Toddler safe vacations..are there any?

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It’s that time of the year again for my family….where we dream about ‘family vacation’ till one of us breaks down and says LETS DO IT! I would like to say we dream about “couples only” vacation time, but I can’t imagine leaving Phoenyx alone for 5-7 days with the sitter. We have to do more like “couples retreat weekends” than weeks.

It doesn’t stop my spouse from constantly teasing me on Facebook though.

Now this isn’t my first rodeo on the vacation scene with a baby. Last year we went on a cruise with P and he was 6 months old. I won’t say it was miserable, it wasn’t. It really was a lot of fun. I put him in my chest pack and we just went all around the boat.

Till 6pm.

When he went to bed.

For the night.

And then we all sat in a dark cruise boat room alone from 6pm till morning time. No TV (cause that would wake the baby up and we had a suite, the downside of a cruise boat proximity) and we all just took turns on who got to sit in the bathroom and eat a plate of food or take a bath. Unfortunately the majority of cruise boats have very little child care options for his age….at least the one we were on and others I have checked since. He didn’t even qualify to be able to go into the pool on the boat! You had to be fully potty trained.

This year I want something that won’t require we spend 15 hours a day staring at the ceiling in our room and there are very few options that can fill that. We can take a road trip down to Disney and do the 8-9 hour car ride from Mobile to Orlando and fight the crowds to ride rides. I know P will love the rides, but I am not so sure he will love the WAITING without being a pain.  Or we can take a plane ride out of the country to a resort.

The upside of a plane ride is that its quick and once we are at a resort we can stay there. We can get two separate rooms so when P goes to bed we ALL don’t have to go to bed and there are plenty of pools, beaches, and food options. This sounds like the best idea but I am afraid that the plane experience may be a little soon for him as well. There will be no where to change diapers easily (We are talking a 30 pound 3 foot tall monster beast) and he isn’t really at an age that he has the capacity to watch a DVD and be quiet. He rarely looks twice at the TV.

Of course we also have to think about a budget. Its not completely unlimited and when you fly, you need 4 plane tickets, which can significantly raise the cost of your vacation. Id like to spend no more than $3500 for my family of 4.

Soooo, my question is this:

Have you been anywhere or have any vacation destination thoughts that are toddler and family friendly?



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  1. says

    Another idea would be to rent a condo instead of staying at a hotel. Granted you may have to bring a pack n play as a crib and maybe some toddler proofing stuff. But this way you have a kitchen, living room and your own room to get away from the kids if they’re sleeping in the living room. It may be cheaper than a regular hotel, too. We did this with our older kids when we went to Charleston and it was so nice that the kids had their own beds and that we could heat up the leftovers from these huge dinner we were having out the next morning for breakfast.

  2. says

    When we did Disney with very little ones, we didn’t abide by normal bedtimes. We just kept going. We did stop to take a nap in the hotel and use the pool. But then back out we go! We lived doing Disney during the day, go back to the hotel for a quick nap late afternoon, go for a swim, then do the Disney boardwalk for dinner, shopping and sight seeing. The kids were always great. Keegan did his first Disney vacay at 1. With Loch and Keeg we’ve done it a few times and that was always our kid schedule … Until our last visit. Then they could hang even longer at the park at 4 and 6.

    And I hate long car drives with toddlers. I finally ventured on our longest drive this past winter – 8 hours to GA. Flying is relatively easy. I’d get him a seat though, more comfy for all involved.

  3. says

    We did a cruise when my daughter was 8 months old and I’ll just say it – it SUCKED. It didn’t help that the kids were sick, but it was a tough “vacation.” I did *another* cruise a few months later (when she was 15 months) – a Disney cruise – and it was AMAZING! Seriously. So. Much. Better.

  4. says

    I probably shouldn’t tell you this story….but when our daughter was a toddler, she actually got out of her airplane seat and crawled under the seats in front of us to escape. I was sitting right next to her, but I was turned around talking to my husband and son, who were seated behind us. After we secured her, she carried on for a good hour or so. When she finally pooped out and went to sleep, the crew gave the passengers a free cocktail. I was so embarrassed and I chugged a cocktail, too! I will tell you that now that our kids are 15 and 11, I LOVE going on vacations with them as they are both great travelers and I’m actually feeling sad that our trips with our first-born are now winding down since he will go to college soon. So hang in there! I don’t know if you have Legoland in your neck of the woods, but the one in San Diego that we used to go to is terrific for your kids’ ages.

  5. says

    Pretty much any vacation I took with toddlers was 1/2 miserable and 1/2 fun. They’re just at an age where it’s hard no matter where you go or what you do.

  6. says

    It’s not comfortable, but P is still at an age where you can lap sit him on the airplane. On Southwest they let me have an extra seat every time I flew as long as there was one. I’d bring my carseat to the plane with me and if they didn’t have a seat it went under the plane, otherwise, the baby got their own seat and most of the time would fall asleep in the carseat as they would a car. I’ve traveled with my kids since they were just born. I flew with David to Florida when he was 1 month old. Travel doesn’t scare me with the kids. It’s the single bedroom nightmare that bothers me! The resort sounds nice.

  7. says

    Yes — an all-inclusive resort in the Cancun area. They partner with Gerber and Fisher-Price, so you don’t have to bring a THING for kids. Strollers, high chairs, toys, EVERYTHING is provided. They also have kid clubs for older kids (Charlotte’s age) that they can nearly spend all day in (they have arts/crafts/games/cooking lessons/ spanish lessons/etc).

    AND …. they have babysitters on hand for evenings for parents who want to dine alone.

    It’s awesome.

  8. says

    I hear ya on the plane ticket thing – that’s the biggest reason we don’t see my husband’s family more than once every other year. A resort sounds fun, but I don’t know what the flight time would be like from your house to your destination. If it’s reasonable, you could do diaper changes before flight and pray he doesn’t poop while you are in the sky.

    You could fly to San Antonio – we have LOTS of fun stuff! The Riverwalk, Sea World, Fiesta Texas, The Children’s Museum, etc.

  9. Shannon says

    He couldn’t go in the pool at all? That is crazy! That being said, I love beach vacations like Destin, FL.