By Jen Mearns

Are you thinking about going on a family vacation? Do you have very small children, or as I like to call them, littles? Just thinking about vacationing with littles might send your anxiety through the roof. I’m here to tell you that it is not easy! We’ve taken exactly one vacation as a family of five without grandparents. Even when you do have family to help you, it can be overwhelming. I’ve compiled a list of things that might be helpful to you as you plan your next vacation with littles!

Make a List

Make a list to remind you to make a list. I can’t stress how important it is to make a list of things you need to pack, things you need to purchase, etc. If you have an infant, the shear volume of things you’ll need to bring is incredible. My advice is to go through your day with each child in your head as you are compiling your list. For example, think about the feeding supplies, baby food, formula, then move on to sleeping accommodations, playtime, books, diapers, wipes, and finally, clothes. And that’s just for the baby! Think about each child in turn and the various things you’ll need.

Plan for Meals

If possible, try to stay at a place where you can make meals there. Bring groceries and plan to make most of your meals at your rental. Going out for each meal will be hard on your wallet and your sanity. As I’m sure you’re aware, dining out with littles can be an interesting endeavor. Don’t worry about making gourmet meals. You’re on vacation! Make simple meals that your kids will approve of, and don’t forget–there is always pizza!

Don’t Forget the Stroller

It’s easy to overlook something like a stroller, but trust me–you don’t want to have to hold your baby with your actual arms while you’re sightseeing, hiking, or heading out to the beach. If you have a baby carrier, like the Ergo or Moby wrap, bring it too. Once again, the shear number of things your kids will need/want to bring on outings (especially the beach), will make it necessary to have at least 3-4 arms per adult. One of those arms can’t be full of baby or you’ll never make it.


There are few things more pitiful than a sunburned baby. Get the highest factor, formulated for babies. I usually use Aveeno Baby sunscreen, factor 50+ at least. For the bigger kids, you can use the aerosol sunscreen for their bodies, but use the cream for faces. Also, if you’re heading to the beach, put the sunscreen on before you leave. Using sunscreen at the beach is difficult, especially the aerosol! Make sure to reapply every two hours or sooner if they’ve been swimming a while.


This one is another easy one to forget. Make sure to bring any maintenance medication anyone in your family is on as well as over-the-counter medications for headaches (of which you’ll have many), pains, and fever. I like to pack the thermometer too, in case anyone gets sick on vacation. It can happen!

Hopefully, this information will be helpful to you as you plan your next vacation. It definitely isn’t easy to travel with littles, but the memories you’ll make will be priceless!

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