Oh my god, how amazing would a holiday be?! It's a concept more delicious than a chocolate covered marshmallow stuffed with popping candy! All those sleepless nights followed by the endurance test that is either a day's work or, worse yet, more wrestling that little ball of muscle and endless energy. Urgh.
It's a good thing you've book a few days off then, huh; a few where you can escape and enjoy the placebo that is holiday (or vacation or staycation or whatever buzzword is being thrown about these days!). It's your chance to treat yourself and your partner and escape the higgledeepiggledee stresses of everyday life for the very first time since becoming a parent. Christ knows you deserve it you soldiers.
However, there is one small teeny-tiny teeny-weeny problem to get around first; and that's getting ready to go on holiday with a little one (or little ones!!!!), which tends to be the exact polar opposite of anything relaxing.
There is so much you need to pack, so much you need to remember, so much you need to squeeze into such a small suitcase and, just in case that isn’t enough of a challenge, you also have a ‘baby-brain’ to contend with. But don’t worry, that’s what I am here for. I've done the stressful packing thing (well, not me per se, but I've seen my lovely Tor do it) and so here is a list of some of the more crucial things you’ll need to remember to shove into your suitcase(s) before you lock the door and shoot off on your first family holiday.
Food, Fruit, Snacks, Anything
You cannot pack enough food. OMG, it is your bestest friend when it comes to any holiday. When they're bored in the airport; food. When they're bored on the flight; food. When they're bored in the car; food. Food, food, food. This is literally a lifesaver, or at the very least a sanity saver, which in many respects can be seen as a lifesaver (quick point for any Star Wars fans, my lttle brother thought a lightsaber was called a lifesaver for way too many years).
Sure, these will account for a serious amount of room in your car, bags, life etc. but they are so necessary in ensuring your little break goes as smooth as you're hoping it will go. If you're road tripping: then it is just boot space, spare seats, every compartment and footwells you're sacrificing. if you're flying somewhere: don’t worry about it, most airlines have a sweet-ass baggage policies specifically there to help families with small children, it's badass. So, the checklist.
Car seat - this is pretty much a must-have, especially if you’re road tripping. But even if you’re not road-tripping, you'll probably get a taxi at some point or you may decide a city-break was a bad idea and decide you want to spontaneously hire a car. Oh and car seats also double-up as a super handy carry-cases and you never know when a super handy carry-case may come in handy.
Pushchair - it doesn’t matter if you decide on a pushchair or one of those slim-line stroller thingy's, so long as something, oh and something that suits your holiday destination. If you're hiking for your first trip (you're bonkers) take an off-roader, okay.
Hippy-style Sling - a) because they are epic and b because it doesn’t take up much space and c) it may turn out to be invaluable when you’re away and d) they are epic.
Blanket - this is not just for warmth, but for comfort. Nothing smells as much like home as a baby’s blanket. That smell of home is incredible, especially of you do stuff to make your home smell nice like burn scented candles and shit (ot shit like poop; shit as in stuff similar to candles).
Plug - Pack a sink plug. Do it now. This will allow you to turn any sink into a bath if necessary and, trust me, I've been at motorway service stations in places like Romania with a baby that smells like wet soil and had to do an emergency bath session.
Before you go anywhere, make sure you do your weather research. It's probably fun to jump on the first plane out of there, but not practical. So in the days before you leave, check things like weather forecasts. If you're heading to LA, than fine, it's always hot, but we've all seen The Day After Tomorrow. What i'm trying to say is, the weather can change and there is nothing worse than packing for a summer holiday when all it does is rain and snow and sleet. So, here are some rad rules to follow:
Clothes - more is better. Pack outfit after outfit after outfit, and if you can fit another one in that suitcase of yours then do; you won't know whether the laundry services you were told all about are in working condition until it’s too late. Also as a basic rule of thumb, pack a minimum of two outfits for each day you're away e.g. 3 days away = 6 outfits minimum.
Hats - no matter what season it is, pack an appropriate hat. If it’s summer, pack a hat with a wide brim that offers a lot of shade and, if it’s winter, pack a thick woolly hat that will keep your baby’s head nice and toasty.
Night Time Routine
Try not to change any bedtime routine you've nailed like legends. Keep it up. Also, given your first holiday is likely to be less than a week and only a short flight away, try not to adjust to local time. Keep it as normal. You'll thank me for that in the long run. I don't know what you're routine entails, but here are a few ideas of things.
Lotions and Potions - pack everything you would use during your baby’s normal bath time. If you’re not sure if this enough and there should be more, check out Buds and Babes organic baby products for a complete list.
Sleepsuit - this could just be a pair of pyjamas but, if you’re going somewhere cold, make sure you have a sleepsuit with you, just in case. Your baby is cute, frostbite could change this.
Travel cot - the place you’re staying may have one, but it’s always best to check and double-check.
Monitor - a baby monitor is a must have, preferably one with a night-light built in. This will help your little one settle into their new surroundings.
Books - a bedtime story is a great tip or trick to lull a baby to sleep, especially if you talk with a monotone and really slowly and yawn lots to insinuate the point.
Teddy - every kid has that one thing you wish you'd bough a hundred of in case they ever lose that one. Phoebe's is Penelope (her bear). Mine was Blanky (a blanket). Oh another tip, don't name your teddy something stupid like Penelope; turns out kids find things like this hard to say, even at 2!