Monday, May 20, 2013

Guest Blogger | Kendra Thornton - Vacationing With Babies Made Easy

Well, tomorrow is the big day! I will be flying across country alone with Baby Benjamin. This weekend and today I have been busy getting ready for our trip, both physically and mentally. Traveling with a mobile 5.5 month old is so different than flying with a 10 week old but I'm up for the challenge. Preparation is imperative while traveling with a child of any age whether you have a travel partner or not, and I think we're just about ready for this! When I get back in June I plan to finally share some tips I have learned from our experiences with air travel. 
Today I am excited to share an article written by Kendra Thornton just for Love, Joleen readers on how to make vacationing with babies easy! We will be traveling to Florida this July for a family reunion and I plan on utilizing many of these ideas. Thank you so much for sharing, Kendra!  

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Vacationing doesn't have to end when parenting begins. In fact, taking a family vacation is a great way to spend quality time together while making unforgettable memories. It is true that traveling with young children can be difficult, but with the proper preparation, the whole family will have a blast. Before traveling, consider the following five tips to make vacationing with babies and toddlers as hassle free as possible.

Stick To The Routine 

Vacationing may be fun, but young children often find the sudden changes to be overwhelming. Parents can help ease this discomfort by sticking to the child's regular routine. Portable snacks and meals, such as yogurt or sandwiches, can be packed ahead of time so babies don't end up cranky from hunger while still allowing you to enjoy your late lunch reservations. Parents should also make sure never to skip naptime, as this is the quickest way to make toddlers grumpy.  With babies, naptime can often be wherever their sleepy heads fall.  Make sure to bring their regular naptime necessities to prevent an unhappy wake up.  For nap resistant toddlers, try adjusting their nap schedule in the weeks before vacation if you know their traditional sleep time will interfere with vacation plans.

Choosing Your Stroller

If you’ve ever flown with a child, you know the hassle involved in transporting a stroller.  If you can, check your stroller to avoid having to maneuver it through security. My family depends on our Gogobabyz Travelmate, which works as an attachment to many car seats.  Since many airlines require children over the age of two and under 40lbs to be seated in a child-safe seat while in flight, the travelmate removes the hassle of lugging a car seat and a stroller through the airport. This allows eliminates the need to hand carry or rent a car seat at your final destination.
Pick A Child-Friendly Resort 

Picking a child-friendly resort may seem like a no-brainer, but there are many little things that parents often overlook. Since most babies will still be drinking from a bottle, having a fridge to keep milk and juice cold is a must.  If you have a crawler, look into hotels that offer certified baby-proofed rooms.  An onsite playground or kiddie pool will also help keep young children entertained. Some hotels also offer daycare and other fun activities so parents can have a chance to enjoy some alone time.  When my family was reviewing all of the great hotels in Honolulu for our Hawaiian vacation, we were able to evaluate which one met our family’s needs.  From kids day camps that focused on the Hawaiian culture to certified babysitting, do your research before you book to make sure your hotel is providing everything you’ll need for an enjoyable vacation.
Plan Ahead To Prevent Illness 

Many toddlers are prone to motion sickness, which can make driving and flying a nightmare. With proper preparation, however, this can be avoided. Whenever possible, young children should be allowed to sit by the window. Warm temperatures can also increase the likelihood of motion sickness, so parents should be sure to have the AC running in the car or have the airplane's air vent pointed towards the child at all times. Over-the-counter medication may also be used, but only if it's been taken beforehand so parents know their child won't have an adverse reaction.  This goes for new foods as well.  Make sure you have your insurance cards on you at all times in addition to an emergency kit with Benadryl and Tylenol. 

Make Traveling Comfortable 

Speaking of naptime, sleeping can be a challenge when traveling, especially when in a car. Parents can make this process easier by packing plenty of blankets and pillows to make the ride more comfortable. Special car blinds to block out sunlight may also be used, and parents with young babies may find that bringing along a white noise CD helps their child to sleep.  If your baby is used to sleeping in a crib, think about investing in a portable crib, like Baby Bjorn.  Although a bit pricey, this travel crib was designed for easy transport and extremely comfortable with excellent mother reviews. Hotels may also offer cribs upon request, so ask before making your trip.

Kendra Thornton: Travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of 3. 

I am a long time travel expert who has been packing my bags and traveling the world since I was 3 months old! I've found my utmost desire in life is right here in my own home. I have taken my excitement for travel and brought it to you with some of my favorite travel tips and tricks. 


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