Author Topic: Vacations with a baby that don't suck?  (Read 3835 times)

wordnerd

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Vacations with a baby that don't suck?
« on: March 27, 2016, 10:57:16 AM »
My husband and I have a three-month-old. We've already flown with him across the country to meet his grandparents, which went fine, but definitely wasn't relaxing.

So, for this summer, I'm wondering if there are vacations with a 6-ish month old that are actually more enjoyable than just staying home. Our normal vacation mode involves a lot of hiking, but I'm not sure how much of that we'd want to do while carrying a baby. Any thoughts on fun and economical vacations with a wee one? Or are we better off with a staycation?
« Last Edit: March 27, 2016, 11:01:06 AM by wordnerd »

ohana

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Re: Vacations with a baby that don't suck?
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2016, 11:12:23 AM »
Well, in GA, you could just go up to the mountains and sit poolside, chill, watch movies, take a drive.  You could go down to St Simons or Jekyl and relax, go to the beach (very gentle waves there), spend a day walking in the maritime forest.  You could stay home but pay for a babysitter for a week and go places as a couple, or pay a babysitter to come with you to some museums so you can spend time with the baby but not be stressed.  You could definitely day hike with the tot in a backpack too, just don't overdo.  No time like the present to get the little one outside!

wordnerd

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Re: Vacations with a baby that don't suck?
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2016, 11:22:28 AM »
Well, in GA, you could just go up to the mountains and sit poolside, chill, watch movies, take a drive.  You could go down to St Simons or Jekyl and relax, go to the beach (very gentle waves there), spend a day walking in the maritime forest.  You could stay home but pay for a babysitter for a week and go places as a couple, or pay a babysitter to come with you to some museums so you can spend time with the baby but not be stressed.  You could definitely day hike with the tot in a backpack too, just don't overdo.  No time like the present to get the little one outside!

St. Simon's is a good idea. We've actually never been.

I do want to get out hiking with the baby and just need to get over my various anxieties (sunburns! bug bites! what if he cries?!), which are all manageable. Thanks for the encouragement!

FrugalFan

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Re: Vacations with a baby that don't suck?
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2016, 11:31:40 AM »
We've had tons of vacations with babies. Yes, it is a bit more stressful than a typical vacation and requires a bit more planning but we've always had a great time. Six months might be a bit young, but both our babies loved hiking in a structured backpack carrier. They sit up higher than in a typical baby carrier and have great views, so they never cried and it seems like they could have kept going forever. Our babies were sitting up at that age but not crawling yet, so playing on a sandy beach was popular too. And museums are great when babies are napping. Just time it right, and they will sleep peacefully in a stroller while you enjoy the museum. They are so interested in everything at that age that even when they are awake, all the new sights and sounds are enough to keep them entertained for a while. In fact, the stimulation of something new often means that they are much easier to look after than at home, where I think they can get bored, so I would not opt for a staycation.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2016, 11:35:14 AM by Travelling Biologist »

Dee18

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Re: Vacations with a baby that don't suck?
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2016, 02:57:53 PM »
I especially enjoyed summer vacations with my little one in New Hampshire and in the Pacific Northwest.  When she was in a backpack I did not enjoy hiking in great heat and humidity.  (I live in the south so I did plenty of that.) And I think the ocean with a baby is awful...crawling in sand, too much heat/sun for several hours a day...that became fun when she was about 5 and could swim.  But wherever you go I found the key was to stay where we could fix meals and did not need to eat out.

bogart

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Re: Vacations with a baby that don't suck?
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2016, 07:57:58 PM »
So, here are two things I (used to) enjoy doing on vacation:  sleeping in, lying on a couch all day reading a book.  I don't think I've done either of those things on vacation since my son was born almost a decade ago.  If you haven't already seen it, you might enjoy this post -- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/m-blazoned/vacation-or-trip-a-helpful-guide-for-parents_b_7789310.html

That said, no idea how much you enjoy staycations, but I'd certainly vacation with a 6-month old, and there are noticeable advantages to traveling with kids before they become self-propelled as opposed to afterward.  With a six-month old, I'd skip the frame packs (though they can be wonderful with bigger kids) and go for either a sling pouch (my choice, but not the usual favorite) or something along the lines of an Ergo/Beco and hike as much as you want.  But whatever you consider, buy (or borrow) one first and try it at home -- people have strong opinions about what constitutes a "good" or "bad" carrier and preferences seem to be pretty idiosyncratic. 

Six months is really too little for the kid to have many opinions about what you're doing, which is both a good and a bad thing.  No need to seek out kid-friendly attractions (as long as you avoid kid-unfriendly ones), but not much guidance on what to do.  I do remember both visiting the beach (not in the full heat of the summer, maybe May) and flying to Oregon (to visit family) when my son was in the 6-8 month range.  At the beach we sat and played in the sand (and water, but not the ocean proper -- tidal pools), and in Oregon we hiked, went out to dinner and played pool (friendly, smoke-free billiards hall, quiet times), and went to a llama farm, I forget what else. 

Not strictly relevant to 6-months, but I will say that vacation spots, hikes, etc., with water features (lakes, streams, pools, doesn't really matter) have become a much bigger part of my planning since having a kid.  "Let's go for a walk in the woods!" = pretty uninteresting to my son.  "Let's walk to a lake and throw rocks/sticks/sand in the water!" = wildly exciting. 

