Monday, May 25, 2009

Another Good Trip

I posted some travel lessons after our first real vacation with Pumpkin, taken when she was almost 16 months old. I didn't post any tips after our trip to Kaua'i when Pumpkin was almost 21 months old, but I think the main lesson learned on that trip was that if you start out the trip with a tummy bug, it is probably not going to be the idyllic family get-together you envisioned. However, despite the tummy bug, that vacation went pretty well. We have just returned from a very good trip to Oregon with Pumpkin, who is now almost 26 month old. I think I may now declare that Pumpkin is a good little traveler. She takes after her Daddy on that one- I love to travel, but I actually tend towards a certain amount of grumpiness about the actual travel process. Pumpkin, on the other hand, loves going on airplanes and also did pretty well on the car trip portions of our vacation.

I'll come back and write a trip story about Oregon later this week. I definitely need to do that, since I forgot my travel journal, and so do not have any notes from the trip. I like to write things down so that I don't forget the little things that really make the vacation.

Tonight, though, I'll just update my travel lessons from that earlier post. First, the things we got right:

1. We planned the driving portions of the trip to roughly coincide with Pumpkin's naptime. This means that we only drove about 2 hours per day. Pumpkin usually only napped for about an hour of that. At first, this made me very nervous, since she usually takes a good 2 hour nap. She did fine with the shorter naps, though, and also did fine with looking out the window telling us what she saw when she was awake. ("Oh! I see trees!" or "I see train!")

2. We came home yesterday, which gave us today (Memorial Day) to catch up on our errands and to let me catch up on my rest. We would have loved to have one more day in Portland, but I think the recovery day at home was more important.

3. We bought some of Pumpkin's favorite snacks once we got to Oregon. Many a delayed meal was saved by Goldfish ("I wan' fishies").

4. Brewpubs are great places for family meals. They are noisy enough that no one will notice your toddler's natural enthusiasm, they always have kids menus, and they usually have good beer to help keep the parents mellow (or in our case, keep the Daddy happy, since Mommy is pregnant).

Some things we didn't get so right:

1. I wrote in the original travel lessons post that we should have looked up the location of playgrounds before the trip. Well, I did that this time, but discovered that just looking them up isn't enough. We should have printed maps to the playgrounds, or at least we should have written down locations. My memory is not what it used to be, Hubby's has never been good, and hotel personnel are surprisingly bad at giving directions to playgrounds. I actually have some ideas kicking around in my head about how to make it easier for traveling families to find playgrounds. Maybe I'll have time to do something with those ideas someday!

2. It is worth the extra money and effort to find a two room suite everywhere you stay, unless you want to go to bed when your toddler does. We had suites at a couple of our stops, and those were definitely the better nights for us.

3. Even our "leak-proof" sippy cup leaked milk on the plane ride up. On the way back, we just asked for milk from the flight attendant. That worked much better.

4. Frequent brewpub trips (see item #4 on the things we got right list) are really frustrating if you are a pregnant beer lover. Even if you are a pregnant beer lover who can't stand the thought of alcohol- with both this pregnancy and my first one, I completely lost the desire to actually drink once I got pregnant. However, I learned on this trip that I can still miss the idea of a nice, relaxing beer.


  1. Anonymous3:12 PM

    I hear you on the hotel suites! We figured this one out - the hard way - on a trip to Europe in which we all stayed in one room. disaster! Turns out DS can't sleep if mommy and daddy are in the room (he won't co sleep either, so it sucked). Suites and pack -n plays, a real sanity saver, if pricey. Now every time we plan to stay at somebody's house, I ask my husband "do they know DS needs his OWN room?"

  2. We're headed to Portland for a few days this summer with our DD, who is just a few months older than your Pumpkin (and until about two months ago, also a poor sleeper). If you had a good hotel experience there, I'd love your recommendations.

  3. @lwh- if you can afford the extra cost for the suite, the Embassy Suites downtown is a great place to stay. We decided to splurge since the upcoming arrival of baby $2 means that we're unlikely to take another vacation for awhile. They are genuine two room suites, and the location is great. There is an extensive breakfast buffet included in the rate, too. The only problem was the fountain in the breakfast room, which was a powerful distraction for Pumpkin....

    The hotel is close to a playground (North Blocks Park) and walking distance to the Pearl and NW districts. Hubby particularly enjoyed Deschuttes brewpub, which is within an easy walk. You're also within an easy walk of Powell's bookstore, which was one of my priorities for the trip.

    I'll write up my trip story later this week with more about what we did in Portland and also the other places we went in Oregon.

  4. Last trip we took, I remembered what you wrote and was thinking that we should at the very least figure out which McDonald's have play areas on the way to my in laws. But of course I totally forgot. I'll have to remember for next time...

    When I took my girl down to Florida with my parents last November, my parents had gotten an amazing apartment-like room with their points. I still stayed in the room with the Pumpkin, but the ability to stay up and hang in the living room after putting her to bed was just priceless. I'm so with you on getting a suite, even just a two room suite that has a couch-TV area and a door to the bedroom!

    I love your travel tips! Thanks for sharing more of them!

    p.s. I'm totally craving beer with this pregnancy. Soooo frustrating!


Sorry for the CAPTCHA, folks. The spammers were stealing too much of my time.