Planning a trip with your toddler is a little different than planning a trip with a one year old. You can have a great trip, but your toddler is going to need your help. So here are our tips for planning a trip.
1. Find the best place to go.
Decide where you want to go, and check references to see if the place has the kind of experience you are looking for. If the place is not conducive to a nap, put it down on your list for fun things to do, like reading a book or going to the water. Some places even have an activity room that they rent for a short time, and it might be fun to push the stroller down there to play and go look at things. Remember, your child can't tell you to leave. The best place is the place your child likes: the beach, the park, the playground, or the playground of your child's choice. Call around to see if your child can take them there in their stroller. (They might be a bit squirty on seat covers or in the sun, so keep an eye on them.)
2. Make a list of what you need for your trip.
I like lists. You can print out a blank copy of the latest flyer for free at BudgetPoons.com, and you can input things like shopping lists to help get you through the grocery store. I even print out grocery store coupons (just search for coupons, print them out, and put them in your lemonade or snack bottle).
3. Be prepared for unexpected things that may need to be carried.
You are going to be bored, and your child is going to grow at his own schedule so sometimes you are going to have to take a break. You are going to have to make a list of things that need carrying out of the house, like diapers and wipes, and things that you will need for the car that might be long (i.e. the pacifier). Make sure that everyone in the family has a little bag of those things in the car. Carry small things these small items (something with print on it so that you can also see it as you carry them) along and add them to your regular diaper bag. If you have a small pouch in the car that you carry things in stuff like diapers, food, and stuff for your baby you also want to keep one for yourself.
4. Remember to take your camera and video recorder.
You are going to be with your family for a total of six days. You will have to take many pictures. Also take some video clips of the fun things that you do with your family. Also make sure you try and get some pictures of things that are new. Take pictures and video of the places you stopped at (where you ate), places you stopped at on your way where you saw things that you would normally see later on (the animals at Whole Foods, the people on the beach), and places where you went to with your family (like a farmers market or a park.) Cut out these pictures and video clippings and put them in a picture box. Then you will always have a memory of your trip that you can look at and smile when you remember things you went to.
5. Schedule lots of rest.
So many toddlers get sick because they are so tired. If you are going to be traveling, especially with travel gear, make sure you have snacks and drinks to keep your child hydrated. Plan an "early vacation" schedule when you can rest. Also, don't be afraid to ask other moms on where they are going, restaurants, places they might have been, and which places they would recommend.
No matter how long you have traveled with your toddler, it can be kind of a ordeal. Plan your trip, have your family help you, and if need be, hire a tour guide. The new, exciting, and possibly dirty things you will worry about will come later.
Enjoy your trip!