We just got back from a 5 day vaca to the Bahamas and little princess Noa had the time of her life! Daddy had a job assignment at Atlantis resort in Nassau to install a 2,500 gallon aquarium in their casino (Watch his company Fish Tank Kings on National Geographic on Netflix!) and we decided to tag along (I know poor us!).
The days were spent with just Noa and I and we bounced between kiddie pools, dolphin sightings and simply walking around (which for a 15 month old who just mastered walking last month was pretty exciting). Since we only stayed for a few days, the resort itself was enough of an adventure and we actually didn’t venture off the property. Even on our last night, we still hadn’t seen everything. I most likely would have made a point to travel to other parts of the island if I hasn’t been to Nassau several times before and also didn’t have a toddler in tow. Staying at the resort made life simpler (albeit more expensive) and provided plenty of activity for the little one.
The only other trip I had taken with Noa was when she was 6 months old and I flew with her to New York and spent a couple weeks in Fire Island. I knew the challenges of traveling with her then but knew they would now be different (she moves now!). I also anticipated traveling internationally, even for a short flight may complicate things further (a nice way of saying “dealing with severe tantrums) with longer lines and security.
I figured, however, that this short 1 hour flight would be great preparation for a longer 4 hour international August flight we’ll be taking with her (stay tuned!). I do seem to learn a new trick or two every day with this lady even though sometimes that tip loses it’s effectiveness over time. It’s a constant learning experience!
Here are some things I found to be indispensable to our trip. I was traveling alone for the flights and had Noa all day alone so I feel for you solo traveling parents. If you have someone going with you, they will be an added benefit to everything below! Some may seem obvious but can slip your mind when you’re in vaca mode. They aren’t in any particular order; simply some things to consider as you prepare for your own trip. These tips can also be substituted for any trip (longer car ride etc.).
Plane Activity: Reliving the Trip
I frantically wanted to download a few video songs Noa could watch on the
plane. The one time I could care less about “screen time” is during a full day of traveling; when all else fails, I’m pulling out my phone. However, I forgot to download something and what was sure to be an epic meltdown, stopped as soon as I start playing videos (or even showing her pictures) from the trip itself. I pointed out everything in the picture, painfully described every detail and color and by the end of our stroll down memory lane a tantrum had been avoided. It was a miracle!
Sun Protection is No Joke
Sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, cover-ups; bring them all! Even with all that, a problem I had was Noa constantly pulling off her hat and the top of her head got slightly pink. I ended up just spraying regular sunscreen on top of her head which wasn’t great for her hair but I’ll take that over a burn. I’ve seen that they have scalp sunscreen which I’ll for sure be bringing on our next trip. Or, I’ll just have to resign to constantly putting on her sunhat and come to terms with sunscreen in her hair on a pool or beach day.
Bring a Couple Toys and Books but Don’t Go Overboard
I was so worried about having things for Noa to do that I brought too many books and toys. Have a few things from home to make the place familiar but you may find the only time you use them is on the plane ride. Noa was more interested in an Atlantis logo pen, the in-room dining menu or any other trinket she could rummage for in the room. The full length closet mirror actually provided hours of entertainment.
I was glad that I did bring something new onto the plane, a simple sticker set and mini coloring book I picked up from the Target dollar section. Seeing something new kept her distracted for a good 10 minutes! (LOL)
Bring Snacks or Make a Grocery Store Run
Before getting to your destination, especially if it’s somewhere where the price tag on food is inflated, make a quick stop at a local grocery store and round up snacks and drinks for the week. It gives you peace of mind knowing you have those essentials in the room and on-hand and don’t have to worry about searching the map for a place to grab some goldfish.
Don’t Skip the Stroller
This may seem obvious to everyone…except me. I figured it was a quick trip, she’d nap in the room and it wasn’t worth lugging with me. In reality, I spent a great deal of time lugging this little person what must have been miles around the resort and several times with her passed out in my arms. Note: Ignore this advice if you’re looking to build arm muscle.
Do Skip the Gourmet Dining
I suppose this depends on your child’s temperament but for us, a casual family restaurant was less stressful and enjoyable. I’m sure the same can be said for the gourmet diners we left to enjoy their meal. I say this after attempting a meal at a nicer restaurant (twice) and both ended up in a lot of tears (almost for both of us). A nicer evening almost always involved some take-out that we brought to wherever we pleased (the beach, our room) in a spot where screaming (and adorable toddler laughing) was encouraged.
What are some of your vacationing tips and tricks for summer adventures?