the house to explore 11:30 am - Lunch (picnic if possible) 12:15 pm - 3:00 pm - Eleanor’s nap if we're lucky (time for us to work) 3:00 pm - 3:30 pm - Snack 3:30 pm - 6:00 pm - Get out again and play 6:30 pm - Dinner 7:00 pm - Bath 7:30 pm - Bedtime for Eleanor 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm - Work
Now is probably a good time to fill you in on a little secret…Brett and I hate being on a schedule. That’s probably a big contributor to us working for ourselves. We’ve had to work really hard to keep this routine, but the payoff is worth it.
Of course the outline above is just an outline. There are days when we have dinner plans with friends and bedtime gets pushed back or we have a work call in the middle of the afternoon. The point is to have a base to work from so that you can make adjustments accordingly.
This also means that on a recent trip to Scotland, we had to reign in how much of the beautiful country we could see. Brett and I are used to driving long distances. It was 12 hours by car from Colorado to his family in Iowa and we made the trip several times when it was just the two of us. But, Eleanor does not like the car so we limited ourselves to 1.5 hour stints at a time (often shorter), with one long day of 3 hours planned out over her nap time. Without Eleanor, we would have pushed the driving limits and probably seen most of beautiful scenery throughout the country in the eight days we were there.
Another way we changed how we travel was to stay in the same place two nights in a row when possible. We would arrive somewhere in the afternoon and stay close by that first night. The next day would be a full day of sightseeing with a restful night. Then we’d leave the next morning and plan an outing before Eleanor’s nap time. We used her nap schedule to drive to the next destination and do it again. We were able to stay two nights in the same place at three of the five places we stayed in Scotland.
And you know what? Taking it slower was a nice way to travel. It can be hard to say, “No” to driving just a little bit more to see what’s around the next bend or trying to fit in one more castle. However, by the end of your trip, you’re exhausted and burned out. That’s when you hear people mutter, “I need a vacation from my vacation.”
So, we might not have seen it all and we know we missed a lot, but we enjoyed our time in Scotland and kept our sanity while vacationing with a toddler. Plus, we did see some amazing sights and met some great people so our “holiday” was a success.
Now it’s your turn. What are your tips and tricks for traveling with your little ones? Do you take it slower than before? Or are you more active now that you have kids?
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