Before I had children, I couldn't wait for vacation. The hubby and I could drop everything and go wherever our hearts desired on pretty much a moment's notice. We took the Eurorail through Italy, we went to the beach for the weekend, we even went on a Carribean cruise for a babymoon (sidenote: if you are currently pregnant I highly recommend the babymoon, as you will spend the next several year saying "sigh...remember when we were on our babymoon and well rested?" If you can swing it, I recommend waiting until after your baby is born as you will not fully appreciate the vacation without children until you have had them.)
And then we had kids.
We have tried to stay adventurous and travel since our kids have been born, but vacations have taken a whole new tone. I consider myself somewhat experienced since we have traveled across country in a camper (4 times), flown about a dozen times, and stayed in various hotels and campgrounds. Here are several inalieable truths about vacationing with kids.
1. Airlines hate your kids.
That's right. You may be lucky enough to board early, but that's the only perk you'll get. Unless you count dirty looks as a perk. You will be told to put headphones on your one year old so no one hears her Elmo DVD, to wake up your baby and remove her from her carrier for takeoff, and to pay $200 for a seat that your 2 year old won't sit in anyway. I have heard horror stories about moms being told not to breastfeed on planes as well. Also, you have to take your kids' shoes off, put their Snoopy backpack through an Xray machine, and possibly have her patted down by the TSA.
2. And so do hotels.
We recently flew to Ohio for a family party. We flew on a 3 hour flight (New Baby was a rock star) and then drove 2 hours (New Baby was a train wreck) and finally arrived, exhausted, at our hotel, whereupon we were informed that the crib we were promised was given to another family. Awesome. I stood in an exhausted, shocked state while my husband negotiated with the front desk. He eventually drove to Target and bought a Pack and Play for the baby. Not that this mattered much, because...
3. Your kids won't sleep. At all.
I should revise this a bit. New Baby actually slept okay in her pack and play. Captain Destructo, however, was sharing a bed with us. Yeah. She basically jumped on the bed, sang, and yelled out random Sesame Street quotes for 3 hours until she fell asleep diagonally. She spent the rest of the night tossing and turning and kicking us in various special places. Forget taking a nap...way too much to do to be bothered with sleeping. Last week, we went camping where she again "slept" in a pull out couch, which also involved lots of singing and jumping on the bed.
4. Behavior may become "challenging."
Due to the aforementioned lack of sleep, as well as the fact that Captain Destructo was eating junk food that she never gets at home, we experienced some tantrums that were mind boggling. Many of these tantrums occurred in public. We just tried to implement the same discipline as home and assume she'll sleep eventually.
5. Kiss your schedule goodbye.
You know how we were making potty training progess? Yeah, not so much anymore. Also, New Baby was sleeping through the night. Again, not so much right now. I'm thinking we'll be back on track soon. Probably right in time for the next vacation.
Also, here are a few quick tips for not losing your mind.
-Don't forget extra lots of extra clothes, diapers and wipes.
-Pack lots of hand sanitizer. Airports are disgusting.
-Consider the portable DVD player for the plane if your kid loves TV as much as mine does.
-Bring a babysitter if you can. So wonderful to have an extra set of hands.
-Find a hotel with a pool.
-Remember to relax and have fun. When they are in college you can enjoy your vacations again.