Sunday, September 2, 2012

Traveling with a Toddler and an Infant = AWESOME


It has been awhile, but I am on vacation (again), so I have some time.

Went on our first solo vacation last year, just the four of us, and it was awesome. We had a blast. Here is the deal: We were a little poor, just coming of the maternity leave and such. We didn't have our usual budget because of that. My mom always flies to see us really cheap from Colorado on Allegiant Air, so I looked into the website. Pretty cheap tickets that fly out of LAX and Long Beach. We decided to find the cheapest place we could fly to and plan the rest of the vacation around where we could fly in to for cheap, and we ended up with an amazing, affordable trip.

Las Vegas was only 20 bucks round trip, but we recently went to Vegas, so we decided on the next cheapest place. Medford, Oregon was only $100 bucks round trip with taxes and fees. You might think: Medford, Oregon, what can you do there? Well, we were pretty excited because we had always wanted to vacation to southern Oregon.

So here are my tips and tricks to traveling with the kiddos:

1. Travel while they are free. Children fly free on a lap until their 2nd birthday, so fly it up. It is almost cheaper than driving right now.
2. Bring the laptop and a little fun bag of snacks and toys on the plane. They usually let people with children board the plane first. Take advantage of that. Try to take over a whole row if you can. That way you are not bothering too many people. Audrey was busy the whole flight with eating snacks, watching movies on the computer, coloring, and reading books.
3. Strollers and car seats can be checked for free at the tarmac. Use them while you are in the airport. You can easily strap your car seat to a rolling suitcase, or bring the double stroller like we did, which gives you lots of room to throw carry-on items while trudging through the airport. Give yourself plenty of time to get through security. They have to check all your baby gear.
4. Carry on everything if possible. Buy diapers and wipes once you get to where your going. You can buy food once you're there too.
5.  If you are paying for a seat on the plane for your toddler, use the car seat.  Audrey fell asleep with the drone of the plane very quickly.
6.  Booby feed that baby.  If your boob is in their mouth, then they are not screaming.  This makes it nicer for everyone on the plane around you, especially your baby.  It is pretty perfect.
7. Have fun!

I started this post almost a year and a half ago.  Here are some trips we did since then as a family of 4.

Oregon Trip
  • Stayed in a route 66 type hotel in a small town.
  • Stayed in a "treesort" hotel.  It was a real tree house that was over 50 feet above the ground with a flushing toilet. 
  • Stayed by the ocean in a hotel made out of giant redwoods.
  • Drove the coast and took mini hikes.
  • Went bowling.
  • Went to local parks.
  • Went to an aquarium.
  • Relaxed around the hotel (a lot of people forget to do this on vacation, make sure you get in some "veg out" time).
Florida Trip

  • Stayed on a small island right outside Everglades National Park.
  • Went on a bunch of easy hikes on boardwalks.
  • Saw 99 alligators, 10 manatees, 3 crocodiles, and countless other wildlife in their natural habitats.
  • Drove to the tip of Key West.
  • Stayed on a smaller key island, went paddle-boating, and did short little side trips.
  • Went to the beach of course!
  • Relaxed around the hotel.  
Alaska Trip
  • Stayed in a secluded cabin north of Anchorage.
  • Saw the tallest mountain in North America.
  • Small hikes.
  • Saw a moose.
  • Went on a cruise.
  • Slipped in a trip to Vancouver Island in Canada.
  • Did some canoeing, paddle-boating, swimming in a lake.
  • And of course relaxed in a cabin, a cruise cabin, and a hotel.
  • Stayed in a cheap hotel (we are talking 3 stars for 19 bucks a night)
  • Shopping at outlet malls and cool bookstores.
  • Boat rides.
  • Swimming.
  • Cheap movies.
  • Bowling.
This is just a example of fun family vacations you can do.  It sometimes seems like a lot of work, but the memories will last a lifetime.

Here are my favorite budget travel websites: (name your own price)

Happy planning!!!

Today's Mom


  1. Just so you know, the FAA, AAP, NTSB, and carseat technicians advocate *against* lap babies. The laws of physics still apply, and at 150 mph on the runway, if your landing gear doesn't work properly, or if while taxiing in poor visibility the pilot gets disoriented and turns the wrong way (according to a pilot Q&A I read yesterday, that's the hardest part of flying), you have an unrestrained child who can either be your airbag, or hit someone else, injuring both. It's just not worth the risk for $100.

    Also, if you check your carseat it's been tossed and thrown and bounced around in the hold. Will it work properly in a car now to save your child's life? Often carseats are more than $100. It should probably be replaced if you've checked it (even gate checked. I'm sure you've seen strollers coming back damaged after being gate checked, and they're not lifesaving devices).

    United stopped allowing preboarding this summer (2012). US Airways allows families to "preboard" after group 2. Delta I believe still does announce preboarding. I usually have luck simply quietly asking the gate agent if I may get on earlier so I can install my daughter's carseat, but all United gate agents held firm the past two trips this summer. Even standing near the line doesn't help (not in the way, but sometimes they would see me there with my child and carseat and simply wave me through).

    Have you seen You can put in any two airports (so say LAX and SEA), but then you can choose any airport within 300 miles, and show a month in which you'd like to leave, and it'll find you the day with the best price from your home airport (or one within 300 miles) to the destination airport (or one within 300 miles) for the length of time you'd like to be gone. It's really quite awesome. You can't purchase tickets there, but I've then gone to Orbitz or the airline website and it's spot on.

    Medford, Oregon is someplace to where we can drive. You've made it sound wonderfully appealing. Thanks! Safe travels.

  2. Thanks for your comment. Obviously you should do what you are most comfortable with for the safety of your child.

    You should definitely try the Treesort Treehouse Hotel outside of Medford. My daughter who was only two at the time still talks about going back to the treehouse. Here is the website:

    Today's Mom