Over the years, beach vacations have taken many different forms, from an escape from the daily grind with friends to a budget-friendly joint on a whim to a quaint coastal town. Fast forward to today, with two kids in tow, traveling light is no longer an option and the standard beach holiday now requires excessive planning and logistics, a larger rental car, and activities befitting of an infant, toddler, and sleep-deprived parents.
On the heels of our recent family vacation to the tranquil island of Maui – filled with wonderful daily adventures and an opportunity to introduce our littlest family member to the ocean for the first time - we’ve outlined some helpful tips to aid in maximizing your next tropical vacation with kids:
Plan Around Nap Time:
For us, a daily morning nap at the beach allowed for a more rewarding outing for the entire family: one that would give all of us enough time to relax and enjoy the area and give our adventurous four-year-old ample time to play at the beach while his little sister rested in the shade. After a solid morning at the beach, coming home for lunch never felt like a compromise. Whatever your routine, it’s important it works for you and your family. No one can enjoy a vacation or day at the beach if you’re constantly checking your watch and rushing around, and equally, no baby can operate on lack of sleep… and neither can their parents.
Adjust to the New Time Zone:
Sure it can be daunting, after all, the prospective of a 4am wake-up due to jet lag doesn’t exactly scream “relaxing vacation,” but with a little flexibility at bedtime (we slowly migrate our kids over to the new time zone throughout the first few days) and staying firm on nap-time, we found that although the kids woke a bit earlier than normal, it actually offered some wonderful morning walks on the, particularly during low tide. And wouldn’t you know it… at that hour you have the whole place to yourself.
Relish the Simple Things:
In the B.K. days – that’s “Before Kids” – we were too quick to seek out the “best.” Best beach for cliff jumping, best town for authentic lunch spots, best coffee shop, best beer, best trails... you get the idea. These days, it’s all about convenience – and careful planning; even with these limitations, we’ve found you can learn a great deal about your surroundings and often, find exactly what you need right outside your door. Taking advantage of the beaches within a short radius of your hotel or condo is key; I’m sure we missed out on the “best” snorkeling spot on the island, but you know what, not venturing a great distance each day meant we had more time to enjoy the sand and the surf… and we even still found some hidden secrets along the way.
Traveling with kids never ceases to be a wonderful adventure: from experiencing the ocean for the first time to diving in head first (literally) into the deep end. Until next time… there’s a whole lot of beaches and open ocean to explore!