Maternity leave seems like the perfect time to travel and do something to elevate the baby blues. But as new parents, it’s time to say goodbye to the days of easy vacations! Gone are the days when you simply submit a vacation request form and pack a light carry-on. Most people don’t realize that travelling with a new little tyrant equates to countless hours of preparation.

Here are some tips to help you get away for the summer with your little one:

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare.

This cannot be stressed enough. If you have Baby Tylenol in your medicine cabinet but have never used it, the one time when it will be necessary will be when your gallivanting on the beach with no drug store in site. Always bring what you don’t expect to use. You want to be able to enjoy that vacation without having to worry where the closest pharmacy is.

No Such Thing as Overpacking.

The first point brings us to our second point, your days of packing light are behind you. No matter how long you are away, whether it’s a weekend or a week, you will have more than one bag. Be prepared to pay the extra baggage fee, gas up the SUV instead of the car, and pack efficiently to maximize space. That one tiny human requires a truck load of things. Think play pen if you need a crib while you are away, where am I going to have food and/or milk for my little one, will Great Aunt Hilda’s house have a high chair, or should I pack my own? All these questions are valid and real concerns once you have a pint-sized travel buddy!

Consider Time Changes.

Jetlag does a number on the best of us, just think what it does to a wee one who is just getting used to day and night! If you are travelling to a destination where there will be a time change, don’t stress- try and roll with it and know it will likely take a few sleepless nights, (or weeks) to get your little one back on track once you return home.

Food is Your Friend.

Be prepared to bring a carry on full of snacks and drinks. Security will take longer to go through if you are flying, but it is never fun for you or your fellow travelers to travel with a hangry baby. If you are bringing water, milk or foods through customs be prepared for extra screenings. The bonus here is you can usually sneak a water or two in for yourself!

Sleep Time Equals Drive Time.

If your vacation is a road trip, try and schedule car travel around your baby’s sleep time. Often, babies love car rides as it gives them a chance to be lulled to sleep. For older children this isn’t always the case, so a long car ride during a nap can provide a few hours of peace and quiet for the driver.

We hope these tips will bring you an enjoyable and stress-free vacation, and remember, you are only as happy as your least happy child.