We just returned from a week in Myrtle Beach and had such a fun time! This was our first week-long vacation since we've ventured into full fledge toddler mode. I'll be honest, vacations post baby look much different than they did pre baby, but they are still so much fun- they just take a little bit more planning (and a lot more packing!)
I loved getting to experience the beach and ocean through my son's eyes. He wasn't a huge fan of the ocean, but he LOVED playing in the pool and playing with his beach toys. Alex and I said so many times to each other, "Dom's literally growing up on this trip." I never want to forget him learning the word airplane and saying "AIRPLANE!" every time he saw one in the sky in the sweetest high-pitch-squealing-raspy voice! Parenting has become one of the biggest joys of my life and I'm so glad I'll always have these photos to look back on.
But before I leave you with a huge photo dump of our trip, I wanted to share 3 tips I've found to be VERY helping for traveling with a toddler.
1. Be the snack Mom!
Snacks are your friend. Every time we travel, I try to load up on a variety of snacks that Dom can eat both in the car and when we're out and about. I try to be conscious not to load up on a bunch of junk-food snacks because they often will lead to a crankier kiddo, sugar crashes, and an upset stomach with some regrettable diapers. Some of my go to snacks are bananas, cuties/tangerines, string cheese, sliced apples (or any kind of fruit, really.) Organic popcorn or kettle corn has been a new favorite of ours too. This trip I sliced up some cucumber and let him go crazy with that and hummus. The point is, pack snacks that work for your family, but don't be caught empty handed.
2. Prep for the car rides
In my opinion, traveling with an infant was much much easier than traveling with a toddler. When Dominick was an infant he would sleep for longer stretches, he wasn't vocal about his music selections, and I didn't have to pay for his meals (thank you, breastfeeding!) Traveling currently is definitely doable, (perspective is everything) it just takes a little more creativity. This was our longest road trip to date, we've done about 8 hours previously but this trip took 10-12 hours with stops. We did this trip to Myrtle with my mother in law so she and Alex did the driving and I did Dom duty in the backseat. I already covered snacks (see point #1.) The Target $1-$5 bins are your friends! I grabbed a couple new books, bubbles, and flash cards to help entertain him for the trip. Dom has a couple of soundtracks he's really into so at times when he was getting fussy, we'd play those on Spotify. Both days we left really early so we had a good 3-4 hours on the road while he still slept. We did one major stop for food, gas, and a diaper change and one shorter stop for another diaper change and some leg stretching.
3. Be flexible with schedules
This is one of those that goes both ways. We've been fortunate to have a pretty easy going baby for the most part. Dom naps consistently, but with our lifestyle and my job, he's had to adapt to napping in all sorts of places like in the car, his crib, a pack-n-play, the floor, or in his stroller. So there's times we've been flexible with his day, like pushing a nap earlier or later or letting him stay up later than we usually would. That being said, I do always make sure he gets some sort of nap in the day or he (and therefore everyone else) is miserable. That's where I think the flexibility in vacationing comes into play. There were days we were hanging at the beach or the pool and I'd have to step away from the fun and go up to the hotel room with him and put him down for a nap. There's also a lot to be said about being honest with what season of life you're in. We can't vacation like we may have when it was just us, because well, that just isn't our reality anymore and that's okay. You have to find a new groove and balance of things, places, and activities that fit with your season of life.
Here's some of my favorites from our trip!
Thanks for reading and checking this out! Let me know if there's any tips or tricks you've learned along the way, I'd love to hear them!