I know, there are a million reasons not to…so much to pack, the logistical puzzle of getting toddlers in and out of the car or through the airport, you feel like you are packing everything but the kitchen sink…I reiterate – JUST DO IT!
The looks of wonder and awe when your little ones see the beach for the first time, the grandparents beaming as they show off their grandchildren to their out of town siblings, those smiling faces…make it all worth it.
Memories that last a lifetime.
Or you could just stay home, do some laundry and read your kids the same book 500 times. And by the way, that same book sounds a lot better when you read it at the beach!
Be choosey! We’ve done a rental home on the lake with extended family and a hotel room for a wedding.
Staying in a rental home, condo or Airbnb that has separate rooms and a kitchen is certainly nicer if you can swing it. Tip – you can use a spacious master bathroom for the pack n’ plays if there aren’t enough bedrooms.
When your little ones are in bed you can still socialize with the others who are on the trip, prep meals, watch tv on a volume above 1 bar and generally enjoy yourself.
In a hotel room, you are playing the silent game during naptime and after bedtime. It’s good to pack wine for situations like this.
If you are staying in a hotel – totally do-able for a couple of nights but CALL AHEAD and check for early check-in, pack n’ plays, availability of mini-fridges, the potential for a room with a small sitting area and elevators.
Elevators? You might ask.
During the last adventure we loaded up the luggage rack in the hotel lobby and were standing there, feeling satisfied with our stacking abilities and laughing at how ridiculous yet essential it seems to bring so much stuff for two nights…the leaning tower of toddler gear.
Then, the hotel clerk looks at the rack and says, “Your room is on the second floor.”
Upbeat me, just having had a surprisingly good twinning car ride (minus the 4 water cups spilled – ahem dumped out – during our lunch stop), takes the room key and says, “Great, thanks!”
The clerk is still looking at me a bit funny and then explains, “There isn’t an elevator.”
NO ELEVATOR!? Definitely should have checked on the floor and elevator access.
And so the fun of chasing two toddlers around a non-child proofed environment began, while my hubby hauled all of our possessions upstairs!
What to pack
Extra wipes – enough said.
Diapers in several handy locations – your purse, the stroller, your partner’s duffle, the diaper bag.
If you are driving – bring car seats (clearly will already be in your car), two pack n’ plays if your kids are still in cribs, two booster seats/mini high chairs if you’ll be feeding your little ones in the room, clothes, toys, books, snacks, stroller…
…and MOST IMPORTANTLY anything your child sleeps with – a beloved stuffed animal or blankie, a sound machine or download the favorite lullaby playlist (this also may allow you to watch tv with 2 bars!!!).
If space is at a premium – especially if you are flying – use the stroller as transportation and a luggage rack and check it at the gate. You can also gate check car seats, but if you don’t want to carry them through the airport you can check them or rent them when you arrive.
Be sure to carry on bottles, snacks, diaper bag and a few toys or books, including those cherished stuffed monkeys.
Call ahead and reserve pack n’ plays. If you are staying at a rental property you can prime extra diapers and supplies so they arrive when you do.
If you are visiting relatives see if they have any local family or friends with gear that you can borrow.
If you run out or don’t have all of the “essentials” you can buy them there. You probably aren’t taking your twins to a deserted island. And if you are…I want to hear about it!
“Childproof” as soon as you arrive – a.k.a. hide all decorations, unplug extra lamps, phones and alarm clocks and stash them away. You’ll still be watching them like a hawk while they explore the new environment but limiting the number of non-child-friendly items within reach will make this easier.
Try to stick to them. This isn’t always possible, but try to plan flights, car rides, breaks to go inside to shower or read a magazine while the kids nap. Kids who get naps and stay on somewhat of a normal routine when they are away from home are a lot happier à more fun for everyone.
And when it’s time to leave – make sure you have those precious stuffed monkeys!!!
Editor’s Note: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, don’t let your babies sleep with any soft objects until they’re at least 12 months old.