Last week we took our first vacation with James. We traveled to Maine, a location we chose pretty randomly based on where Southwest flies, wanting to go somewhere we’ve never been, and the presence of a national park. I choose many travel destinations based on national parks as exploring new (to me) ones is one of my all time favorite things in the world.
It did not disappoint.
Months before the trip, I was really looking forward to it. My parents traveled with us and I would talk on the phone with my mom about how much fun it would be. Weeks before the trip, I wasn’t so sure. I was still excited, but all of the travel logistics seemed really daunting. James is not one to sleep on the go, he barely sleeps on road trips, so I had visions of him awake for all of the flights and getting crankier and crankier.
Thankfully, that was not the case at all! I think the three things that made flying relatively easy for us were:
1. Fly when baby is tired: We had to wake up at 3 AM for our first flight. This was exhausting, but it worked so well, as James slepts for half of the first flight and most of the second flight and was in a great mood for the rest of the day. for the return flight, we left at 5:30 PM and he slept for almost all of the flights home. I couldn’t believe it!
2. Bring forgotten favorites: I’ve read the tip to bring new books or toys for baby on the plane, but the thing is James doesn’t really like new stuff. He isn’t generally interested in a new toy until it’s been on his shelf for a few days and he doesn’t love a book until we’ve read it a few hundred times. So about a week or two before our trip, I put away all of his favorite books. When I got them out on the airplane, it was like Christmas morning. He could NOT have been more excited to see his favorite books again. They kept him happy for all of his awake time on the flights.
3. Bring small finger foods: I think snacks keep everyone, children and adults, happy when traveling. For us, puffs, cheerios, and peas helped the most because he eats them one at a time so it takes longer. We brought more substantial food as well, but he tends to inhale things like pouches in about thirty seconds.
Those three things made the flights pretty easy!
We stayed in AirBnBs for all except the last night of the trip. Both houses we stayed in had a great outdoor area with lots of grass.
Also, staying in an AirBnB allowed us to hang out after James went to bed, rather than sitting in silence so as not to wake him. The only downside to renting houses was that they were not nearly as dark as James’s room or a hotel room, so he woke up around 5:30 every day when it got light.
This wasn’t totally terrible, as it allowed us to see some of the things that get really crowded, like popular beaches, when they were almost completely empty.
We were definitely tired by the end though. When we stayed in a dark hotel room the last night, he slept 12 1/2 hours until 7 AM. It was glorious.
Honestly, I had read that traveling with babies / small children is more of a trip than a vacation, but with a few exceptions, this was one of the most relaxing vacations I’ve ever taken.
I tend to be very go, go, go when traveling because I want to see everything, but having a baby who naps twice a day really forced me to slow down and spend time reading outside in the beautiful forest where we were staying and simply spending time with my family. It was wonderful.
We didn’t do as much hiking as we normally would, or see every little thing there was to see, but we did get to slow down and really experience somewhere new. We got to just be there, instead of rushing around and it was wonderful.
We just booked our next trip, to see family in Wisconsin, and I cannot wait!
Do you like to travel?
Are you go, go, go on vacations or more relaxed?