Planning and Enjoying a Family Vacation with Kids Aged 0-2

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A vacation with toddlers (aged 9 months to 3 years) is actually quite similar to taking them on an outing from home, except that it obviously needs more planning in terms of travel and stay arrangements. Plus, you get to see and enjoy new places too! Since toddlers are active and curious, they can be a real handful in new places, but also a lot of fun. Every new sight, sound, smell can be a big adventure for them and the right attitude can make it an adventure for the parents too. But in the whole equation, the baby’s comfort, choice of healthy, kid-friendly food, baby-safe leave-alone time, subverting over-tired tantrums become important factors which guide travel and stay choices. A simple standard vacation can be modulated into an enriching experience for the babies too.

Taking a vacation with a baby or toddler can be challenging and sometimes may not seem worth the trouble. But if planned right, kids of this age can also add a lot of fun and joy to the vacation. The key is to plan an age-appropriate itinerary which does not over-tire the kids or parents and ensures that everyone has a good, safe, and healthy time. If the kids are happy and comfortable, it reflects in the parents’ enjoyment as well. But more often than not, a parent’s idea of a vacation changes with the arrival of their baby. For many parents, not just for the first time, it opens up a different world of challenges, joys, expectations, and responsibilities which they are keen to enjoy and share with their child. Planning a vacation, then, is something which is as challenging and exciting for them as well.

Significance of Family Vacations for Young Children

Away from home, children are part of experiences their parents encourage and cultivate. They are filled with the marvel of the sights and sounds of new places and people. The family rhythm adjusts to gentler paces with more time for relaxation, reading, and experiencing new tastes, sounds, and sensations. Away from daily routines, parents often notice new stages in their children’s development. In addition, the simple pleasures of exploring together as a family offer children fun and relaxation along with their parents. Other vacation benefits include opportunities to learn about new surroundings, meet new people, discover fascinating history, share family stories, and simply have fun and feel relaxed. A parent who finds family vacations enjoyable and value-enhancing will likely both extend and repeat the experience.

The value of spending quality time together may be the most significant benefit of a family vacation. These shared adventures also provide memories individuals and families treasure and capture in photos and videos. There are unique experiences such as sticky sand between tiny toes, swimming in a mountain lake, or riding a carousel for the first time. In addition, vacations offer a child their first opportunities to test their uncertainty at sleeping in a bed that is not their own. Such tests are important in the developmental process from baby to young child. Rather than focusing family time on activities such as Disneyland, parents might reflect on the experiences enjoyed and contemplate trips that have provided the curiosity, exposure, and imagination that travel offers.

Choosing the Right Destination

Traveling around the globe with kids is easier today than it was in the past, but time, money, the patience of your children, and your destination will all be a consideration. A 2-week vacation in Hawaii from the east coast of the United States, including airfare and hotel can be quite expensive. Closer destinations including the Caribbean and Mexico will reduce travel time and may not be as expensive, but probably will be more risky health-wise if your children are not up-to-date with their inoculations. The U.S., Canada, and many areas of Europe offer a wide variety of experiences to appeal, at least in part, to all members of the family unit.

Closer to home. A week at the ocean, a weekend in the mountains, or a day trip to an amusement park can be as satisfying as a long vacation. A change of scene can do babies as much good as adults. One of the pleasures in seeing a small child play in the sand is giving him that experience, discovering what sand, waves, a pail, a shovel, and a few seashells have to offer. If vicinity is a major consideration, consult with travel guides and family travel agents about possibilities within 100 miles, 300 miles or less.

Where to go? Choose a destination you are keen about. Kids of all ages enjoy vacations spent with parents who are genuinely interested in their surroundings. Do you like camping, the mountains, the beach? Once there, look for facilities that make managing young kids easier. Enlist the help of a travel agent who can direct you to the right place at the right time of year for your type of vacation. Many agents specialize in family travel and know the places with drop-in daycare centers, children’s amenities, even 24-hour maid service.

