Gatlingburg | Traveling with a toddler

Raphael is 1,5 years now and we haven’t traveled as much as in the first year – which isn’t a bad thing. Ever since we started to get him on a sleep schedule and him sleeping through the night it makes me nervous just to think about breaking the routine – I know it’s insane but I also know that if you have established a solid routine as a mother you will be more likely to travel less.

Traveling to Tennessee which is a 1,5 hour flight doesn’t sound too bad tho, also there will be no time change – ha! So I wasn’t too stressed about his sleep schedule (Mark thinks something else tho – haha).
What will always be a big change when traveling with kids is definitely the amount of things you need to pack. We already numbered it down to the most important but still necessary things – still a ton to pack tho!

The flight wasn’t bad! Raphael was (as always) super interested in what was going on. He just couldn’t sit still (which he never can by the way) which then again makes it really exhausting for us, keeping him entertained without having the opportunity to let him walk around. He wouldn’t even sit still for a movie on the phone. By the end of the flight he was super tired but just wouldn’t fall asleep so he started to fuss a little. Luckily it was a short flight, and he could fell asleep right after – in the car.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn and had a beautiful apartment with kitchen and living room, 2 bedrooms and bathrooms and a huge whirlpool in the master bedroom which I used once. The space was awesome for Raphael to run around, open all cabinets and climb on all furnitures – after we made it toddler safe (the best we could).

ACTIVITIES:
We did a few short hikes with the whole family but since my parents weren’t to much into hiking and I am pregnant and didn’t want to overdue we decided to take it slow. They had an amazing kids waterpark at the resort which was gigantic and since Raphael LOVES water we spend a few afternoons there with him – he had a blast!!

We also did a day trip to the Aquarium and visited a small outdoor tree park. We dined out 3 times and Mark went on a 9 hours hike by himself while we spent a relaxed day at the resort – win-win!

SLEEP
I was surprised about how Raphael adapt to the new place immediately! Even though he didn’t nap a lot on the first day I put him down and he went to sleep after a few minutes without any crying…
(Of course I brought all his stuff: white noise, good night lullaby, good night book, pacifier, his pillow and blanket.)

The first 2 days he only had a 45 min – 60 min nap, even though he went to bed easily he cried a few times during the night. And he woke up around 6:30 AM. Since we shared a room with him he didn’t sleep as good as usually and neither did we. On the 3rd day I decided to let him nap in the crib, and he slept for 3h. For the following nights we decided to sleep in the living room since we couldn’t sleep and he couldn’t sleep well – ever since he slept through the night from 8:30 PM – 9 AM and napped for 2,5h-3h.

Bottom line:
Looking back it was (again) an amazing experience, traveling as a family and collecting those precious and unique moments. However be prepared to adapt – longer stretches between nap and bed time, shorter naps or sometimes no naps at all (which I really try to avoid, because I’m convinced that bed time is a mess when skipping naps all together – so my recommendation is at least 30-40 min – that’s what Raphael needs – to still go to bed easily and not being overtired!), wake-up at nights and maybe even breaking “rules” or “bad habits” that you try to avoid at home such as sharing the bed with him (which we never do because he just doesn’t like it, but every baby is different!)
Just keep in mind that it’s only temporary – that’s what I have to remind myself all the time.

Unfortunately we had to cancel our Germany trip because of some health issues related to my second pregnancy – nothing severe! So sad not to be able to see my family and friends but thankful that I’ve listened to my body. Growing a baby while taking care of a toddler is no joke! Haha!

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