Ask the Internet: Travel Edition

by Ginger on May 8, 2010

in Random

So, my last ask the internet was a hit, so I thought I’d break it out again!

This time, my questions revolve around travel. We finally booked our vacation (woohoo!), and now I’m trying to think of the specifics of traveling–and with an infant. Eek.

So, questions!

1. Anyone have suggestions for stuff to do in San Francisco?

I’ve been but not in years, and N.C.’s only been once, so we really want to get the full experience. We’ve both done the big tourist things (Alcatraz, Ghiridelli Square and the like), but we’re not opposed to redoing some of them. We also want to make sure enjoy the parts of San Francisco that aren’t just the tourist traps. So, suggestions for places to go from anyone who’s been there as a grown up?

2. Especially food recommendations?

We spend a huge amount of time on vacation eating. Seriously, would probably rather eat our way through a city than almost anything else. Tips on stuff not to miss? We can’t really do any high-dining experiences (we’ll have the baby), but there’s got to be plenty of places we can bring the kid for lunch or an early dinner and still get our fill of good food. Tips?

3. Would you suggest an umbrella stroller or a regular one?

Jackson can sit up pretty well on his own, but I’m not sure he could make long days in a flimsy umbrella stroller. But at the same time, I’m not sure we want to risk taking a full big stroller in case it gets damaged/lost by the airline. We’re in need of a new stroller right now anyway, but I just don’t know whether to buy one with this trip in mind, or what.

4. Baby carrier recommendations?

I’m also thinking we should take a baby carrier. We currently have a Baby Bjorn, which Jackson loves because he can look OUT, but it’s killer on the back. Ideally we’d find something where he could be on the back, or on the front (looking out) and has some back support–does such a thing exist?

5. Hotel crib or bring our pack ‘n’ play?

Jackson’s a pretty good sleeper as long as he’s in a confined bed, so I think he would sleep in the hotel crib, but I just don’t have ANY experience with those and have no idea what they’re like. Thoughts? I’m not totally keen on bringing yet another piece of baby equipment if we don’t have to, but we’ll be there for 6 nights so we really need to make sure we think about how the baby will sleep.

6. General tips for traveling with an almost 9 month old?

I know to make sure and overpack for the baby, just in case. We’re also well aware that we will have to take it a little easier than we might normally on a vacation to keep the baby on some semblance of a schedule. But any other specific tips?

abdpbt May 8, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Let’s see:

1) you need your own room or a suite. You need to be able to close the door, or a bathroom that is big enough to put the crib into it to close the door. This is an absolute must. You will not be able to sleep otherwise.

2) baby monitor. video if you have it. trust me, you think you won’t need it, but you will.

3) hotel cribs are usually fine. many times they ARE pack ‘n’ plays. Just make sure they have one. Call ahead and make sure. Call again to make sure. Call again when your plane lands, and then when you get out of the taxi.

4) Confirm the refrigerator situation for milk.

5) I like to bring a crib sheet from home to it smells like home, just to ease them falling asleep in a new place.

6) make sure you have a bottle or a pacifier if you’re on the plane for takeoff and landing, his ears might hurt a little bit and it helps if he can suck on something during that time

Perpetua May 8, 2010 at 3:12 pm

I have little experience with traveling and zero experience with San Francisco, but I’ll give this a go anyhow…skipping to #3:

I honestly think you’re better off with an umbrella stroller, but that’s because I can’t stand maneuvering the big one. In unfamiliar places, it might be even tougher. I know E is older than J, but he’s a little over 30 inches tall and about 21 lbs., and he handles the umbrella well.

I’m still a Bjorn devotee, but I have the back of a 300 lb. rugby player, so that certainly helps. I’ve heard only good things about the Ergo but have no firsthand experience.

If you know J can sleep in the pack n’ play, I’d take it along. He might need a familiar sleep environment, and it’s not worth the risk if he totally objects to the hotel crib.

The only travel we’ve done with E is to my parents’, BUT it’s a 5-hour car trip, so I count that as travel. My best tip is to pack heavy when it comes to comfort objects. Everything else you can buy there, but you never know which toy/blankie/bink will help calm him down. We take a bag of E’s favorite stuff with us to my parents’ and set up a home-like environment, and it really helps.

Alexis May 9, 2010 at 5:56 am

I also don’t know much about SanFran, but I have traveled a ton with my girls so maybe I can help a bit.

As for the stroller, bringing the “big” one through the airport is not biggie, people do it all the time and you may be glad of the towing space as you travel and sight see. If you are looking for a new one anyway, I love my Graco IPO stroller. It is a bit more than an umbrella, but not as big as the travel system or jogger.

Baby carrier: you need an ERGO. They are pricey, but mine was so worth it. Kids can’t face out, but they can ride on the back or hip as well as cuddled face in. I still use mine with my 35Lb 3 year old and it is so comfortable!

Use the hotel crib, it will be fine, but make it clear that they will have one in and/or will be responsible for finding you one if they “sell out.” We only had that problem once, but it was a total bitch.

Toys, comfort items…yeah, go to town. Pack a million pacifiers and a good group of favorite toys. If Jackson like books then board books are great since you can read them, eat them, build houses etc.

Hope this helps a bit. This trip sounds like it is going to be so fun!

Bluebelle May 9, 2010 at 10:30 am

When my sisters were babies and we went travelling, if there was no cot or crib in the hotel, my parents would pull out a drawer, pad it with towels, blankets and pillows and they would sleep in there. I’m sure where ever you stay will have somewhere for Jackson to sleep but just in case!

Kate May 9, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Nay to the hotel crib – go with the pack and play (and, something that he is used to). No need for a separate room – as long as you can put a dark blanket over the top of the crib while you are still up and then take it off after you turn off the lights.

San Francisco – you’re gonna love it! Check out the golden gate bridge and consider parking in Sausalito and walking the bridge (or at least part of it). And, don’t miss Fisherman’s Wharf (you’ll also finds tons of to die for food). Alcatraz is worth the boat trip and the money. It really is awesome and such an important part of history.

That’s all for now – Enjoy! And, don’t forget the camera (we always seem to!)

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