Read these 12 Road Trips with Baby Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Baby Travel tips and hundreds of other topics.
The city trip is a good bet because you'll have access to everything you need at your destination, and you have a multitude of infant friendly places and activities to choose from. You can be the tourist and go sight seeing or live like one of the locals and immerse yourself in a neighborhood for a week. So where does one go for a city trip? We like the major cities that let Moms and Dads walk out on the town with their infants. It's a great way to explore. Here are some suggestions for our two favorite baby city spots: New York and San Francisco.
New York – New York is jam packed with restaurants and shops on nearly every corner and block – all within walking distance of your stay. Take your stroller with you and explore with your infant. Stay at the Doubletree Guest Suites, which has two-room suites that are perfect for families. Besides the fact that cribs, strollers, and childproofing is offered, you can just walk out and stroll by landmarks like Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center.
San Francisco – Older children and toddlers will enjoy visits to Golden Gate Park where they can enjoy the gardens, ponds, and ducks. A stay at The W San Francisco is worth your while, if you're traveling here. You don't have to sacrifice style at this swanky hotel that just happens to be part of a family friendly group of W Hotels. Cribs and references for babysitting services are available upon request.
Helpful Hint : To find everything and anything there is to do in a city with kids, visit www.gocitykids.com and go to the city you'll be visiting. They've got indoor activities, outdoor activities, classes, museums, and seasonal event listed by an age appropriate category. It's a great way to plan your trip or find something spontaneous to do.
If you're planning on renting a car to get around while traveling, you probably want to know how you can get the most bang for your buck. After all, you don't want to spend all your funds on airfare and hotel accommodations, only to end up paying several hundred dollars for a rental car that can actually fit everyone, the car seat, and the luggage. You can get a free rental car upgrade just by knowing what to book and when. And you don't have to ask for it.
The best way to get a free upgrade is by booking the most popular model of car during the busiest time of the week. If you can deal with the economy class, book that one, since it's the cheapest and one of the first cars to be overbooked. Rental car companies will give you often give you a free upgrade if the car class you booked or sometimes the model you requested is not available. Here's the deal:
Once you've decided that train travel is your vacation of choice with your infant, you'll need to start thinking about the logistics. With train travel, you do have trade-offs to traveling by car. You don't have the flexibility of leaving, stopping, and going as you would if you were driving your own vehicle. However, you have the freedom of spending your time observing the landscape and exploring the train with your infant. Your infant might last for six hours stuck on a train, but you wouldn't be able to do that in a car – at least not very well. With that in mind, here are some railway travel basics you'll need to consider when you're going with baby.
The train trip isn't what immediately comes to mind when families think about planning a trip for baby. Still, trains are a great alternative to traveling by car if you just want to travel by road with baby. You won't have to worry about driving, you can have meals on the train, the view is scenic for you and baby, and some trains have on board entertainment.
If you're considering traveling by railway in the U.S. with your infant, you'll most likely be traveling via Amtrak. Amtrak has a network of trains that travel throughout the country. You can plan a vacation package with them which includes a combination of hotel accommodations, car rental, sightseeing, and car rental.
You have a wide variety of Amtrak train trip itineraries to select from. Take a short train ride that lasts two and a half hours from Los Angeles to San Diego. Or take a day and a half to ride up the California coast from Los Angeles to Seattle. You can also venture on a two-day trip across the Rocky Mountains from Emeryville in the West Coast to Chicago by the Great Lakes. In the Northeast, take a train trip from New York to Niagara Falls on a full day's ride. Want more ideas? Amtrak posts their train schedules and travel times on their Website at www.amtrak.com.
Car trips are one way to get to your destination, but if you have an infant who truly does well on a drive, consider taking a tent trailer on a road trip. You get the benefit of towing conveniences like a sink, toilet, and shower while you trek to your destination. A tent trailer is a great alternative for parents who want to hit the outdoors, but don't want to rough it in a tent – especially with a baby.
For those who aren't familiar, a tent trailer, also known as a camping trailer, is a cross between a tent and a recreational vehicle. Most mid-sized vehicles can tow a tent trailer. However, this depends on the model of car and the size of the tent trailer. They may be as simple as a 12-foot long cabin which provides a place to eat, sleep, cook, and store your food. Or they may be 22-foot long cabins that provide multiple sleeping areas, a sink, kitchen, restroom, and a place to shower.
