We’ve successfully completely our first family vacation! I anticipated that traveling with a 7 month old would be a little clunky but to my surprise it was a breeze. Sure, I swapped my purse for a diaper bag and literally kept her strapped into the baby carrier for the whole trip but that was the long and short of it.
When thinking of the ideal place for our vacation, naturally we wanted sun, sand and palm trees but the places that neither of us have been and within a 5 hour non-stop flight are not that many. The hubby had been talking about California for some time now so we settled on San Diego. It’s the perfect blend of family fun, adult dining and sun sun and more sun!
Here are our reviews on vendors, hotels, tips for future travels.
Hotels- When deciding on a hotel there are a few things that we consider. Space, location, accommodations and centrality are amongst the more important. We originally booked the Loews at Coronado Island. They seemed to have the best rate for suites, and are situated on the beautiful island of Coronado. Unfortunately our reservation was cancelled due to a conference that was in town. They did give us enough time to make other arrangements but I was totally bummed that I would have to start the hunt again. We ended up staying at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla. From the check in to checkout our stay was great. They folks at the front desk took time out to inquire about our stay, our plans and how they could help. We mentioned our anniversary, which happened to fall within our stay there, and they sent up a nice bottle of champagne and some bites as an anniversary present. Small gestures go a very long way in my book. The hotel featured daily breakfast, heated swimming pools, and is located in cul-de-sac that included 4 star restaurant options. The only bad (and not really that bad) thing was the location, compared to the hotels downtown it was a little out of the way. It was about 20 minutes from the airport and 15 from downtown San Diego. Not horrible, but when traveling with an infant, diaper bag and stroller, it would have been nice to have some things in walking distance. Cabs run about $20-45 dollars so it can certainly add up. Speaking of cabs…
Vendors- We lucked out! We scheduled a car to pick us up from the airport. We typically do this so that we don’t have to worry about directions, etc. once we first land in a new place. We just want to get in, get our room and EAT! I found Miles Lane Transportation online. Miles was awesome! He was in touch with me as I booked the car, upon take off from New York and touch down in San Diego. The SUV was clean, water was available and Miles was extremely knowledgeable. My husband is a sports nut and a knower of completely random facts, so their conversation as quite amusing. Miles made such an impact that we booked his services for the duration of our stay in San Diego. His prices are reasonable, he is on time and offers suggestions that we appreciated.
Things to do- We toured all of San Diego via the Old Town Trolley. I would highly recommend it. Tickets are available online or via the kiosks. Once you board, you can hop on and off at any stop. I would recommend booking a hotel that is close to a trolley stop (like the Marriott Downtown). That way you can walk to the stop, hop on and begin your day. Because we were so far, it required some planning, but we made it happen. We toured Old Town, Down Town, Coronado Island, Gaslamp, the Pier and Little Italy. We also hopped off at Balboa Park where we went to the San Diego Zoo. All in all, there are tons to do in any amount of time. It was a great way to kick off what will be a long standing family tradition.
Tips- While I can’t offer anything that you can’t find on another site. I think that the only area where I could have used some helpful insights was the area of packing. I over-packed… and not on clothes but on food. I have a husband who loves to snack and a 7 month old who is eating purees. That alone made me very nervous. When I get nervous I make lists. So I had lists and lists of items that I NEEDED to bring and those that I would LIKE to bring. Turns out that my likes and needs are pretty much one in the same. So my take-aways are as follows:
Ditch the stroller for the baby carrier! Originally I wanted to bring her full stroller. Yes, I purchased a separate suitcase for her Bugaboo Cameleon but once it arrived, my husband and I realize that there was no way that we would lug that thing with us on a five day vacation. So I bought a smaller umbrella stroller. I still didn’t use it. Morgan loved the carrier and I loved the convenience. I would strongly recommend purchasing a carrier that can convert to an out-facing position. Morgan is an active 7 month old, so facing mommy’s chest just doesn’t quite cut it anymore.
Ella’s Kitchen Purees are the bomb! I wouldn’t allow myself to freeze and pack my homemade jars so I opted for store bought this one time. Ella’s kitchen is as close to homemade as I found. The outside said “peas, pears and broccoli” and the ingredient list said peas, pears and broccoli! Just the way mama likes it.
DO NOT BRING THE ENTIRE JAR OF FORMULA!
DO NOT BRING THE ENTIRE PACKAGE OF DIAPERS!
I packed snacks for the hubby, so it was nice to have little bites in our suite in between meals but keep those to a minimum. I may or may not have packed cookies, cakes, muffins and popcorn. LOL! Yes popcorn! All of which could have been purchased at the hotel.
All in all, it was a good trip. I will be much more prepared for our next vacation.
Afterwards, I began thinking of a way to better prepare for the next trip. I figured that I could gain some insight from moms, dads and caretakers who like me, like convenience but not at the price of their babies comfort.
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