After our recent trip to the beach, post can be read here, I wanted to share some of my own tips for traveling with a baby. On the plane, in the car, and on the beach. My son is six months old, and we flew to Florida with him and our seven-year-old daughter.
Pacifier for takeoff / landing. I gave our son a pacifier for takeoff, and on the way home nursed him. Both seemed to work great as a protection for his ears, just in case they seem to bother him. You really never know how babies are going to react to flying, so I wanted to make sure he had some options.
2. Plane toys. I bought some new toys he had never seen before and brought a few of his favorites. It helped to have a few new toys to keep his interest. And then we had a few of his favorites also. One piece of advice, try not to bring to many toys or things that can easily roll on a plane. Or you’ll be grabbing things off the floor constantly and wiping them off.
3. Changing mat / blanket. We always have the changing mat in the diaper bag, but it came in great use on the plane to lay it down on the dirty seats to give him some type of barrier. And then his blanket in case it was cold, or just to get snuggle with.
4. Formula / Ziplocs. Not pictured. I brought about six bottles worth of formula in small Ziploc baggies in the diaper bag. Each baggie had one bottle worth of formula measured out. I know they make formula containers, but I love a Ziploc bag and it saved lots of room. We also had a small container of formula in a can in one of our carry-on bags, just in case we were to get stuck somewhere we had plenty. I was still breastfeeding at the time, but not on a regular basis so I was able to nurse him if we had no other means to feed him.
5. Bottles. Not pictured. I brought two bottles in the diaper bag, and while we were on the plane, I put a few ice cubes from our drinks to rinse out the bottle and not leave the formula to dry up.
6. Stroller / car seat. We brought our own stroller and car seat; they are considered a necessity on the plane so they were not a “checked” or “carry-on” bag if you will. It was great to keep him in the car seat, on the stroller, right up until we boarded the plane. And then once we were in Florida, it was nice to have the stroller. And for the car seat, I was worried about not having the base in the rental car, but we just buckled him up the good old fashion way when you put the seat belt through the loop of the car seat.
7. Stroller fan. The stroller fan is a must, we used it so much one of the legs broke off when we got home. Being in the hot Florida heat, you definitely need a fan for the baby. The stroller fan can be found here.
8. Baby crib / hatch sound machine. We used this company to rent baby gear. It was the best idea! We rented a baby crib, a bouncy seat, and the hatch sound machine. I highly recommend using the same things you use at home for bedtime when traveling. It makes it a little easier being in a new environment for the baby.
9. Tent. This tent has been great this summer! Believe it or not, the tent wraps up into a small oval shape. We crammed this into our suitcase and used it for naps on the beach. We’ve also used it for naps at the pool. Baby tent can be found here.
10. Baby carrier. We used the carrier a few times, in the airport and as we walked on the beach. It comes in handy, and it’s been a great way to be able to do more things hands free. The baby carrier we have is a bit old, as it was given to me from a friend. Here is a similar one here.
Sometimes traveling with babies gets a bad rap, but if you do a little bit of preparing and pre-planning, it can be very smooth and easy!
We had an amazing, short few days at the beach earlier this month! When our daughters start date for school got pushed back to the Tuesday after Labor Day, we decided to hop on a jet plane to Fort Myers Beach!
We flew this time, and used our companion passes you can use through American Express. I think it was because of the “C” word, I had two passes that hadn’t expired yet! Hadley was beyond excited to fly! She has flown before, but she was little like two and three years old, so she doesn’t remember it at all. This trip was like her first time that’ll she remember. She was so excited at the airport, she couldn’t sit still. We arrived at the airport earlier than normal, traveling with Huxley and all. It was a breeze getting through security.
For takeoff, I grabbed a random pacifier from home, and he surprisingly took it. To help with his ears in case they started to hurt. It was his nap time, so he slept for the first half of the flight. It was awesome! And, we had the whole row behind us empty so Kevin hopped back there and took Huxley once he woke up so he could lay down and play with toys and stretch out. This kid does not like to be held for long periods of time. During takeoff, the look on Hadley’s face was priceless. I wish I would’ve grabbed a photo, but my arms were a little full. She was excited and a little nervous like woah this is fast!