Helpful Hint: You can find some entry tent trailer models with all the basics that start at $4,500. But if you don't want to spend that much, you can probably find a used one for under $1,000. If you're going on a one-week trip and you want to rent a tent trailer, you have that option, too. You might spend anywhere from a $350 to $600 for a week's rental.
If you have an infant who travels exceptionally well in the car, be thankful for your blessings. For parents who dread the thought of hitting the road with your infant, here is a list of things you can do to stay sane on the drive.
If you're a single parent or just heading out on a trip with baby on your own, rest assured that getting to your destination is not only doable, it can be a great, liberating experience. In case you're planning out your journey with some trepidation, we've put together some helpful hints ease your worries.
Once there is a new addition in your fold, it's likely friends and family will want to make plans to spend time with you and the baby. If Grandma and Grandpa are 300 miles away, or if your best friend lives in another time zone, it's possible you'll be called out for a visit. If that's the case, we've got some ideas that will make your journey and stay to go as smooth as possible.
Once in a while, you're going to be traveling and you'll get stuck in a situation where you're with baby and you need to get accommodations at the last minute. There's no need to panic. Instead, some carefully placed contacts and access to the Internet should save the family from an overnight stay in the rental car.
Have a list of hotels in the local area you'd like to stay at. Rather than calling the toll free number, you should dial the hotel directly to inquire about accommodations. Why? Because management at the hotel could make a decision that could snag you a last minute room, but the customer service agent at the toll free number can't. If you make a few calls to various places and you're still out of luck, see if you can get online and book through a travel site. Places like Travelocity.com and Expedia.com get a share of the reservations available at a hotel, so you might just find an opening there.
The zoo can be a wonderful educational experience for young children
and adults alike. But there is an alternative to taking your little ones
to the zoo. For young toddlers and infants, a trip out to a
butterfly habitat is an even better idea. You'll enter a world
surrounded by vibrant colors and lots of motion – two things babies and
toddlers love. Don't know where to go? Here are a few ideas for a
stopover on your next trip.
Butterfly Pavilion (www.butterflies.org)– Located in Westminster,
Colorado, the Butterfly Pavilion is actually an insect zoo. Not only do
they have 1,200 butterflies from around the globe, the 30,000 square
foot facility houses tarantulas and scorpions as well as sea urchins, turtles,
Mackinac Island Butterfly House (www.originalbutterflyhouse.com)– This
Mackinac Island, Michigan butterfly facility has 1,800 square feet of
space to house 40 species of butterflies amid a tropical garden. In
addition, there is an exotic insect display featuring larger than life
insects like the Rhino Beetle and 14” Walking Stick.
Butterfly Conservatory (www.niagaraparks.com)- Located a few minutes
from the famous Niagara Falls, there are over 2,000 butterflies in a
rainforest setting. Visitors walk along a 600-foot pathway to view over
50 species of butterflies in a warm, climate controlled environment.
If you're in the city and trying to come up with some ideas on where to take your infant for a few hours, there are an abundance of places that are tailor made just for you and baby. Going out to the park or out for a stroll are just a few ideas, but these places do welcome babies, too:
The Library - Many parents might imagine hushed silences and stern librarians when they think of libraries. However, many libraries do, in fact, welcome babies and even have children's sections stocked with plush animals for younger tots and babies as well. The best time to go is during a storytelling session geared just for babies and toddlers. Check with the local library in the area to find out just when they occur.
The Movie Theater – It's true. Movie theaters are baby appropriate zones. At least during designated days and times during the week. Theaters like Loews and Mann in some cities have opened up their facilities to accommodate parents with infants who want to watch a current film on the big screen. Though you'll have to contend with the sound of crying babies, no one will care if your own baby makes any noise.
The Yoga Studio - It's not quite the same as having a meditative moment on your own, but it can be a fun and relaxing way to bond with your child. A number of yoga studios have programs incorporating classes for moms and babies. For the Pilate's fan, try a class created for you and baby.
Some parents simply cannot wait to take their children to a theme park. If your child is not uttering words more than “Gah” or “Coo”, we suspect the theme park experience is more for you than for baby. At any rate, though your visit won't be quite the way it was before baby, here are a few suggestions on taking your little one to a theme park.