MicroRN

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Re: Vacations with a baby that don't suck?
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2016, 09:02:40 PM »
Unless you have a very fussy baby, 6 months is actually a great age for vacations and travel.  They generally sleep a lot, they aren't very mobile, and are small enough to not kill your back carried in a backpack.  When we had only one child, and he was under one, we did whatever we wanted.  I had an assortment of carriers (frame hiking pack, Ergo, ring sling, and a stroller).  We went hiking, to museums, long car trips, beach (if you do the beach get a pop-up cabana for sun protection).  Right now we have a 3yo and 4.5yo, and very rarely travel except for local hiking.  I'd pick what you want to do, and just bring baby along for the ride.  By next summer, you'll have to take them into account more.       

TabbyCat

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Re: Vacations with a baby that don't suck?
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2016, 09:07:09 PM »
We're in WA - our favorite is to go out to the coast, rent a cabin, and watch the surf from the deck/hike/hang out at the beach. Our girl gets pretty fussy though and it's nice to have the freedom to do as much or as little as we need that day.

alwayslearning

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Re: Vacations with a baby that don't suck?
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2016, 10:59:42 AM »
OP - I'm so glad you asked this question! My husband and I were thinking about planning a vacation in November for his 30th birthday (baby will be 5 months at that time). I think we may visit San Francisco or possibly the Grand Canyon for that time.

It will be our first vacation with just the two (soon to be 3) of us (not visiting family).

acroy

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Re: Vacations with a baby that don't suck?
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2016, 11:22:03 AM »
hahaha, been there! :)
If you like hiking, get a decent backpack-carrier and go to town.
It's a fantastic workout, I'll say that. All the kids I've been around LOVE being outside so I suspect your 6mo old will enjoy it as well.
We took a 9mo old for 2 weeks to Paris. Must have hiked 200 miles around the city. Loved it.
Have fun!

wordnerd

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Re: Vacations with a baby that don't suck?
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2016, 11:32:42 AM »
Our son definitely loves being outside, so may very well enjoy short hikes better than just sitting around the house. We do have a Ergo, so maybe even doing local hikes would be fun if we don't venture further afield. Thanks everyone!

ohana

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Re: Vacations with a baby that don't suck?
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2016, 11:02:47 AM »
Well, in GA, you could just go up to the mountains and sit poolside, chill, watch movies, take a drive.  You could go down to St Simons or Jekyl and relax, go to the beach (very gentle waves there), spend a day walking in the maritime forest.  You could stay home but pay for a babysitter for a week and go places as a couple, or pay a babysitter to come with you to some museums so you can spend time with the baby but not be stressed.  You could definitely day hike with the tot in a backpack too, just don't overdo.  No time like the present to get the little one outside!

St. Simon's is a good idea. We've actually never been.

I do want to get out hiking with the baby and just need to get over my various anxieties (sunburns! bug bites! what if he cries?!), which are all manageable. Thanks for the encouragement!

There will be bug bites.  There will be sunburns.  There will be crying.  That's what life is about!

KCM5

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Re: Vacations with a baby that don't suck?
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2016, 11:39:46 AM »
When our child was 3 months we took a trip to DC - it was great. She was contained in the carrier and we went to a ton of museums (free!).

At 9 months we took a trip to Europe for a wedding. I would not recommend changing lots of time zones with a baby if its not necessary. She just did not change time zones so it was kind of exhausting.

And all the suggestions for hiking are legit. A soft carrier would be great, as long as its not too hot.

golden1

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Re: Vacations with a baby that don't suck?
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2016, 12:13:12 PM »
The main vacation stressors with babies are being in confined public spaces where people aren't sympathetic to the needs of small children so I generally went places that were within driving distance and didn't require a rigid schedule.  Camping is actually pretty good with babies and small kids as long as you are in a kid friendly campground or area. 

MayDay

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Re: Vacations with a baby that don't suck?
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2016, 06:50:47 AM »
Until my kids were about 4, trips were TRIPS, not VACATIONS.  Packing up the million things you need, traveling with the little monster, etc were not relaxing. Once you get there, you have to keep them entertained and safe and semi-behaved. They frequently do not hesitate to abandon things like sleeping. Etc.

Two good stories:

When DS was 3 he announced on day 1 of a camping trip that he would wait to poop until we got home. We thought nothing of it. By night two he woke up every hour to try to go, because he needed to, but by then it hurt. Finally on day 3 he pooped in a vacant lot with me holding him in a squat, screaming bloody murder.

When DS was a toddler, he spent an entire week long trip to CO deciding not to nap, and that every possible activity was a personal attack to his happiness. I was 5 times more exhausted when we got home then when we left.

In retrospect, the beat trips were visiting my parents because they helped with the kids and we got breaks. Camping was OK. There was zero sense in taking expensive trips. Last summer at ages 5 and 7 we did Yellowstone and they were old enough to handle it well.

Ceridwen

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Re: Vacations with a baby that don't suck?
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2016, 07:30:03 AM »
We always enjoy our family vacations on Cape Cod.  We rent a house (not on the beach, but about a 10 min drive) and do a variety of activities each day.  Beach, visits to various towns, walks around the neighbourhood, visits to playgrounds.  It's nice to be away from home and in a new area, but renting a house gives us the ability to maintain a decent nap and meal routine.

AZDude

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Re: Vacations with a baby that don't suck?
« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2016, 10:50:57 AM »
6 months is a good time. Once the LO is walking, plane rides become nightmares until LO is ~4 years old.

That said, also consider the idea of vacationing without the LO. Like flying to see the grandparents, then leaving junior with them while you drive out for a weekend to yourselves.