Traveling is tricky with children, and 2-year-olds come with their own unique set of challenges. They’re running off and climbing on objects, ambling in happy oblivion through the world. Their verbal skills are still developing, leading to tantrums when they can’t express themselves. Then, there’s sleep. Your child is most likely napping once a day but could still be a twice-a-day napper.
You might be thinking, “This is not an ideal vacation scenario,” but that’s just your pre-kid-self talking. With the right mindset, your travels will be just as enriching and satisfying as before but in an entirely new way. Here are 5 tips for traveling with a 2-year-old on summer vacation:
1. Do Your Best to Stick to Sleep Schedules
Sleep is everything for 2-year-olds, especially while traveling! They are their best selves when well-napped and put to bed on time, making your day – and theirs – so much more enjoyable. But is this realistic on vacation? Not all the time.
For days you’re on the go or at the beach, bring your baby carrier, stroller or sleep tent. If they’ve never napped that way before, just try it – they’ll surprise you! But if naptime wasn’t successful during the day, put them to bed early. Contrary to what you might believe, this does NOT mean they will wake up earlier. They will be making-up for lost napping hours and usually sleep to their normal time in the morning.
2. Bring a Trusted Adult That’s Not a Parent
Whether it’s grandma, grandpa, a friend or your nanny, it’s always a nice idea to travel with someone who can babysit your child. This will free you and your spouse up to go on that dinner date you never got around to since baby was born or hit the beach while your kiddo is napping. It’s super convenient, and it’s especially good bonding time for everyone involved. At some resorts, like The Charter at Beaver Creek, the concierge can help you find childcare services if a friend or family member is not able to travel with you.
3. Don’t Fall Victim to Packing Your Whole House
Toddlers don’t really need as much as we’ve been led to believe they do. Pack only the essentials for your summer vacation with little ones. Know that packing lighter will make your life easier – less unpacking, less re-packing and less of a chance of losing things. You don’t need to bring a ton of toys along, and if you’re staying in a vacation rental with a washer/dryer, you can ease up on outfits too.
4. Stay in a Place with Space
With a baby comes gear, and let’s not forget an active child who’s exploring the world. Many families have a hard time going back to their old-hotel-ways after having a family because vacation rentals make vacationing so much easier. Extra space, private bedrooms and home-like amenities can help your family stick to routine. The value that comes with vacation rentals is great too, with features like kitchens for when you just can’t eat-out for another meal.
5. Try Not to Stress
Much like life itself, your summer vacation is not going to be perfect when traveling with a 2-year-old child. Know this, internalize this and don’t be disappointed if you’ve got the beach buggy all packed and sunblock on, and your little one needs a diaper change. As much as you wanted to have an early dinner at your favorite seafood place, know when to call-it if the baby can’t handle more time out. You won’t be giving anything up; you’ll be making new family memories, from your baby’s first steps in the sand to excited shouts when the waves hit the shore.
Start planning your summer family vacation by browsing vacation rental homes with plenty of space.