Have baby, will travel--planning our first real vacation as a family!
Well, the heat is on. My husband, new son and I are planning our first major vacation together, and we're all really excited. Sure, we've traveled to see family in the past, but that was different. That was fun, but that was family.
There's a certain shell that surrounds you when you visit family. It's a nice, warm, cozy shell, one that means lots of extra hands and that kind of thing. It generally also means lots of visiting and family obligations--none of the 'let's just see where the day takes us' sort of stuff.
This time around it's going to be me, my husband, my son, possibly at least one of our dogs, a few friends and the good people of New Orleans. And it's a good thing they're so good, too--because they are in for it when we visit with Mr. Pickles.
Mr. Pickles visited Nola once before, when he was in utero. He enjoyed the music and the food, but from a totally different perspective. Now he'll be able to appreciate everything live and in color, and all before his bedtime of 8:00 PM at the latest.
The real key to making this vacation a success is finding the right place to stay. I've stayed in my share of hotels, with and without a little one, with and without a dog. Where you end up staying is of the utmost importance. This time around, in New Orleans, for the first time I will be taking into consideration that I have a baby with me.
That matters when I think about the noise levels, the hours of operation of the hotel, the proximity to large groups of people and transportation, and all the amenities. For the first time I also have a safety consideration--I don't want to be wandering around some non-populated area with a little one.
I'll also want to ensure we have enough room for the pack and play, which travels with us and serves as Mr. Pickles' bed wherever we go. Double beds and/or small rooms can make the set up difficult, and moving around the room early impossible.
Cost is also a huge factor. I need quality, but at an affordable price. With a new car payment, insurance and all the baby expenses, we need to be on the lookout for good deals. This is really the least of our worries--not because we have all this money coming out our ears, but because the other considerations are so important. Safety is number one with me, right up there with finding a hotel that is known for being good to families and appropriate for little ones.
Right now I have my sights set on two different hotels, but am also considering renting an apartment. Generally that's cheaper and it comes with a real kitchen--helpful when you've got an infant. That said, an apartment doesn't provide any sort of service or have things like 24-hour concierges. Thus, the investigation continues.
And, to be honest, I spend a lot of time researching these kinds of things anyway. Part of my vacation enjoyment is the planning aspect. This time around I just have one other consideration. And I am so excited to take him along, to show him all the things I love, and to have my first full-fledged family vacation!