When we arrived at the Florida airport, we got our rental car. A Jeep with a soft top! It was fun! I will say I would never buy a jeep for myself, but it was fun for the short few days we were there.
I had rented a few baby items for Huxley, since we flew, we couldn’t take all the baby gear like we would’ve if we would’ve driven. I rented a baby crib, a swing, and the Hatch sound machine. When we got to the condo, it was all waiting for us outside. It was amazing! And the company was so nice and friendly, and made it super easy for us. The company is called Posh Baby Equipment Rentals and can be found by clicking on this link.
Our condo was right on the beach! It was amazing. We took this selfie when we got there, and kind of cut Hadley’s head off haha
The weather was a little rainy when we got there, but luckily it didn’t rain the rest of the time! Here are a few photos of the condo. The beach chairs had to stay on the grass, you couldn’t move them to the sand. But it was so nice because we would set all of our stuff down on the chairs, as we got our tent and chairs set up on the beach. The condo provided the tent, chairs, and beach toys.
The jeep we rented! Kevin was in heaven; he’s always wanted a jeep. We did ride around with the top down once, at night. During the day would’ve been too hot for the kids. Now if we go back on a no kid trip sometime, definitely have the top down all the time!
Huxley and I took a short walk around the property while Kevin and Hadley went to the grocery store. After we got all settled, we went to dinner at Junkanoo which is a great pizza place just a few blocks down the street. I didn’t take any photos at dinner; I was so tired!
The beach felt amazing, it was a little warm but still felt good to cool off in. Lots of seaweed you had to walk through to get past the waves. It took Hadley a little while to get over that part, and then she was fine.
Here’s the condo, looking from the beach. It was pretty empty. We’re not used to beaches being so empty, we love to people watch. So, this was different, but the best part about it all was the condo was literally steps from the beach. We didn’t have to pack up the car, drive to the condo, it was all right there. It was great!
First day at the beach! All smiles! Even from little Huxley. We found this little boogie board for Hadley to use, and she used it every day. And I love how she wears hats in the ocean, it keeps the water out of her eyes, and she doesn’t have to squint as much because she doesn’t really wear sunglasses. Huxley took a couple naps on the beach; we actually crammed this tent into our suitcase. We used it at the pool all summer too, it was great! Just toss the stroller fan in there, and he’s good to go. The tent and chairs provided by the condo, weren’t in the greatest condition but they got the job done.
Here’s our little lanai, it was perfect with furniture, a coffee table, and a cool little rack that broke down to hang towels and bathing suits on.
We went to dinner by the marina, Hadley’s eyes were so bloodshot from the pool. She kept opening her eyes underwater, and it was a saltwater pool! We forgot her goggles at home, so that was part of it. After dinner we went to the famous Love Boat for some ice cream!
After dinner and ice cream, just Hadley and I went on a walk on the beach at night. Kevin put Huxley to bed. It was so nice! She was so excited to just be with me by herself. We walked pretty far and looked for crabs but no luck. She and I had a great time together.
The next day, I took a fast walk on the beach by myself. It was amazing. No headphones, no music, just the sound of the ocean air. It was so nice.
Hadley loved her room! She had a TV, and her own bathroom. Huxley was in our room, with this little portable crib.
Hadley loved to pretend she was a surfer girl. Tying the board to her wrist. Sometimes Huxley would nap on the beach, or he would nap up at the condo. Kevin and I would take turns sitting up at the condo with him. And Hadley loved it, because she got our undivided attention for a little bit.
The pool was so nice, we pretty much had it to ourselves. At the most, there would be one or two other people. We also crammed Huxleys pool floatie in our suitcase, it breaks down very small.
