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Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 1 of 27

    Dos and Don'ts of Family Vacation: 25 tips for travel with kids

    'Tis the season when parents of new babies and toddlers ask themselves, Do I dare take a real vacation with little Johnny? It's a tough call. You're several years away from Disney World and, if it's your first kid, you're probably not too many years removed from a pre-baby getaway to the islands, or a once-in-a-lifetime trek through Europe. You remember fun and happiness. Can you still find that sort of fun on vacation? Hate to break to you, but no. You can, however, manage to somewhat enjoy yourself. So here are some dos and don'ts to survive vacation time with a little one in tow.
  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 2 of 27

    1: Don't expect to relax

    Don't expect to relax You know those Corona commercials where the couple sits quietly before a gentle surf enjoying a sunset beer? Your vacations will be nothing like that for at least 20 years. Right now it’s all about preventing your son from drowning or walking your daughter up and down the hotel steps 11 times in a row.

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 3 of 27

    2: Do ship supplies ahead of time

    Do ship supplies ahead of time Especially if you fly. You don’t need half of your suitcase jammed up with wipes, diapers, snacks, and toys. Find out the address of the hotel you’re staying at and how early they recommend sending packages.

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 4 of 27

    3: Don't fly

    Don't fly For years, you’ve hated those people who just won’t tell their kid to shut up on the plane. Now you are those people. Drive — and crank up the radio. (If you must fly, do bring snacks, toys, a loaded DVD player, your iPad, whatever it takes.)

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 5 of 27

    4: Do stay at a nice place

    Do stay at a nice place You’re not backpacking through Europe anymore. Amenities are your friend. You need to embrace your inner snob — you know, the person who expects someone to set up their beach umbrella and bring them towels and drinks. Because you’re busy trying to keep your son from being carried out to sea.

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 6 of 27

    5: Do spring for a suite

    Do spring for a suite It’s going to hurt your credit card, but without a separate place for junior to sleep, vacation days end when baby goes to bed. So unless you like spending your nights playing Angry Birds under the covers or drinking wine in the dark (with no hope of adult hugs whatsoever), pay for the extra room.

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 7 of 27

    6: Do let your kid play in the hotel crib first

    Do let your kid play in the hotel crib first Seriously, this works. Babies need to feel comfortable, and comfort comes from familiarity. Just dumping your little guy in a strange crib for the first time one night might not go so well.

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 8 of 27

    7: Don't go out to eat

    Don't go out to eat Your hotel is within walking distance of a swanky sushi place. There’s a high-end steak restaurant you’ve had your eye on since you checked in. Forget about both and order room service. Unless you want to be the one taking the filet mignon to go after little Sophie throws her fourth buttered roll on the floor while screaming bloody murder. If you must brave a restaurant, effectively scare your waiter as soon as you sit down: “We have to order NOW!”

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 9 of 27

    8: Do overeat

    Do overeat That’s guaranteed fun. And you’re already married, so no need to worry about that beach body, right?

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 10 of 27

    9: Do drink early

    Do drink early As a wise person once said, “Vacationing with an 18-month old is simply parenting in a different place, where it may be hot.” That’s why there’s no shame in a little rum punch at 10 a.m. to take the edge off.

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 11 of 27

    10: Don't get drunk though

    Don't get drunk though You really are still watching your kid and protecting his wellbeing. Getting sloppy is dangerous and could inspire your partner to look into the local divorce laws. Plus, babies who get up at 5 a.m. still get up at 5 a.m. in the tropics. Just something to think about before downing that last Mai Tai.

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 12 of 27

    11: Do locate the pharmacy before you need it

    Do-locate-the-pharmacy-before-you-need-it This way you’ll know how far a walk it is, and you’ll have the number for when you need your doctor to call in that pink-eye prescription.

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 13 of 27

    12: Don't whine if your kid doesn't like the pool, ocean, or lake

    Don't whine if your kid doesn't like the pool, ocean, or lake You’ll have plenty of years to teach your young one to body surf, skim rocks, and build sand castles. Just be happy you don’t have to watch for constant sunburn signs like the rest of us.

