Mr. Woo and I like to travel. It was one of the things I thought I'd have to give up once I was pregnant, but I've been surprised to see that it's possible. My packing list was lengthier and the process took more time, not to mention the extra laundry to do before rushing out the door to make it to check-in on time, but possible.
Here's what worked for our recent trip.
1. Be realistic
With Selah being young, we knew that she might wail with ear trouble on a plane or not last several hours sitting in her car seat so an in-state two-hour drive during her nap was good grounds for everyone. We stayed out there for two nights and made sure that feeding, burping, and changing diapers were the very last tasks to happen before we drove anywhere. Sometimes you do have to take an infant on a plane or need to take a lengthy ride, but I'm just talking circumstances that you can somewhat plan.
2. Make a list of items to pack
Lists work for me because I seem to have lost some memory-storing capability while delivering the placenta (seriously, what happened?). I like to pack light so I'll plan my outfits in layers that easily mix-and-match. Now with a baby, I just needed to bring a few more tops for the unexpected spit up and/or massive drool fest on my sleeves. For Selah's bag I mentally went through a typical day and made sure I covered all the items needed for play time, nap time, diaper changes, feedings, outings, etc. For example, when we co-sleep she has one lap pad underneath her head (in case of spit up) and one lap pad underneath her bottom (in case of leak from massive poop), so I made sure to bring the duo for the hotel bed.
3. Do laundry the day before
Since the trip was a surprise for me I had to do laundry the morning of. We share washers and dryers with others in the apartment complex, but they were available so we'd be packed and off in no time, right? No, the washer broke. Both of them. So our clothes were sitting in one drum full of water while our baby's clothes were floating in the other. If I can help it, I'm doing laundry the night before my next trip.
4. Don't jam-pack the entire day with activities
It may be too stimulating for the baby. I might need to feed. A poopy diaper may cause us to be late to the show. I may not even want to go to the show by that time. Instead, we went for a stroll and took in the scenery. We liked making good use of our camera and finding new places to eat. A two-day pass to the aquarium was just the right amount of happenings for us.
5. Be prepared for insomnia - for all parties
Selah had a difficult time sleeping the first night. When I heard footsteps above I felt bad because I didn't want them to be upset. Mr. Woo did call the hotel ahead of time to make sure it was baby-friendly though. They even offered a play pen if we needed/chose to borrow one for free. We felt more comfortable bringing her into (the king size) bed so we chose that option.
6. Enjoy the time together
Sure, she might have gotten a little anxiety with all the strange smells, but we try to fascinate our baby with the big doggy trotting by or the twiggy tree with pretty foliage. In fact, we had a passerby snap a picture of the family - we were on vacation!
Bonus: Clean the home before leaving.
Let's face it, no one likes coming home to dishes. I can't stand having them sit there just overnight, but having a baby has made me deal with certain preferences head on. If I had more time without the laundry debacle, I probably would have at least washed the dishes and picked up a few things in the living room. But I didn't, and many don't because they're looking for the missing sock or stuffing their weekender bag with water and a few snacks for the road. That is why it's a bonus. :)
Everything else was part of our normal routine: window shades in the car, blanket and toy in the car seat, stroller and car seat adapter in the trunk, portable changing pad and spare bib in my bag, several nursing pads, a few extra diapers and a pack of wipes, wetbag for her cloth diapers, and "first aid kit," which at the moment only contains a nose sucker, pacifier, Aquaphor, nail clippers, CJ's butter, and GroVia magic stick (I keep forgetting to throw in the thermometer). Kaiser's phone number is saved on my phone and we can always use Mr. Woo's smart phone to Google any questions. Whew, babies require so much for such little bodies!
What are your tips for traveling with a wee one?