We had grand plans.
“Japan!” We proclaimed.
Inspired by other moms who have taken their young babies on international adventures, I was hellbent on doing the same. Yes, we’ll finally go to Japan, with baby by our side.
While these ambitious proclamations were well intended, reality hit and Japan was put on hold. I was a bit too tired (and perhaps a bit too scared) to gamble a large sum of money and time to Japan. So instead, we opted for a much closer trip to Sedona, Arizona for Q’s first vacation, to do the thing we love the most: hike and eat. (But don’t worry Japan, we’re still coming for you).
We had never been to Sedona before and it definitely didn’t disappoint. The red rocks, canyons, and forests were unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Picturesque no matter the angle and plenty of options for baby-friendly hikes. We opted for trails that weren’t too strenuous given we were baby-wearing with an Ergo, but still picturesque, including: Courthouse Butte, Bell Rock, Soldier’s Pass, West Fork, Jordan, and Javalina trails.
This was also Q’s first flight and “big” trip, and I thought I’d share a few key tips we learned along the way:
- Let Your Type A Planner Go Wild: I made lists, got organized, and made sure I had key products to help make travel life easier. Babies need so much “stuff,” it’s essential to make sure you’re avoiding morning-of-packing. A few key items that made our life easier include a car seat backpack, this travel cleaning kit, and this on-the-go white noise machine.
- Get On The Packing Cubes Train: I’ve heard of them, never used them, but am now a convert for life! These packing cubes allow you to cram so much more into a small space and organize all of the baby stuff you need.
- Stay Somewhere That Has A Kitchen and A Closed Off Room: Having a microwave, dishwasher, and mini kitchen were total life savers. From heating water to refrigerating milk, a mini kitchen is a must. Also, the ability to put Q to bed and close the door so we could still stay up without waking the baby was essential.
- Get To The Airport Early: Remember how your parents always told you to get to the airport early, but you were fine squeaking in at the last minute and running through security? Well, no more. With extra security checks for baby and TSA checking your milk, account for extra time… or what we affectionately call the “baby buffer.”
- Shift Your Expectations: I got great advice from a friend and it held true, “If you used to do five things a day on vacation, expect to do two or less with a baby.” The simple truth is you just can’t do as much as you used to do with baby by your side, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. We went into this vacation with these expectations and it helped us enjoy what we were able to do even more.
While we’re no pros when it comes to traveling with a baby, we’re definitely glad that we took his first trip at three months old (which felt like the perfect age as we weren’t totally in the infant stage and knew more of what to expect about his temperament). We’re excited to help show him the world, and experience it with him.
Oh and fun tip! If you travel on Southwest, ask the flight attendant for a “Baby’s First Flight” certificate and pair of wings for his baby book. Adorable!
What other travel tips do you have?