Probably one of THE best parts about this condo was, Publix was right across the street! Like a crosswalk away. It was awesome! We walked over a few times for sure!
The condo right next door to us had an open house, so Kevin and Hadley went in and looked around just to be curious. We were guessing maybe $500-$600k, nope! It was almost $900k! Good lord.
On our last night, we stayed in for dinner and grilled out steak. We used the grills they had down by the pool. After dinner, we all went on a walk on the beach. The sky was like we were in a different world! I didn’t edit the photos at all, but the sky looks like we were walking in a different world. It was pretty cool. Huxley has a thing for Hadleys hair in almost every group photo we try to take. Kevin volunteered to wear Huxley in the baby carrier, I cannot wear that thing for long periods of time. It hurts my neck! It was such a nice night to walk on the beach and watch the sunset.
After the kids went to bed, Kevin and I sat out on the lanai and watched the storm rolling in. We had the best weather too, it rained on our first day, and then no rain until after dark on our last day. It was perfect!
A few more pictures of the condo, it was perfect for us.
For the flight home, we had about five hours to kill after check out. I wish I would’ve known to ask for a later check out time, so we could’ve stayed there. So, we went out to brunch at First Watch and took our time there. And then we visited my Aunt Cindy! It was good to see her and a comfortable place to kill some time before we headed to the airport. I was dreading hanging out at a restaurant for that many hours with the kids.
The flight home was even smoother! Huxley had his own seat, and if you can afford to, I highly recommend getting your baby their own seat so if you need to lay them down you can. I can’t imagine holding him the entire flight. We had the whole right side, and then Kevin and Hadley had one seat open on their side, so it was perfect. Huxley was awake the majority of the flight, but he was so very good. A few of the people sitting around us, commented on how good of a flyer our kids are. Hadley loved flying and wants to fly everywhere instead of drive from now on. She said her favorite part about flying is when we take off.
It was a short trip, but just enough to get me into that relaxation mode. All I have to do is think of the ocean waves, and that ocean breeze, and I’m instantly relaxed. It was a great time to restart before school, and a few days to get away from reality.
We spent last week at the beach! It’s been a few years since we’ve been to our happy place. We squeezed in lots of fun things on this vacation, and the best part about it all was we took our time! It was the most relaxed, chill, no worries kind of vacation! Ready for a photo dump?
Monday, Aug 9
The drive from Cincinnati to Destin is about 11 hours. With this trip being our six year old’s first long drive, we decided to stop at a hotel. Stopping was the best decision ever, we had no time constraint, we got there when we got there. During our drive, I had a few surprise car gifts for Hadley to break up the time. She had already had a bucket full of things to do already, plus her iPad, but these were extra things in case she needed some distractions. Car surprise #1 were the ever so popular pop-its! I don’t know a kid that doesn’t like these things!
We drove for seven hours, with a few rest area stops, and finally stopped in Birmingham, Alabama. The hotel was beautiful, and the staff was so polite! The general manager came out to the pool while we were swimming, and gave us bottled water!
Hadley was super excited to have a bed all to herself!
Tuesday, Aug 10
Woke up and worked out in the hotel gym. Ran on the treadmill for twenty minutes. Kevin and Hadley just chilled in the hotel room. After my workout, I hopped in the shower to get ready to leave for the next drive of our trip. Kevin and Hadley went down to get breakfast while I was finishing up. The hotel breakfast was amazing, they had everything you could ask for which was crazy, especially for a complimentary breakfast during a pandemic! Hadley sat with me while I ate my breakfast, and Kevin packed up the truck.
On the road again! We only had a four hour drive to Destin which seemed super short! We were all pumped and ready to see the ocean! The next car surprise was from Grandma Gail, she brought her a box of goodies for the trip.
We arrived! Hadley was soo excited, she wanted to run straight to the beach! But we had to check in and unload the truck. You know, the not so fun part of vacation. I wish I would’ve taken more photos of the condo, it was so nice. Hadley had bunk beds to sleep on, she slept on the top bunk every night. She loved having her own little area.
