As a mother of two young children I know firsthand how difficult it can be to get organized and remember to take everything but the kitchen sink with you when you travel to your awesome vacation getaway. I have a two-year-old rambunctious boy and a seven-month-old girl. My husband and I like to travel and we can’t leave the kids at home, so it comes down to packing smarter not harder and staying at a rental that provides a safe-haven (that is fun) for our kids.
If you’re the vacationer, you’ll want to pack enough wipes, bottles, baby food (in pouches), diapers and burp clothes in your carry on. Moms, try to let your carry-on double as your diaper bag and your purse. Dad’s do the same. Usually I have my laptop in the same bag in a separate compartment along with my wallet, lip gloss and keys. I tightly roll up the baby clothes to stuff in outside random pockets and the rest I hermetically seal in vinyl bags.
Don’t forget your car seat! Most cabs and Ubers don’t have car seats so you know you’ll be dragging one with you, but you need it and certain kid paraphernalia is just unavoidable. Once your guests arrive, that’s where the panic sets in and they start thinking of every item they forgot back home.
There’s some things you’ll want to have readily available to anyone staying at your place who has kids to help mitigate or eliminate that panic. Presume any family who has children from 1 month to 24 months will require things like hi-chairs in the kitchen and sippy cups in the cupboard. Additionally, baby proofing your rental is pivotal to ensuring your guests are safe. You’ll need to carry door knob covers, plastic outlet plugs and cabinet locks for the kitchen. Usually those items will cover your major bases.
If you have a pool, make sure you have proper fencing around your pool so children can’t easily wander over and fall in. A lot of rentals have or share a private pool and without the proper measures in place, you don’t want a liability, so invest in the fence, even if you hate the way it looks. Safety first!
Having a spare stroller and car seat in your front closet will help your guests feel right at home. A double stroller is a huge bonus as well. Parents will appreciate being able to borrow your stroller to walk around near the beach, boardwalk or nearby shops. Or, they can take it with them to the local mall on a rainy day and not have to worry about lugging their toddler around. Additionally having extra baby wipes and diapers in the powder room will score extra points. Mild baby soap and baby-specific laundry detergent is also a huge plus.
Speaking of rainy days… stock up on board games, outdoor games and playing cards. Kids need something to do as do adults for those monsoon-like days. Having extra coloring books and crayons around always is a big hit. I recommend having Monopoly, Pictionary, Chutes and Ladders, Life, Operation, Hungry Hippos, Sorry, Checkers and pick up sticks. Some fun outdoor games could include having a soccer ball, volleyball and a whiffle ball set.
If you follow these simple steps, you’ll be sure to make your guests’ stay extremely stress-free and pleasant. The more you can do to help eliminate trips to the local store especially after a family has traveled a long way, will ease their mind and help them appreciate what you have done for them.