As a new mom-to-be who read every book she could get her hands on, I thought I had it all figured out. Then my daughter was born! Suddenly all my studying seemed for naught.
I retained nothing from my mountain of books and had more questions than I started out with. Once I had a second or two to refer back to my books, it was too late... most of my questions had already been answered by other moms.
From nursing to sleeping to bathing to tummy-time, I trusted the advice I received from other new moms – my family, my friends, my new "daytime" friends, and often other seemingly sleep-deprived kindred souls I meet on the street. I’m not discounting the value of experts and their well-researched books, but they weren’t there to talk to while I was falling asleep in my Christmas dinner. In my opinion, every mom is an expert. And when it comes to traveling, families who’ve done it (and some very frequently!) can offer the most valuable tips.
1.) Packing. What you pack and how much of it depends on the age of your child and your destination. If you’re confident that you can buy what you need when you get there, pack enough to get you through the first couple of days, so you’re not stressing out about finding a store and getting there straight away. To get older kids excited about the upcoming trip, Laura Martin of Calgary suggests allowing the children to pack their own travel kit/bag the night before. “That way you can check it to ensure that the essentials are there.” She warns to “not be critical about what they packed. It will cut down on the complaints …since they did the choosing.” This makes sense to me, though I might have a few surprises on hand, in case of "emergencies."
My most valuable packing tip, and this goes for those without children as well, is to divide all your belongings into separate bags. This way, if a bag does get lost, it’s not THAT one. My poor friend had to spend a week in Cuba in her husband’s shorts and a borrowed swimsuit, since her suitcase didn’t show up for the entire week. I have a very detailed carry-on packing list on Have Baby Will Travel.
2.) Long flights and wait times. It’s the dreaded thought of hours in the airport, and then hours on the plane, that put many off the idea of traveling until their kids are older. Know and accept in advance that you won’t be relaxing with a book or movie on this or any flight for quite some time and you’re halfway there.