Factors to Consider

Thinking about planning a family vacation with your little one(s)? There are several factors to consider. First of all, if your child is still relying solely on milk or formula for nutrition, keep in mind that in some destinations it will be necessary to pack in enough baby food, powdered milk, or pre-measured sachets to last the entire length of the trip. Your child may be sensitive to new food or water in certain regions of the world, which can cause problems that can easily be avoided. It may not always be easy to find an electric or stovetop kettle for boiling water when you need it. Even if you are staying in a destination for a short amount of time, consider bringing baby food with you or, if you’re strolling around a city, having a hotel restaurant or room service blend up a puree of fruit is another option. This is what we did when we stayed at the Marriott in Cairo, Egypt, and our baby loved her orange and apple puree.

Our family loves to travel, and even after our first child was born, we decided that we wouldn’t let it stop us. Both my husband and I love seeing the world, and it makes us so happy to share our experiences with our children. We have lived in a few different countries, and our travels have taken us to over 25! I’d like to write a post here on what we’ve learned to help a young family enjoy relaxing and rejuvenating travels together, so that anyone who is thinking about traveling with a young child can feel confident and knowledgeable about the pros and cons of various destinations and options, what to bring, and more. I’m gathering this information either from personal experience or from that of other families. We hope to inspire you to continue your travels and to instill a love of seeing the world in your children at an early age.

Family-Friendly Destinations

1. Kauai, Maui, or Hawaii Island, Hawaii: Islands with calm and peaceful beaches and warm waters are perfect for families. Be sure to watch fireworks on Fridays in Lahaina and enjoy the magnificent sunset.

2. Bali, Indonesia: This vacation paradise is kid-friendly and allows exploring different experiences.

3. Hong Kong, China: The Ocean Park, Happy Valley, Peak Tram, and Disneyland offer attractions that families can all visit.

To reduce problems during a trip and ensure having a relaxing, enjoyable time, families will need suitable experiences that will meet their kids’ different vacationing needs and will create unforgettable family memories. It is recommended for this age group to plan an open schedule and have less travel time. Visiting family-friendly cities frequented by families is recommended rather than planning nature or adventure tours, and also staying in a boutique hotel or family-friendly facility is recommended.

Packing Essentials for Traveling with Young Children

In the transition phase, the kids also look for physical comfort, and at times also for their crying spells. Here is our list of items that you might want to carry for a more comfortable trip: carry the new sleep-time mattress pad or place a waterproof blanket over the crib. The final point is entertainment. We always carry a stack of travel toys wherever we go. It is worth packing a mix of old toys and new toys. Auto and magnetic toys also work wonders for kids. Examples of those are coloring books, sticker books. Always include a few traditional travel toys: pack favorites that kids enjoy at home such as puzzles, coloring, etc. Our favorites are Crayola’s color wonder packs. These are beautiful for the kids to recognize colors and shapes wherever they are. The paint goes on the white paper and does not spill anywhere else. Kids’ visual encyclopedia is wow. They will be buried in it for long periods.

Here are the essentials to carry when traveling with young kids on vacation. In addition to clothing, the key things to carry are a stroller, baby gear (for younger kids), baby food and feeding accessories, milk and feeding accessories, bath and skin care products, first aid, and medications, entertainment (travel toys), and an often forgotten category for the transition periods – travel gear. Young kids’ behavior on holidays becomes very unpredictable and can often surprise even the hardiest of travelers. Some kids can get very clingy, fussy, or irritable when exposed to a lot of new things very quickly. So, their sleep diaper might get wet often.

Clothing and Accessories

– Take at least two clothing articles for each day since children are not as steady as adults in that regard! This precaution is basic but essential, as Thomas, too, has already dined with children without a bib, without the result being a pretty picture at the end of the meal! Add socks, as these small feet get cold easily. Guests who enjoyed a Disney parade did not consider the socks necessary, even because it was summer, but their girl returned to the hotel, sleepy and hungry, with cold legs.

– Little bodies get cold easily, no matter the time of year. Enough layers are needed to keep young children in the home environment needed at night; also, the constraints of the stroller outing need to be thought through. Reasons for tears and crying need to be avoided during your outings. Prefer leaving it to the children to enjoy their contribution to your outings, thus fostering a positive attitude toward the activity and facilitating the development of the leisure activity. Involve your companion in filling the backpack too. Their autonomy grows as does your 2-year-old child’s desire to feed himself.

