Backpack to Buggy

Travel with the kids, not for the kids.

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Family Visits at Christmas: Planning Travel with a Toddler

December 10th, 2008 · No Comments · Experience, Tips & Tricks

How do you make accommodations for traveling with a toddler when you have a one week schedule and hope to visit 10 families in 7 days, over 5-6 states, covering close to 500 miles, in winter, while spending as little money as possible?

Crazy huh?  When I saw that our frequent flyer miles were being devalued again, I bit the bullet and booked flights for Christmas visits to East Coast family.  In August, all I was able to find were first class seats on non-stop flights, so aside from indignation from some frequent travelers who do not think children should be on planes, especially in first class, and weather, (and abused airline staff, and busy airports), the flights should be the easy part.

The rest of the trip is daunting and most of the “tips for traveling with kids/toddlers during the holidays” leave out details like – how to plan an indoor playgroup in a city you are visiting?  Or, where can you have a toddler-friendly Christmas dinner substitute on Christmas Eve afternoon?  Or, how do you tell you husband and in-laws, sorry, we have to get a move on so we can spend time with my family as well who live 200 miles south where I hope it is much warmer? What about the three hour time change and naps?  Or, how do you survive when you throw all the rules out the window with a schedule that is tough on adults?

Working naptime in while traveling

Working naptime in while traveling

Well reader, I am bringing you along for my ride – at least the planning part.  And I will let you know how it all works out.  (Probably from the road if I need a break.)

Coming soon:

Family Visits at Christmas: planning travel with a toddler – Hotels
Family Visits at Christmas: planning travel with a toddler – Parking with Perks
Family visits at Christmas: UPDATE – Illness, Playtime, Restaurants & Snacks and Packing

Here is an overview of our itinerary.

Day 0 – Isn’t the day before you leave crazy?  (drop dog at kennel, eye appt, pack, shut down house, etc)
Day 1 – San Francisco – Newark, NJ flight at 8am. First night with family in Northern NJ.
Day 2 – Borrow car and drive south with a visit in Princeton, dinner with Godparents outside of Philadelphia and second night with Aunt about 20 minutes from dinner location.
Day 3 – Visit with Aunt then continue drive south to Annapolis where we will spend nights 3 & 4.  Family event somewhere in MD (Eastern Shore or Northern DC suburbs).
Day 4 – Visit friends & their families in Washington, DC.  Need to find a place where 1-6 year olds can play relatively safely while parents stay warm.  Bonus if we can drink too.
Day 5 – Christmas Eve with my family.  “Dinner” in the afternoon at Annapolis restaurant then church in late afternoon.  Drive back to NJ after church.  Being strongly encouraged to stop by Christmas Eve event vs. going straight to our hotel for final 3 nights of our trip.
Day 6 – Christmas Day with husband’s family.
Day 7 – Nothing planned, but please help me convince everyone to head into Manhattan to enjoy the Holiday atmosphere.  Mirielle will love it.
Day 8 – Return home on a more reasonable 11am flight.
Day 9 – Do nothing except pick up dog from kennel.  (and grocery shop, and laundry, and entertain daughter, etc….)

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