If you’re a new parent feeling a little daunted by the prospect of travel with your baby, rest assured you are not alone. Many new parents who arrive for a family vacation at Smugglers’ Notch Resort share a bit of apprehension as they begin the adventure of traveling with their little ones. Smugglers’ child care center director Shelly Schaffer and her staff have years of experience supporting families’ special getaways. They share three tips to put parents and baby on the road to a relaxing family vacation.
First, identify your wish list of amenities and activities to help guide you to a destination choice.
Finding a destination that matches your needs is key to relaxing and fully enjoying your time away. As a starting point, consider the following “must have’s” that new parents have identified In conversations with Treasures’ staff.
- Participation in baby-friendly activities. Look for destinations with gradual entry shallow pools or splash pads for water play. Shaded walks and paths that accommodate strollers also offer a fun recreational opportunity to share with your baby, as can “Stroller & Go” outings for parents. Playground facilities with baby swings can be a pleasant diversion and an opportunity to meet and chat with other parents on vacation.
- Lodging with space to spread out and easily accommodate baby’s gear. Stroller, travel crib … the trick is to fit baby’s gear while maintaining play and relaxation space for your family. Condominium lodging typically will offer more space than a conventional hotel room.
- Convenient laundry services. Infants can go through a week’s worth of clothing in just a couple of days. Perhaps a condominium setting that includes in-home washers and dryers would be a much-appreciated feature during your family’s getaway.
- Kitchens or kitchenettes. If dining out for every meal is not a priority, look for lodging that allows you to cook. Pre-planning some easy meals in your lodging can provide a seemingly effortless dinner option and make maintaining an infant’s routine easier.
- Child care. If your family has young children, quality child care can give you the flexibility to create a balanced family vacation that nurtures the family as well as each individual, leaving everyone happy and refreshed. When looking to spend time with your partner or your older children, you’ll need to consider what infant or toddler child care services are offered, which could include private sitters and an onsite child care center, as is offered at Smugglers’. When parents visiting Smugglers’ ask Shelly for guidance, she suggests that they think about what they’d like to do on vacation that they normally can’t do with an infant or toddler. After choosing their own activities, they then can set up their child care arrangements around their planned adventures. Check to see if the child care center offers scheduling flexibility and half day or hourly rates and what their reservation guidelines are. That way, if you tend to be a relaxed planner, you will know whether the center can accommodate you on that spur of the moment winery tour or zip line adventure. Thinking about child care ahead of time allows you to contact the destination and ask questions prior to arrival, which can help reduce any uncertainty you may feel about setting up child care at an unfamiliar place.
Ready for your vacation? The staff at Treasures offer two additional tips related to your travel day:
- Plan your route with baby’s needs in mind. Prior to heading off to your destination, it’s useful to map out your stops along the way. Diaper changes or bathroom breaks are often needed at the most inopportune times, so it helps to know where the next rest area is. It may also be helpful to start driving during the night or just prior to nap time, when your infant is usually sleeping. This helps keep fussy babies quiet and can make a long car ride more tolerable, especially if you have other young children unaccustomed to car travel. If you do leave in the evening, a stay en route may be necessary, and planning your route ahead of time can help with identifying convenient overnight lodging.
- Research child-friendly restaurants along your route – particularly if you know you’ll be traveling through a meal time. Through review sites or friends’ recommendations, find restaurants that welcome kids. Almost every parent has experienced that unsettling moment when their child decides to fuss and cry in a quiet restaurant. By looking ahead to find dining options where children are welcome, you can thoroughly enjoy your meal.
A final thought – take a full breath and relax! Your pre-vacation preparations will cover all the bases. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your baby and other children will be, and your family will be well on their way to a special vacation getaway. Put that “have baby, will travel” bumper sticker on the car and go!
Interested in reading more?
The caregivers at Treasures Child Care at Smugglers’ Notch Resort welcome your interest in the nursery – read more about Treasures.
Check out Tot tips for parents at Smuggs – suggestions for activities children age 3 and younger and their parents can enjoy during their Smugglers’ summer vacation.