Baby clothes, diapers, snacks, Baby Hats, more snacks, blankets, change of clothes …the list could go on. All these are a few of the things you need when going on a weekend trip with a baby or toddler. Weekends are fun and we always want to make the most of them. It’s a time you get off work that you can utilize to do the things you want to do like rest, stay indoors all day and let the kids run around, or be adventurous and go on a family trip. But just how do you plan for a weekend trip with a baby? After you’ve packed your perfect weekend bag for you and your babies, how do you decide on where to go and how do you get there?
Gone are the days when you could just up and go at a moment’s notice. When it comes to traveling with kids, you have to plan ahead. It’s always better and easier when you plan ahead. I’m a last minute kind of person and a chronic procrastinator and I always regret it. When I visited Paris I thought I could just be spontaneous and go with the flow but because I didn’t plan properly, I ended up not visiting the louver because of bad planning and bad timing. To make the most of your precious daylight hours for you and your kids, apply some tools to help you out along the way.
If you’re planning a road trip, you can use apps made specifically for road trippers that will suggest stops along the way and calculate your travel time including rest hours. Also plan for entertainment during the car ride because kids get bored pretty quickly. Plan care games, download all the movies or games on their devices so they are occupied for the whole car ride or plane ride. Even if you’re not a planner per say, having options will at least prevent you from wasting precious weekend hours trying to decide where to go or what fun activities to do.
Pack and Dress Appropriately
Packing baby hats might seem unnecessary or inconsequential but when you are on a trip one small thing could make the difference between a screaming child and a happy and quiet one. Check the weather forecast for your location before you go so you can pack the right clothes and the right gear. Make sure to pack extra layers for cold nights, and if you live in the Pacific Northwest or in a rainy climate, always bring a rain jacket. Having the right clothes and accessories can make or break a trip.
For babies, in the cold weather always dress them in one more layer than you the adult is wearing. That way, you are sure they are staying warm and in addition, you can take off layers if it gets warmer or if you are indoors.
Don’t forget baby hats and gloves or mittens. Also bring a change of clothes for when the toddlers inevitably stain themselves while eating, drinking from a juice box or playing. Also, pack season appropriate clothes so if you are going on your trip in the summer, pack cool and light clothing like t-shirts and shorts and summer dresses for the girls.
If Possible, Travel on a Long Weekend
You don’t want to go through all the hassle of traveling and all the preparation that comes with just for a couple of days – especially if you are traveling a long distance. The weekend goes by really quickly so it always helps when you have an extra day like Friday or Monday off to make the most of your trip. Just a quick look at the calendar and you can choose a weekend includes government holidays and school breaksto extend your holiday. You can even get clever with your vacation days at work, and tack them on to a long weekend to extend your trip even more!
Get Up As Early As Possible
If it’s a road trip leave early and so you make the most of the day and you also get the benefit of catching the beautiful sunrise. Let your toddlers know they will be getting up early and get them hyped for the trip. And if you’re flying or taking the train, try to book an early trip, Using all the daylight hours will allow you to spend more time exploring new places, or just soaking in one place! Either way, more vacation hours awake equals more vacation fun. If you’re not particularly a morning person, drink coffee or something.
Be Flexible with your Plans
Kids can be very unpredictable and they might decide they don’t want to do any of the activities you planned out or they might not be enjoying themselves with all the museum visits and all. While having vacation goals and destinations are very important, it’s also good to leave room for unexpected changes in the plan. It also leave room to be spontaneous which a lot of times ends up being even more fun!
Plan for Food
Besides packing sufficient snacks for the kids you also have to plan for major meals. Being in a different city means that you would have to find the right restaurants and cafes that have menus for kids and can accommodate and sit a family. Plan ahead so you can make any reservations and do away with unpleasant surprises. Also, pack sufficient snacks for when you are going on sightseeing during your trip. Kids are bound to get hungry or cranky in between breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner.