8.11.08: Vacationing with kids
I used to be an intrepid traveler. I used to want to pack up and go somewhere exotic, adventurous, and new. Before I had kids. Now, a trip to visit the grandparents can send me over the edge—all that gear to pack, entertaining kids during a long car ride or flight, hovering over Charlie every minute we spend in an unchildproofed environment, trying to get our kids to sleep far away from the familiar sights and smells of their own beds—it can be a little exhausting, and usually leaves me feeling like I'm going to need a vacation from our vacation.
When Will and I were backpacking through Asia during our child-free years, we saw plenty of parents trekking around with kids on their backs, and we vowed to do the same. Yet, now, I can't bring myself to do it. Last winter, my friend Dani and I tried to plan a vacation to Mexico for our two families. But, the thought of spending all that money to go somewhere where we'd have to lug all of our baby gear, deal with airport security and delays, sleep in a single hotel room, and risk that one of our kids would get sick far away from our pediatricians just seemed a little too daunting for both of us. So, we skipped it, thinking: maybe next year.
Six months later, I'm still feeling a little travel trepidation. I know it's still possible to take a vacation with kids, but part of me wonders whether it's worth all the effort and expense, especially while our kids are still so young? IÂd hate to go somewhere, spend a ton of money, and find that itÂs actually more work than being at home. That's why, this summer, we're opting to take a "staycation." We're lucky enough to live in a town with beautiful beaches that we're always too busy to enjoy. So next week, we're hoping to figure out a way to unplug the computers, turn off the phones, turn a blind eye toward the housework, and hit the beach. It won't be a new adventure. It won't be all that exciting. But it may just prove to be one of our most relaxing vacations yet.
For those of you who are feeling a little more adventurous than me, here are our top 10 tips for traveling with your baby, plus some nifty products to make going places easier. And for those of you who are still expecting, it really is a great time to take a trip, just the two of you—with a few precautions.
Got a travel tip of your own to share? Chime in here.
Dana Rousmaniere is FitPregnancy.com's Managing Editor. Read her around-the-world travel journal here.