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.