This was our 4th vacation with my husband's family. My husband and I both agree, this was our most successful vacation to date. Maybe we finally figured out how to do it? But we had an extra person this year! And we did have our own rooms this year, so that could have played a part. But how did we do it? Here are a few tips that I think made it easier.
1. Breastfeed on the Beach. Or anywhere you are for that matter. With my daughter I was so nervous about people seeing me, but why? People show just as much (if not more) in a bikini. I just couldn't go up to the room every time he needed to nurse. I would never get to enjoy the beach! So this time I didn't use a cover, just the two shirt method. Nothing was seen, no one said anything, even my husband's family had no idea. Made for a much happier baby and mama.
2. When getting ready to go out for dinner, set the kids up in an assembly line to get ready. Seriously. I bathed them. My husband clothed them. Everything went smoothly.
3. Bring a stroller, wrap, or both. There is an hour time difference where we were PLUS we had to wait more than an hour at every restaurant we went to so Peanut fell asleep at dinner almost every night. Between the Boba 4G, Lillebaby, Baby K'Tan, & umbrella stroller, he never cried.
4. Leave EARLY in the morning. We have good car riders. Thank GOD! Of course we pressed our luck with Peanut, but lucked out at the same time. My sister-in-law kept her 17 month old up late the night before, then woke her up SUPER early so she would nap most of the way and it worked!
5. Bring snacks EVERYWHERE! The car, the beach, restaurants, etc. You burn a LOT of energy swimming so although it may not be there normal time for a snack, they still might need one. Also make them (if you can) pause a minute to eat it. We brought a cooler full of water and snacks down to the beach every day.
6. Bring two of everything. Example: We brought our jogging stroller and our umbrella stroller. The jogger was great for the beach because the tires are huge and Peanut had a place to lay down and sleep. The umbrella was great for when we went out to dinner because it didn't take up much room and he could still lay down and sleep.
7. Try to book a room or hotel where you have access to a washer and dryer. Seriously. When we starting vacationing with our in-laws back in 2011, this was such an AWESOME thing because you don't have to come home to a TON of laundry PLUS you can pack a little less than you would normally need to with little ones because they can run through clothes.
8. Pack an opposite weather outfit, just in case. It was FREEZING the first day of our vacation and luckily had packed a jacket and long pants for both kiddos. Why I did? I still have no clue, but it came in handy!
9. Don't forget to pause for nap time. It can stink to have to go up to the room to lay down, especially when everyone else in your group is having fun without you, but if you children are like mine, then down time is a must. I went up to the room everyday with the kids. Hubby and I made an arrangement where if he cooked breakfast and lunch everyday, then I would stay up with the kids during nap. It worked out really well for me because I didn't have to cook AND I didn't burn (I have very pale skin). And Hubby got to stay out by the beach with the rest of his family. Win. Win!
10. Communicate with your spouse. If you aren't having fun, or feeling like you are doing most of the work. Let them know. You would be surprised how many people don' do this. You may think they just know that they are getting an easy vacation, but they don't. In years past, I have done most of the work because I was a stay-at-home mom and that "was my job". True. But I was on vacation! So I let Hubby know that from now on with kids, it will have to be a working vacation but it we work TOGETHER it will make it enjoyable for both of us. And it was!
What are some of your tips for a great family vacation?