• Tips to Make Your Beach Trip with Baby a Success + Bonus Printable Packing List!

    If you’re planning a trip to the beach before the summer ends and you’re nervous because it’ll be your little guy or gal’s first trip away from home, allow me to help put your mind at ease! With the right mindset and preparation, you’ll find not only will everything work out, but you can actually even have fun :) Let me share with you some tips I wish I’d known before taking Bubs on his first overnight trip away from home when he was 7 months old.  

    We stayed at a beach house in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, which in most ways made things a ton easier space-wise (let’s face it, even though the babe is small, his or her gear takes over the world) but in a few ways a little more difficult (beach houses rarely come equipped with some things that are standard in hotels such as hand towels, bed linens, and soap). I’ll gear this post for those making a summer trip to stay in a beach house since it takes a little more preparation, but by all means, if you’re planning a hotel stay or even a stay with family members, you can keep reading, because all of these tips will apply to you as well.

    1. Pack the travel-sized version of everything where possible

    When filling up your car, you’ll find you run out of room 10 times quicker than when you and your husband used to make quick spontaneous trips together. So, in order to cut down on bags upon bags of stuff, think to yourself, “What is the smallest version of this that’ll do the job?” For instance we have a jogging stroller that we use daily – it’s pretty much the only mode of transportation Bubs gets around in.  However, we would have needed a trailer hitch for the jogging stroller if we wanted to take that beast along.  So, we opted for packing the umbrella stroller instead. Problem solved.

    2. Forget about time-tables and deadlines

    That should go without saying when you’re on vacation, but if you’re a Type A like me, you love to pack every moment of vacations with sightseeing adventures, restaurant reservations, etc. And you know exactly how long it’ll take to get to the beach because you’ve been there a million times, so you’re tempted to plan a round of mini golf with the family as soon as you get there in exactly 4 hours.  Yeaaaaaap.  Not gonna happen. Now is the time for you to adopt a Type B, no, Type C personality.  The drive out will take about 1.75 times longer than your wildest dreams. If your babe isn’t asleep during the car ride, then he or she should get out of the car seat to stretch and be held at regular intervals – for our situation, we decided once per hour was good.  If the babe is sleeping for hours on end, by all means, let them keep sleeping and make a stop when they wake up.

    3. Roughly Keep Your Home Routine

    Even though you feel like party party party party partying from sun up to sun down because, um, that's what vacations are for, your babe is still going to need regular naps.  This means you should plan stuff you’d personally like to do while chilling around the house at which you’re staying for several hours each day and whenever the babe goes to bed each night.  Bring books. Bring movies. Bring games. And this leads to my next point…

    4. Keep Low Expectations for Activities in Which the Babe Can Participate

    During those windows of opportunity during the day when the babe is awake and ready for action, you still might run into trouble when planning things to do and see. I mean I knew we couldn’t take a 7-month-old parasailing or snorkeling but I hadn’t considered that going up to the top of the Cape Hatteras Light House would be forbidden for babies. Because this surprise revelation was sprung upon us once we got to the lighthouse, Zak and I had to make the quick decision to ascend the lighthouse separately, each taking turns of the Bub while the other enjoyed the view.  Luckily we had fun family members along with us who were totally fine splitting our group up into 2 different ascents. If you’re travelling with family members other than your husband, I have my fingers crossed for you that they’re flexible and easygoing as well, because a baby really does change the dynamic of the trip for everyone involved.

    5. Beach Chores. Yes. Beach Chores.

    Everything you do at home you’ll do at the beach. This means cleaning baby bottles and breast pumps. This means laundry (the sand – oh the sand). This means containing poo-splosions when they burst forth. I recently saw an article by The Onion entitled “Mom Spends Beach Vacation Assuming All Household Duties in Closer Proximity to Ocean.” Hahahaha, it’s so true. If you have some family members who are willing to help out with just one chore here or there, though, you’ll find your workload goes down a ton. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

    6. Know That Life Will Go Back to Normal Once You Return

    This bit of advice is meant as both encouragement and a warning to enjoy the time at the beach while you have it. Enjoy the break from the day to day grind – even if the routine and the chores feel pretty similar to what you do every day at home, just being in new surroundings is sure to make everything feel a little bit fresher. Or not. Sometimes it’s pretty dang annoying to be in new surroundings with a poo-emergency and say “Where did I pack the wipes?! I know where they are at home!” Haha. The new surroundings might change up your babe’s internal clock a little too; and naps and bedtime may get out of whack.  It’s okay.  It’ll all go back to normal within a couple of days once you return home.

    Now Go Forth and Pack!

    Below you’ll see a PDF of the packing list that helped us have everything we need out at the beach (except somehow the overnight diapers even though I had it on the list! Learn from my mistake! Double check everything! Or you’ll get to pay double at the beach!)

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