We took no time to unload, changed into our bathing suits, and hit the beach! The water was gorgeous! I couldn’t get over how clear it was! It took Hadley about a day and a half to get used to the salt water, and the waves that would almost knock her down as you walked into the ocean. We brought her life jacket which was the best idea, she loved floating in the ocean and not having to worry about not touching.
After the beach, Hadley and Kevin checked out the pool while I went up to the condo to freshen up a little bit. Hadley could swim in a pool everyday all day of her life. She loves the water!
Wednesday, Aug 11
Worked out at the condo gym, we had it to ourselves! Hadley was so cute and tried a few of the machines out while I ran on the treadmill. I hope I encourage her that exercise is an important part of life. After our workout, enjoyed breakfast on the lanai overlooking the beach!
First full day at the beach! We came prepared! Beach toys, life jacket, umbrellas, and beach chairs.
For dinner, we went to Fudpuckers Gator Beach. They had live alligators you could feed while you waited for your table. It was a long wait, but fun while you waited. Super kid friendly!
After dinner, we went swimming in the pool and hung out on the lanai just listening to the ocean. I could listen to that sound all day everyday.
Thursday, Aug 12
My little workout partner! I worked out 5 out of the 7 days we were there full days. Some days I would do the Nike app in the condo, and other days I would go to the gym. I didn’t make it to the beach to walk/run, but maybe next time.
Waking up to this view every morning was the best. I couldn’t imagine having a condo without a beach view.
Our little beach babe! She adapted so well to the beach life. We found her a hat to help with her face getting so hot, it helped so much with her little cheeks. She’s a hot box!
We had a routine for the most part, beach all day then late afternoon I would go up and get ready for dinner while these two swam in the pool.
Some nights, we would eat in the condo instead of going out. After we ate and showered, we headed out for some crab hunting! Hadley was most excited about this. Walking along the beach at night was so nice and peaceful, and the condo looked so pretty all lit up. We saw so many little crabs, and one huge mama crab! I shined the flashlight on the big mama one and it crawled straight into the ocean. It was such a fun night!
Friday, Aug 13
Today was the dolphin cruise! We were up early and ready to roll. We decided to do the morning cruise so it would be less hot, and we’d still have time to go to the beach afterwards.
Waiting for the cruise to start was hot hot, even mid-morning! And Miss Hadley wore her dolphin earrings for the dolphin cruise.
We saw the harbor, Crab Island, and along with the dolphins, we saw some sharks! It was hard to take photos of the dolphins, they were fast.
The water is just gorgeous, and so peaceful to watch. We loved the cruise, the breeze was just enough so you weren’t sweating your booty off.
After the cruise, we walked around a little bit and found this super fun activity to do for kids. We were soo surprised Hadley did it, but she did and loved it! She walked into this deflated giant bubble, they blew it up with her inside of it which she thought was going to be scary but wasn’t. Then the man walked her into the pool, and there she goes! Floating around with other kids in bubbles, and as you can see by the photos nothing but smiles.
After the dolphin cruise, we still had some time to go to the beach! We were so glad we brought her life jacket from the lake, she loved floating in the ocean.
Just like every day, pool time after the beach!
Saturday, Aug 14
Started off the morning with a workout in the condo, did the Nike app.
Clear blue skies, no filter! Another beautiful beach day!
For dinner tonight we went to Lulu’s! Out of all the places we went to eat, this was at the top of the list! Being Jimmy Buffet fans and all, we thought it was pretty neat that this place is owned by his sister Lucy! They had a live one man band playing, the entire place was open so you could feel the ocean breeze, had an outdoor bar area, with sand and access to the beach. It wasn’t very crowded outside, because a storm was rolling in. It was awesome though, and we loved it!
Sunday, Aug 15
Went for donuts for breakfast this morning! The line for this popular place, The Donut Hole, was very very long, like out the door long and this was before 9am. So we decided to do takeout and eat at the condo. They were delicious!