Feeding and Diapering Supplies

Food Preparation • Disposable wipes (for after eating and also for cleaning your hands before you prepare the food).

Feeding Solids • Plate and cup and plastic dish with lid for feeding, if your infants have started on solids. • Disposable bibs, if your baby is using them. • Toddler-sized spoon and fork, if needed.

Baby Bottles or Cup Feeding Supplies • Bottle holder, if you will be propping the bottle (use only if also holding the bottle on occasion).

• Cart or tote bag for holding these supplies. • Cloth diapers pinned in place or in diaper site wraps or disposable diapers. • Changing pad to place your child on when changing. • Baby powder will be helpful, also. • Large diaper pins, if you use cloth diapers — you need several of them if you are not staying in one place and can’t rinse your dirty diapers right after use. • 6 or more large (5″ x 8″ or larger) Ziploc bags to hold various used diapers when you’re away from your diaper pail or laundry business.

Tips for Traveling with Kids Aged 0-2

At 10 to 12 months, a wearable baby carrier on take-off is useful so you can be hands-free, have your baby on you, and be able to bounce them as needed. At 18 months or so, an iPad app with children’s books or interactive toys to mess with can work wonders. But at no time is any child the ideal age to fly yet. To preface: Your travel plan now will only scarcely resemble that from before. It didn’t quite work then, but now you throw it away and realize no plan will work just fine, thank you very much. Now, give these tips a go, even if they’re different from what you usually do.

Infants are by far the easiest age group to fly with. However, they grow into toddlers – and by now, their levels of energy and curiosity may make trips more difficult. With some tips, a plan, and a bit of luck, your family vacation can stay on track – and stay fun. If your child is a baby, congratulations. Infants are by far the easiest age group to fly with. You didn’t plan on your flight timing or lengths – you’re at your baby’s mercy. However, they’re unlikely to object to anything specific regarding flights and will therefore be the easiest to please. Infants can’t be expected to understand that the loud ‘bang, bang, CRASH’ they’re hearing is happening on an airplane – whether it be on a movie or elsewhere – unless you’ve prepped them with similar sounds.

Traveling by Car

For children in rear-facing car seats, mount a reflection mirror on the rear seat so that you can see your children. This lets you calm those instances where your child wakes up from a nap in the car, looked around, and discovered that the family is off doing something about as far as you can go away from him. This may not fit cleanly into the fun category, but it is practical. In many cases, the reflection mirrors will make your kids happy while they are in their car seats. If your child has outgrown sitting backward, you can still buy a single or two-sided mirror for slightly older children. Since the driver can see the children in the mirror, the children are less likely to scream to get the driver to talk to them. The child can see the driver and is more willing to sit in the back seat and entertain themselves on the road. If a mirror won’t fit on the front seat headrest, attach it to the side of the front visor. After you hang the new toys but before your journey begins, twist the top to show that it can be twisted. If they try to twist and turn it during the car trip, pull over when it is safe and tighten the toy.

Bring lots of snacks and bottles on the car trip. There are all sorts of spill-proof cups that you can give your toddlers in the car. Encourage your children to drink lots of water during the trip. There are portable toys and board games that you can attach to the window or seat. You can attach a DVD player to the back of the front seat so that your child can watch videos. I mentioned bringing a set of new toys, which your children will play with for the first time when you are in the car. If each new toy comes with a new book, make a rule that the children can only look at the book that comes with the toy. This stops you from buying ten new toys and getting them two months before you leave on the trip and giving your children the books that come with each new toy while they are still fresh and new.

Some toddlers love riding in the car, and others scream every time you strap them into their car seats. But you can do several things to make car trips easier and more fun for your 0-2-year-old.

