Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Travels with Baby

Our flight home from LA marked H's 9th airplane flight (I'm counting one take off and one landing as an individual flight). In his 8 months outside my belly, he's made two trips to Saskatchewan to stay with family, two road trips to Kamloops, and one trip to LA. And while traveling to visit family is one thing, going on a bonafide vacation is something else. If you're interested I'd love to share a few of the things that worked well for us on this last trip.

A door is key
When I started researching this trip, I did my usual thing of looking through airbnb and vrbo at all these great studio apartments. Yeahhh, that was silly. Thankfully I clued in and switched to one bedrooms, because being able to put the kiddo to sleep and do something other than sit in the bathroom watching movies on a laptop seems like one of the keys to a fun vacation. The place we rented was a little bit iffy, as the only way to get to the bathroom was through the bedroom, but luckily once H was asleep we could sneak by and not once did we end up waking him (whew).

Our backyard
Fun things for mom and dad
It follows that if your baby is going to be going to sleep early, you are going to be spending quite a few hours sitting around in the evenings. With that in mind, we decided it would be worth it to spend a bit more and find a place where you'd actually want to spend time. The place we ended up had a nice yard, a sitting area, a hot tub AND a giant (really, really giant) TV with Netflix. It was awesome. After H went down we'd watch American Netflix (hell-o Louie and Portlandia), then hop in the hot tub. And although this isn't exactly 'fun', we also decided to get a place with a washer and dryer, which was so great for traveling with a baby. You can see where we stayed here.

Whole Foods
If at all possible have a Whole Foods within two blocks. This one in particular had the craziest salad/hot food bar I've ever seen. Almost every night we got take out from here and ate it after H was in bed. 

At the corner of Lincoln and Rose. It took me embarrassingly long to realize that was a picture of Lincoln.
Bring the good stroller
Previous trips, I'd taken the base of our stroller with our car seat attachment, which makes for a lighter load in airports. But since we planned to do a lot of walking, and I wanted H to be able to nap and sit up in his stroller, we decided to bring the whole shebang this time (we were quite a sight at the airport, I tell you). This ended up being key, since naps could happen on the go and H was happy to stroll around for hours. Some days we'd leave the house around 9 am and he'd be out in the stroller until 4 pm.

I could sit in this thing all day!
How did we ever carry all our crap pre-stroller?

Low expectations
Venice Beach has tons of great restaurants. I didn't expect to get to any of them. LA is HUGE and there is a tons of cool places to go. I didn't expect to get to any of them. All I expected was that I'd spend a week with my two favourite people in a place that would hopefully be sunny. We also picked a neighborhood that would be easy to explore on foot, where there were lots of low key activities. A slower paced vacation than we might have previously planned, but it worked out well.

And just to keep it real, here are a few things that didn't work out as well as planned:

I thought H would love the beach. What's not to love right? How about glaring hot and bright sun, wind, and cold water. From the point of view of my 8 month old son the beach sucked. From the point of view of my husband, who body surfed in crazy waves while all the surfers were wearing their wet suits, the beach rocked. Too bad the crying baby meant we didn't spend that much time actually on the beach.

Trying to hide from the sun - soon after we bought an umbrella.
Our own toys
I carefully packed some of H's favourite books and toys so that we'd have lots to keep him entertained. Silly mom, who wants to play with their own toys when there are water bottles, air sickness bags and sunglasses to eat?

Checking our car seat
Three days after arriving back in Vancouver the airline finally found it. And it's arrived in less than trustworthy condition. There really is no good way to travel with your car seat, except to buy a seat for the baby and bring it on board. But that would have cost $300 and to replace the seat costs $200 so I guess we chose the cheaper option?

Oh and one last thing, and the most important key to our success - make sure to bring the cutest baby and husband on the planet with you. That's all.


Anonymous said...

Love your post. At this very moment we are in an apartment that we are renting in Portugal through airbnb. We also had friends who stayed in London with a toddler that used airbnb. Fantastic site and most places usually come tech savvy (which we love). I also loved your post because it helps non parents gain better understanding of what it means to travel with enfants.

The car seat thing sucks. Seriously, after working on a neonatal unit and being exposed to the complications for getting babies home safely after discharge I have come to appreciate the complications of carseat travel and just what it costs to own one. So many people in London don't use them because we walk to take public transport everywhere and don't want to purchase one for a cab ride home. I literally sat in a meeting once where a bunch of our staff deliberated for a very long time mind you, over the implications for lending out used carseats for people to get their babies home.

Alyssa said...

Yeah, I have some friends who don't have cars and had to buy a car seat just for the ride home because they won't let you leave the hospital without one. Crazy.

theRachel said...

You guys are my heroes - srsly.