Beach day! Towards the end of our day, Tropical Storm Fred winds started rolling in. The winds were so strong the sand was blowing against our bodies and it hurt! Floaties and pool chairs were flying all over the place, so we headed indoors.
Since the storm turned our beach day short, we went bowling before dinner. This place was called Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl and Grill and it was so neat inside. Everything was ocean themed, and it felt like you were bowling inside an aquarium.
After bowling, we went to dinner at the The Back Porch! Food wise, this was our favorite place. The fish was so good and fresh. LuLu’s was great for the ambience, and the food was good too. But the Back Porch food was very good and another place right on the water. Just love eating with the ocean breeze flowing in! We loved hanging out on the beach while we waited for our table.
Monday, Aug 16
Our last full day before we had to leave, Tropical Storm Fred had other plans for us. They closed the beaches, and pools, it was a double red flag day. We took our time in the morning, I worked out, ate breakfast on the lanai, took showers, and took a long walk on the beach. The tide came up to where everyone sits on the beach!
We went to a Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park! This place was huge, and totally worth a visit. Side note, notice the surfers behind the last photo? Double red flag, and surfers were out there! The lifeguards kept coming by and telling them to get out, then they would get right back in. Anyways, we saw a show about seals, and dolphins! And saw so many other ocean animals. It was a very cool place!
After the Gulfarium, we ate at Rockin Tacos for an early dinner. On our last night, we stayed in so we could pack and get everything ready for the road the next day.
Tuesday, Aug 17
On the morning before we left, the beach was just gorgeous! I guess Tropical Storm Fred busted out of there in just one day.
On the road again! Car surprise was more pop-its! We decided to drive for eight hours until Bowling Green, KY. We stopped at Cracker Barrel to eat dinner, haven’t eaten there in ages. I loaded up on pancakes, my favorite there!
The hotel was not as nice as the one in Birmingham. It’s a long story, but let’s just say Kevin isn’t in charge of booking things anymore haha! The indoor pool was okay, we let Hadley swim for just an hour or so. It was already late enough, but she just can’t resist a pool. Oh, and I totally forgot to give her this underwater camera for the beach and pool in Florida! She used it in the pool at the hotel, and got the hang of it.
We had the best time on this trip! Would definitely recommend Destin, and we plan to go back again sometime! I loved how we took our time getting there, had zero plans while we were there, just went with the flow everyday and did whatever. I loved not having a real plan everyday. I did do some research and planning beforehand and had a few places in mind to check out, but nothing set in stone. Hadley loved the beach, and just like anything she does she adapts so well to whatever environment she is in and is such a happy easy going kiddo. Love these memories we’ve created for her and us as a family!
In two weeks, we are going on vacation to the beach! I always like to think of fun ways to do things around here, so I came up with a quick scavenger hunt. Hadley just loves them, they are so easy and you can make them super short too.
First clue: Girl, does Mom and Dad have a surprise for you! Where you get wet in the house is the first clue!
Second clue: Great job! World class swimmer! Ride the waves to where you eat dinner. (Clue was in the shower door).
Third clue: Grab your goggles and dive deep. Find the next clue where you sleep. (Clue was on a kitchen table chair).
Fourth clue: Let’s build sandcastles and play in the sand! Look for the next clue where you wash your hands! (Clue was on her pillow in her bed).
Fifth clue: No resting yet, you’re almost done. A surprise is waiting where there’s movie fun. (Clue was in the bathroom).
Last clue was the ticket to the beach! I made this in Photoshop, and cut it out by hand. (Last clue was in the TV stand / movies). Hadley is super excited! She’s been to the beach when she was around two years old or so, but obviously doesn’t remember at that age. So this will be her first real trip to the beach! We can’t wait to see her have fun on the beach, build sandcastles, swim in the ocean, and to just see this vacation through her little blue eyes! And of course, to just chill, relax, and breath in that ocean air!