Air Travel with Infants

If you have a booked ticket for an infant but don’t plan on bringing extra seat gear, ask if there are any extra open seats available on your airplane. The worst thing you’ll hear is no, but most commercial carriers will try to accommodate a family with an infant and small children if it is at all feasible. If you need to bring a car seat on the airplane, push through the expense and get a seat for your infant if they are less than 2 years old. The FAA strongly recommends using a car seat for safety in case of turbulence or emergency landings. The plane has harness straps attached to a solid surface in each seating area in case of a crash. While it is much more doable to select the window and aisle seat for an open middle seat, if you get a “no” at check-in for that empty seat, you’ll be scrambling to disassemble the gear brought onto the plane and rudely asking those trapped in those seats to move so you can properly install the car seat.

For shorter domestic flights, infants less than two years old can ride free on their parent’s lap. It’s a good idea to bring a birth certificate in case it is requested at the gate to confirm your infant’s age. Many airlines offer free checked luggage for infants as well, so take advantage of the extra allowance by bringing the necessary amount of baby gear without hauling it through the airport. Car seats, strollers, and playards can all be checked at the counter and will be waiting at your destination. And speaking of strollers, it is invaluable to bring that through the airport. It doesn’t have to be the biggest or best stroller, but any well-functioning stroller with the capability to hang some of your baby gear will help immensely. There is quite a bit of walking involved to get to the gate, and a comfortable spot for your baby to rest while trying to get through security and having all the essentials within reach will keep that travel stress down.

Activities and Entertainment for Young Children

Ride a train or a tram – Children under 2 years old love everything that is moving and making noises – a train or a tram have both. You will witness their faces lighting up while they are waving and laughing at the people outside. Tip: Be mindful of long waits, rush hours, full train or tram departures and disembarkations as it can be an issue with your little one. Attend child-friendly events and shows – Theaters, circuses, and dance/music performances can usually accommodate kids of all ages while entertaining them. Kids aged 0-2 enjoy lights, colors, and rhythms more than the shows’ plots.

Visit places with animals – Children who are under 2 years old are big fans of animals and they love to visit zoos, animal farms, fish ponds, etc. Opt for places where children can watch and observe animals without bothering or disturbing them, or hurting themselves. Choose quiet, shady attractions – Babies and young kids need to nap during the day and they are more sensitive to the weather conditions, especially the sun and the heat. Being able to relax in a quiet and shady place can help solve nap disruptions and a great place for this is parks or gardens of famous castles, palaces, or churches.

Outdoor Activities

Sunrise & sunset walks: After a good late afternoon nap, take the baby out in a stroller to watch the sunset. During summer, remember to apply sunscreen also from 4-7 pm to protect the baby from harmful UVB rays. After a nurturing dinner and a good bath, take the baby along for a moonlit walk.

Beach activities: Always apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before leaving for the beach. Make sure that the baby is well covered and protected. Use UV protective gear to protect the baby from excessive rays, especially UV protective hats and sunglasses. Walk close to the waves, allowing the baby to enjoy the sound of the ocean.

Nature walks: Use a baby carrier or a stroller to walk along easy nature trails, allowing the baby to experience the colors and textures of nature.

Stroller walk: Depending on the weather, push the stroller around the park, garden, or beach, taking turns so that all the family members get to hold the baby.

Outdoor playparks: Choose the ones that have smaller rides for younger babies. Play with your baby by carrying them and walking around, allowing them to try out the various rides, especially if they involve lots of color and sound.

Indoor Activities

As noted previously, ignored outdoor attractions for children in warm regions are available year-round. Although there are no natural age limitations involved in making reservations for any form of professional entertainment, parents who believe all three children will be permitted to sit through, respect, or enjoy a performance are deluding themselves. Since these expensive series of activities are very high risk, they are not recommended.

Depending on the area, there are hundreds of indoor forms of entertainment, such as indoor play centers, aquatic centers with indoor splash areas and pools, indoor ski slopes such as Snow Mountains, puppet shows, story times, petting zoos, children’s museums, mini trains, and so forth. In bad weather it is common for local zoos and public aquariums to still offer family nature and science classes and demonstrations. Bowling and roller-skating parties are often available in mid-latitudes. The holiday season provides many opportunities for train, streetcar, and boat trips, Santa visits, light displays, music events, and school concerts.