The Best Baby-Friendly Vacation Spots (And Where Not to Go)
Planning your first trip with baby? Check out our picks for the best destinations to go with your family, plus a couple of places that you might want to hold off on until baby’s older. Photo: Thinkstock / The Bump
Where to Go:
We know what you’re thinking: Sailing the open seas with baby? Hear us out. If you choose the right cruise, you won’t have to schlep around a stroller all day long, and it’s pretty easy to return back to your stateroom every few hours for a little break. Plus, most cruises are equipped to cater to families, even those with small babies. If you go on a Disney cruise, for example, you can order diapers, wipes and other necessities ahead of time (so you don’t have to pack them). And you’ll never be bored -- on most cruise lines, there are deck parties, live shows, babysitting services, and a variety of cuisines to choose from, and you can personalize your excursions to something baby-friendly, like a dip in the pool.
Check out: Disney Cruise Lines -- rates vary, but a cruise for a family of three (two adults and one child under two) to the Bahamas in October starts at $1,462. Get more information here.
Rent a beach house that’s within driving distance -- it will be way easier than going through airport security with baby! This option has a couple of benefits: You’ll save money by buying your own groceries, meaning you won’t have to bring baby to a million different restaurants. Plus, you’ll be able to pack all your baby gear without worrying about baggage restrictions at the airport. And renting a beach house is a great way to get other family members, like your parents, together for a few days. Hello, free babysitting!
Check out: VacationRentals.com, where you can search for rental homes throughout the country.
Splurge by booking a stay at an all-inclusive, ultra-luxe resort. With meals and some activities included, you’ll have all the luxuries already provided and you won’t feel guilty if you don’t set foot outside the resort! Plus, most all-inclusives will cater to infants. Some resorts provide baby-proofing services for your room, in-suite nannies you can hire when it’s time for alone time with your partner, and day care or kids’ camp to keep your children entertained while you enjoy the golf course, spa or pool.
Check out: Azul Beach Resort -- this boutique size, Riviera Maya location gives you the gorgeous, relaxing setting you crave, plus an all-your-babe-can-eat Gerber snack bar, high chairs and boosters at every table, special Fisher-Price themed suites stocked with cool toys, and a playhouse filled with fun My Gym equipment and teachers. Other baby and kid-friendly locations in this resort group are Generations Maroma and Azul Sensatori locations. Beaches, whose Caribbean resorts have a special Sesame Street program where you and baby can go bird-watching with Big Bird, have story time with Elmo and make music with Bert and Ernie. Or try a Club Med resort with a Baby Club Med, where for an extra fee, babies from four months to two years old can do fun activities, eat healthy meals and get all the diapers, wipes and other baby necessities they’ll need.
Grandma and Grandpa’s House
Okay, maybe going to your in-laws’ or parents’ house isn’t your dream vacation, but it’s a start, right? In fact, a road trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house is the perfect starter trip. The grandparents will be able to get some bonding time with their grandchild, you can bring as much gear as you want, and you won’t have to splurge on a fancy hotel or resort (and we’re sure they’ll provide meals too). Plus, you’ve got a babysitter on hand so you can have a date night during your trip.
Check out: Well, for this one, all you have to do is give your folks or in-laws a call! Easy, right?
Where Not to Go:
You might want to hold off on any plans to go to Southeast Asia or Africa just yet. Any place where baby would need special immunizations or malaria pills is probably not worth the stress right now.
Somewhere More Than Six Hours Away
A quick plane ride will probably be okay -- baby will most likely be good, but if not, you’ll be off the plane in just a couple of hours. Extend the plane ride over the span of several meals or naptimes, though, and you’re just asking for trouble.
Bugs, bears and Mother Nature? That doesn’t exactly sound like the best destination for a family with an infant. In fact, a camping trip will probably just mean a ton of work and creativity on your part. Think about the logistics of baby-safe activities, where to put stinky diapers and how in the heck you’re going to fit a portable crib in your tent. Unless you’re super-outdoorsy, when you go on vacation with baby, you want amenities and something a bit more relaxing.
Sure, B&Bs were a perfect getaway when it was just you and your guy, but now that you have baby in tow, it probably won’t work. You’ll constantly worry that baby’s cries are waking (or annoying) everyone in the house. And, you might not be able to borrow baby gear like a crib or high chair.
Plus, more from The Bump:
Baby's First Trip
Flying With Baby
Tips for Traveling With Baby
See More: Baby Basics , Parenting Styles
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