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 14 of 27

    13: Do give yourself an extra hour to go anywhere

    Do give yourself an extra hour to go anywhere Headed for the pool? Okay, so you’ll need to do a diaper change; slather sunscreen on your kid; slather sunscreen on yourself; pack the bathing suit, swim vest, water shoes, snacks, water, towels, and beach chairs; walk to the beach ...

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 15 of 27

    14: Don't be ashamed to spend an afternoon at the mall ... or Wendy's

    Don't be ashamed to spend an afternoon at the mall ... or Wendy's Because all that prep to go to more tourist-y places will get old. And you can only order in surf and turf so many times. And you don’t need sunscreen. And your kid can eat Frosties and throw them on the floor.

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 16 of 27

    15: Do blow some of your son's 529 fund money at the casino

    Do blow some of your son's 529 fund money at the casino You deserve it. (And he’ll never know.)

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 17 of 27

    16: Don't change a swimmy diaper alone

    Don't change a swimmy diaper alone Whoever invented the swimmy diaper should be beaten or jailed. While it’s a lovely concept, that fact that the diaper doesn’t open or close on the sides but must be slid off a wet, sandy, shivering, angry body while possibly loaded up with number 2 — well, that just creates a dangerous slingshot effect that no one should be subjected to without assistance.

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 18 of 27

    17: Do tip housekeeping well

    Do tip housekeeping well Because with the constant wet clothing, diaper leakage, sunscreen spills, and food dumped on every inch of the floor, junior will end up treating the room slightly better than The Rolling Stones did on tours in the ’70s. And you’ll always, always need more towels.

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 19 of 27

    18: Don't dress up

    Don't dress up You’re not going out to eat — or anywhere nice at least. Those nice clothes are just going to sit in your bag torturing you. And if you do put them on, your kid will need his swimmy diaper changed immediately. Embrace that Myrtle Beach t-shirt you bought for $9.99 at the gift shop.

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 20 of 27

    19: Do dress your kid up

    Do dress your kid up It will make you feel good, and more importantly, make her more tolerable to others when she tries to break things in the hotel.

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 21 of 27

    20: Don't bring a book you've always wanted to read

    Don't bring a book you've always wanted to read You’ll never even break the binding. But do bring Big Red Barn.

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 22 of 27

    21: Do let your kid run around the hotel lobby

    Do let your kid run around the hotel lobby The staff will love her, and you’ll have 30 seconds of free babysitting to read USA Today.

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 23 of 27

    22: Don't bother with the sights

    Don't bother with the sights Baby Joshua doesn’t want to see where the British, the French, and the Indians signed some treaty or built some wall in the woods. And really, neither do you.

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 24 of 27

    23: Do take turns having fun

    Do take turns having fun When you are all together on vacation as a family, at most you can have moderate amounts of fun, with a constant sense of life’s limitations. But if you separate occasionally — daddy takes the baby for a walk while mommy sunbathes — then at least someone is having real, relaxing fun. For at least 10 minutes. Dysfunctional, yes, but effective.

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 25 of 27

    24: Don't separate too long

    Dont-separate-too-long How was your 90-minute massage honey? Or your hour at the casino? Well, the baby wouldn’t nap for me, had a dirty diaper, and hit her head on the side of the pool. Take her now! Relaxation, meet resentment.

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 26 of 27

    25: Don't go

    Dont-go Have you been paying attention at all? Does this sound worth it to you? A vacation with a toddler that’s equal parts joy and hell for thousands of dollars? Skip it. Resign yourself to the fact that good vacations won’t exist for a few years. Instead take a week off and stay local. Hang out with your family in your house. Drive over to your in-laws’ place. What? Are you insane? What the hell kind of vacation is that? One where you’ll sleep, possibly even get drunk, or go out — and know that somebody reliable is watching your little angel.

  • Dos and Don’ts of Family Vacation 27 of 27
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