Friday, September 30, 2011

Vacationing with a five week old

Yes, it's possible and actually quite enjoyable.
Some my call me crazy, but I’d say I was up for the challenge. 
The "challenge" being a family road trip this past July during my brother, sister-in-law and niece's visit from the Midwest. Since it was their first time back out to Cali since our wedding a few years back, I wanted the trip to be memorable and fun. We decided to embark on a road trip to Santa Barbara to go wine tasting.
Here are a few snaps from our trip...

Needless to say, the trip was a blast and a definite success, especially when you take into account we were traveling with a newborn and seven month old. Here are a few lessons we learned about traveling with baby...
Babies require a lot of gear.
Not only did we pack multiple outfits, blankets, diapers, wet wipes, carriers, etc., etc. for all the "just in cases" (we I may have over did it a bit). We realized that in order to get our two families, plus the car seats, the baby gear, and luggage to Santa Barbara we'd need to rent a bigger vehicle. Which brings me to my next point.
Mini-vans are cool.
And it turns out quite popular to rent during the month of July in LA. It pains me to say this, but all of the adults spent at least 15 minutes talking about how "cool" our newly rented mini-van was. With its extra storage compartments, room for car seats, multiple cup holders and a good amount of luggage space, the van, was EXACTLY what we needed. I guess our parents were on to something all those years back...
Wine tasting has a time limit.
Gone are the days where we hit three to four wineries in a day. For various reasons, one being that we had two new mothers on the trip (can you say low tolerance) and two being that we had the babes with us; we realized going to one or two wineries and catching lunch in Los Olivos makes for an enjoyable outing.  
Taking babies to a nice restaurant late at night might not be the best idea.
When taking a baby to a restaurant, happy hours are your new best friend. That or ordering in for a hotel room party.  
 Hotel location is key.
Since you'll likely have a stroller with you at all times, a place where activities are within walking distance makes everything more convenient. We stayed at the Hotel Oceana which was close to the beach, downtown Santa Barbara and the urban wine trail. 
Family road trips are super fun.
While we learned a few things on our first overnight adventure as a family, the most important lesson was that getting out and about was a much needed excursion for John and I as new parents. This trip encouraged us to take a few more trips this summer and played a key role in making summer 2011 the best yet. 

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