Taking a vacation with little ones can seem like anything but when kids are pulled out of a familiar environment and familiar rituals. But with a little planning and flexibility, you and your family can have a good time and keep everyone happy and well-rested. The first thing to consider when contemplating a getaway is if your family is ready. Consider your child's temperament, age and your own state of mind. A child who only sleeps under perfect, static circumstances and absolutely doesn't do well with changes to his routine may make a vacation more trouble than it's worth. Be patient - he'll grow out of it. First, think about accommodations. Is your family small enough to fit in one hotel room? Consider all your "stuff" - where will your children sleep? Does there need to be room for a portable crib? What about places to store and prepare bottles, formula and other food items? If your child eats baby food that you make yourself, does there need to be a kitchen area? It may be easier to rent a house, efficiency room with kitchen, or a suite with separate bedrooms. If your not bringing your own crib, then contact the hotel before arriving to reserve one.
A portable crib or pack and play might be your best bet, especially if the child is used to sleeping in one at home. In the days leading up to your departure, put the child down for naps in the portable crib and work up to nights so that the child gets used to sleeping in it. If you will be sleeping in the same room with the child and anticipate the child crying for you, position the crib so that you're out of view by moving it to a closet and partially closing the door, blocking the child's view. When it comes to enjoying your vacation, it can be done! At naptime, plan long walks to sightsee or shop with your child in a comfortable stroller. Don't forsake restaurants - eat dinner early, and feed baby before appetizers arrive. Hopefully, baby will sleep right through the meal. And do the most exciting activities earlier in the day, so that the evening is reserved for down time and relaxation in preparation for bed. Don't give up if the first night or two are sleepless - kids will get used to their new routines, and you'll get in some enjoyment, too!