SURVIVAL TACTICS FOR FAMILY VACATION WITH LITTLES
We arrived home yesterday from the Griswold vacay in the smoky mountains with the in-laws. And if you follow on instagram you know it hasn’t been easy. In fact, this one was one for the books and literally I will have a photo book made so one day when I look back at the summer of seventeen, I can remember how hard it was, but also, "how worth it" it was, because we got to spend some quality time with Paw Paw and Nana. Also, millenials, enjoy the wanderlust but prepare for less wanderlust when you're adulting with husbands, littles and in-laws. This ain't no Saint Tropez. Not gonna lie mommas, this trip was hard. But here’s the thing, we survived. And we drove off with a smile on our faces for the fact of sheer survival. In 5 years when we’re on vacation in Hawaii and the kids are big and there isn’t any hassle or drama we’ll be stoked, but mark my words, we’ll miss these baby days. In the meantime, here’s some survival tactics for vacation with littles we’ve learned, as we gear up to head out to California next week.
PACK ACCORDINGLY AND PACK LIGHT
Lesson 1 and note to self. Make a list -per child. Outfit per day (per activity). YES. Coordinate outfits by adventures. That means plan your vacation, check the weather, and make it cute. Pre-planning helps because even if you can’t predict which day you’re doing what, if you plan it, you’ll pack less and think less and enjoy more time on your vacay.
MAKE A LIST FOR THE PLANE/CAR-PER CHILD
The older kids get the basics. She’s bringing her iPad, headphones, coloring book/markers/snacks and one treat. IMPORTANT: ALWAYS BUY THE BABIES/KIDS A NEW TOY/GAME FOR THE PLANE OR CAR RIDE AS IT IS SOMETHING NEW AND CAN KEEP THEM BUSY. A TREAT/SNACK THEY DON’T NORMALLY GET IS ALSO A GREAT BRIBE. Key word, bribe. Sorry not sorry.
NO REALLY, KEEP IT LIGHT
Overpacking is the greatest waste of time and the laundry you will have to do will make you want to poke your eyes out. Honestly, as long as you have enough undergarments, your basic uni, (mine is always jeans and a tee or cutoffs and a tee/see below), favorite two pairs of shoes and your must have toiletries, you’re good. Also, dry shampoo. Always dry shampoo. This one is a good one too. It's a vacay staple. Actually, life staple.
This is not the time and place to judge yourself for what you’re packing in your backpack for your kids. The only thing that gets us through long flights and drives is sensibility. Be sensible. Bring the snacks. Eat your green juice and broccoli when you get to your destination. Don’t fight it. Also, suckers work for toddlers/littles for planes. Heard from a friend.
DO, DO DOLLYWOOD
Amusement parks are all the feels. They are also, all the pain in the ass with the littles. But, oh so worth it. Just to see their smiles while they ride silly little movers and shakers that make them dizzy, and make us sweat in line while watching them go round and round, is totally worth it. Here's a tip, go beginning of June if you can. (Or after Christmas-but dress warm) It is not crowded and the weather is good. Also, wear sunscreen, a hat (protect your gorgeous faces mamas), comfortable and stylish sneakers and be prepared to walk all over hilly areas. Also, ride the Choo Choo train. It's my favorite part. Just don't wear white, you might get a little soot on you. I got some on my favorite white bomber, but it did come off. Also, if fried turkey legs and funnel cakes aren't your thing, pack a lunch. There's not a lot of salad options at the park and definitely no juice bar. P.S., eat the funnel cake with your kids. YOLO.
SENSE OF HUMOR
If you don’t bring this with you, you’re screwed. Just shoot yourself now. You have to laugh. If I can survive 4 flights of stairs in a creeky cabin with twin toddlers under 2, screaming non-sleeping toddlers on night 1 with a poop blowout at midnight, a migraine the next morning from no sleep, and an entire day a Dollywood with a family of 6, then you can too. Laugh through it, even if you have to cry through it. No one said it would be easy having a family. Or going on family trips with your family. Nobody. It’s called work. When I think back to all those vacations with my Mom and Dad, I don't think it was easy for them, but I'm more than positive they are grateful and so am I. So, while you're here in this stage, laugh it off. Or have a cocktail if you can. There will come a day when it’s not this hard. But you’ll be older and mad about being older, so just suck it up and enjoy the chaos. It’s worth it. Mom and Dad won’t always be here. K?
Last, but not least, 10 things you might need, but can’t forget!
1. Water bottle/water-somebody always needs water. Always.
2. Toy (new one or favorite-to keep them busy)
5. Snacks. All the snacks. No judgement.
6. Diapers. Don't get fancy. Poop is poop.
6. change of clothes (anything will do, someone will spill something or pee on themselves)
7. IPAD-just in case but really. It's the investment that keeps giving.
8.Baby wipes FOREVER and don't act like you don't wipe your makeup off with them.
10. Stroller because it's the best thing ever in life when you have babies