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The following things are what helped us to have a generally fun vacation with our one year old. I do have to warn you though that it was a lot more work vacationing with a toddler, and we worked around her schedule rather than our own.
1. Find a family-friendly place to stay. First I looked for a hotel that would work for our family. We looked at bed and breakfasts but they were all booked, so I looked for a hotel that was family friendly and had plenty of space. We needed somewhere that had a bedroom with a door, and a separate living space so that the baby could have her own area. We chose a Residence Inn. It was perfect, we were able to get a pack n' play from the hotel, it had a kitchen, a separate living space and a bedroom.
2. Find the right airline. I looked for an airline that we didn't have to pay for checked luggage and we could reserve seats; so we picked Jet Blue. Check out my other article on flying with toddlers to find out more information on how we successfully flew with Baby P.
3. Pack baby's bedtime comfort items. Baby P. has certain stuffed animals and a special blanket she sleeps with at nap-time and bedtime. We brought these and her sheets to make sure everything at nap-time and bedtime smelled and felt like home. We also bought a mattress for the pack n' play that we packed into Mr. P's suitcase. This helped bedtime in a pack n' play to be more comfortable!
4. Pack toys. We packed plenty of toys for her so that when we were back in the hotel she had things to play with. Although often it was the towels, cabinets, or water bottles she preferred to play with rather than her toys.
5. Pack food. We of course packed plenty of baby food and went and bought other of baby's favorite treats (like Van's gluten free waffles, grapes and bananas).
6. Pack cups, bowls, plates and cutlery. This one is pretty self explanatory. :)
7. Pack clothes, blankets, socks, shoes. Also self-explanatory. But obviously you need enough diapers, wipes, sunscreen, hats, bibs, outfits, socks, shoes and all other toiletries for baby to last your trip.
The biggest issue we ran into on our first vacation with Baby Picturesque was that she got overstimulated. What helped us most with dealing with this was:
- We always made sure she got her morning nap in the hotel, afterwards we could venture out.
- When we were out and about after a few hours we tried to regroup in a quiet place and I would nurse her (this would help her calm down).
- We always carried her in the Tula. This really helped her stay calm because she was always close to either my husband or I when we were sightseeing.
- We would head back to the hotel if she started getting too cranky.
- She loves being outdoors, so looking at sights that were outdoors rather than staying inside (trains or restaurants or buildings) always helped with her attitude.