Traveling with an infant for vacation can be anything but a vacation. Thankfully we had some helpful tips from other parents to make it a little less stressful. First tip: lodging. Forget booking hotels, we are now obsessed with booking through Airbnb. You might be thinking...EWW, why would I want to stay in someone else's home? Well let me just get that stigma out of your head because it doesn't feel like that at all. For the same price, or even less than a hotel stay, you get the ambiance of a hotel room plus the feel of being at home. Why is this important for a family? Well with bottles, dirty poopie soaked clothes, strollers, toys and a travel crib plus a car, having a full size refrigerator, washer/dryer, free parking and extra space is important.
During our week stay in Portland we found an awesome private apartment. This "Mod Urban Farmer" rental was perfect for our little family plus my sister. We were greeted with a clean apartment, fresh robes, a nice supply of fresh towels and fresh eggs from the chicken coup out back. It's centrally located to great parks, grocery stores and some of the best eateries around town. The owner is a family man and very eco-conscious so everything from our dishwashing soap to our shampoos and liquid detergent was sustainable and safe enough to use for our baby 's laundry and bottles. He even had an extra stroller for us to use incase we needed it. The kitchen was fully stocked with everything we needed for cooking, including spices and oils. This was perfect for my husband because he was able to cook a few meals. Best part about this website is that you can find Airbnb's all over the world! Even if you don't have kids, I would highly recommend it.
Photos of our Airbnb apartment in Portland, OR.
Second tip: Book a minivan. Say bye bye to those nice four door sedans, SUV's and compact cars, mini van's are seriously the way to go. They're spacious, have USB ports everywhere and some even come with outlets! With all the space your stroller and bags take up, you will need it. I would suggest renting cars through Costco Travel because they have great deals with all the trusted rental car companies and sometimes mini vans will cost you less than renting a sedan. Maybe it's because they're not as popular...but honestly it will be your best kept secret. MINIVAN STATUS BABY!
Tip numero tres: baby carriers will be your bff. From the airplane ride to little outings, we ditched our stroller and opted for our baby carrier. When I say "ditched" I mean we checked in our stroller/car seat for the flight and we left them in the car. We have the original Ergobaby and an Ergobaby 360 (which allows baby to face forward). Let me tell you, it has made errands so much easier, quicker and gives us the freedom to use both hands! Our son didn't like them too much in the beginning but now he loves them and almost always falls asleep when we carry him, as you can see in the photos above. The best part about not having to push around a stroller is that we don't have to look for ramps or elevators to get to our destinations and it gives both me and my husband a nice little work out, depending on who is carrying him.
Final tip: Don't over pack (this tip is easier said than done). During our week stay in Portland, these are the essentials that we packed for our infant:
- car seat & base (you will need the base for your rental car)
- lotus travel crib (even though he ended up in our bed)
- ergo baby carrier
- 6 bottles
- supply of frozen breast milk
- bottle cleaner that we didn't mind loosing (only $2 at walmart)
- pack of diapers
- travel size baby powder
- travel size baby shampoo/soap
- thermometer, bandaids and baby tylenol
- 4 burp cloths
- 3 swaddles
- 2 baby blankets
- 3 pairs of fleece lined pants, 1 pair of fleece lined jeans from baby gap
- long sleeve & short sleeve onesies
- 2 pajamas
- 2 jackets
- beanies & socks
- a few toys and books
I can honestly say that we used all of these items. We definitely had a few blowouts and lots of spit up stains. That's where the washer/dryer came in handy. I did two loads of laundry when we were in that apartment. If we forgot anything or ran out of diapers we just looked for the closest drug store.
Hope some of these tips will help for you next vacation, and if you have any tips for me please let me know! I'm always open to learning new ways to making my life a little easier when traveling with a baby.