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  1. Default Road Trippin' with Baby

    Hello Guys,

    You probably do not remember this, but you guys have been a huge help to our previous trip in 2013 along the West-Coast (http://www.roadtripamerica.com/forum...rip&highlight=).

    We are thinking to make a new trip in the US, probably in the month July. We would have about 3 weeks time.
    One major change since our last trip is that I became the proud father of a daughter, who would of course be accompanying us. She would be around 11 months at that time.

    If someone has experience on doing a road trip with a young baby, we would be happy to receive their thoughts. It took a while to convince ourselves (read: mom) that this is realistic, but since will be an expensive trip, we do not want to regret it either. Obviously we are aware that the pace of the trip will be determined by our little girl!

    Are there any destinations that are more baby friendly then others? Personally I would love to visit Yellowstone NP and perhaps combine it with the Grand Canyon and some NP's we could not visit the last time (Arches, Antelope, ...).
    An alternative we have considering is to visit Florida, but multiple friends that have done both coasts strongly tend towards the West ones.. The upside would be that we can lower the pace of the trip, and have more "relax" time with the baby on a nice beach or hotel.

    I guess finding a destination would be a good start :P.
    One last thing, would you recommend an RV or a car + hotels? Or does this depend on the destination as well?

    All feedback is hugely appreciated!

    Regards,

    Dimi

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Baby is not concerned about the destination.

    Welcome back.

    As the mother of five, the most important thing we found was the sleeping arrangement each night. Some hotels provide cots, others do not. The best we found is buy a good portable cot (one that easily fits in the car) and get your daughter to sleep in it at home for some time leading up to the trip, so that she is used to it. The familiarity of the cot along with the favourite blankie and toys, will make all the difference to you all getting a good night's sleep.

    Your daughter is not going to care which destination you choose. And as you have already recognised, she will be the instigator of where and when you stop along the way. (Try to imagine what it is like being restrained in one of those car seats for hours on end.) Take an old rug you can spread out to let her crawl around, or tolddle if she is already walking by then.

    Personally, I'm not sure that FL is particularly baby friendly in July with the heat and mosquitoes. Getting into the mountains could be much more comfortable.

    Lifey

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    Traveling with a baby just takes a little forethought. As Lifey mentioned above, sleeping arrangements are important. While most decent hotels will have a Pack-n-Play (ie portable baby crib), whether it will be available each night is a guess. You can pick up a decent one at any discount store (Wal-Mart, Target) when you get Stateside, for about $50. Get a basic one, not one with all the bells and whistles. Either ship it home or donate it to a thrift store when you're done with your trip. Take Baby's favorite blanket or sleep toy with you, something that's familiar, and she should do fine.

    Baby food will depend on what she's used to. You can buy it here, or bring along your baby-food-maker and buy the food here.

    Car seat -- probably, taking what you use at home will be the easiest. Some airlines will put them in the cargo hold at no extra charge if she is traveling as a lap baby -- here in the States. (I don't know about international flights.) Stroller? You can pick up a cheap umbrella stroller at Wal-Mart or Target for about $15-20, or if your airline is cooperative, put it with checked luggage. (Here in the States, Southwest Airlines allows you to take stroller right up to the plane, and they put it in the hold. Then they bring it up to you so you have use of it in the airport.)

    My grandchildren (ages 3, 2 and 4 months) have already turned out to be good little travelers!

    Donna

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Congratulations on your new addition !

    Welcome back and Congratulations !!

    Travelling with baby isn't an awfull lot different to being at home with baby and having days out etc, so you can have a fantastic trip following the 'Mom's' advice above. I would opt for Yellowstone, Grand canyon or any National park areas and enjoy the natural beauty with lots of fresh mountain air for baby, but as mentioned the baby won't mind so it's totally up to you. Once you have sat down and decided on where you would like to go we can help with any details you are unsure of.

    Dave.

  5. Default Rockys here we come!

    Hello Guys,

    Thank you for the positive feedback. Given my personal favor already went towards Yellowstone & nearby NP's, it looks we have set our mind. I had a few minor questions that would help me to fix a rough planning and start looking for tickets:

    1- What city would you recommend to fly to/from (it does not have to be a loop trip!) if you want to include Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Arches, Monument Valley, Antelope and perhaps others around I am not thinking about straight away.

    2- From the previous posts i tend to conclude you would advise towards a car + hotels rather then a RV. Is this correct? What would be the cons on having an RV?

    3- What temperature / weather conditions are we most likely facing in the month of July?

    4- What month would you advice yourself, taking into account weather, crowd, ...? It is not likely I will be able to change the period of travel, but it really worth I could give it a shot @ work :-).

    5- Is there any particular area on the trip that is very suited to "relax"? In our last trip we ended in Vegas, a city we have visited before, and I recall this was very enjoying. Given we had seen most of the city before, it gave us the opportunity to lose the rush, sit back and enjoy our last 3 or 4 days of an amazing trip before heading home. Any place with a guarantee for good weather and good hotel accommodation would do the job as long as it could be close to our exit airport. There is no need for it to be Vegas again, we don't feel it is the best destination to go with a young child and we have seen it before.

    Thanks already guys!

    Regards,

    Dimi

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    1- What city would you recommend to fly to/from (it does not have to be a loop trip!) if you want to include Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Arches, Monument Valley, Antelope and perhaps others around I am not thinking about straight away.
    San Francisco would be one. Salt Lake City would be another.

    2- From the previous posts i tend to conclude you would advise towards a car + hotels rather then a RV. Is this correct? What would be the cons on having an RV?
    We have a forum thread about the pros and cons of an RV. Add to this, it is more difficult (but not impossible) to sleep a baby in an RV.

    3- What temperature / weather conditions are we most likely facing in the month of July?
    All of the places noted above are in typical summer weather in July -- temperatures in the 80F's and 90F's, with occasional rain and thunderstorms.

    4- What month would you advice yourself, taking into account weather, crowd, ...? It is not likely I will be able to change the period of travel, but it really worth I could give it a shot @ work :-).
    Summertime is generally more crowded in all those places, but the weather wins out. Yellowstone doesn't really open up completely until the end of May or so, and by mid-September, it has shut down.

    5- Is there any particular area on the trip that is very suited to "relax"?
    I think you said it yourself -- at the end of your trip, before flying home, would be a great way to relax. Either San Francisco or Salt Lake City would be good for this. If you find yourself flying in/out of SF, you could spend a couple of days relaxing in SLC, then drive to SF and do the same there.



    Donna

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default

    I disagree somewhat with Donna on a couple of points. To include Utah and Arches etc SF would not be ideal, I would say Vegas or even Denver along with SLC would be good choices.I wouldnt have thought sleeping baby in an RV would be a problem as you may well need a travel cot anyway. Convenient for nappy changing and feeding on the road etc as well. However the baby would be most secure in a baby chair in the front, meaning the adult not driving would have to sit in the back.
    I would consider September one of my favourite times to travel and even October, although that is late when thinking of Yellowstone.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Another Country Heard From

    One of the main reasons we recommend loop trips is the cost savings, on both airfares and car rentals. For example, flying from Paris to Salt Lake City but returning from Denver will cost you about €160 per passenger more that just a simple round trip to Salt Lake City. One-way drop-off fees on the car can similarly run to several hundred Euros. The reason I am giving you prices based on a Paris departure is that it is about €350 per passenger cheaper than departing from Brussels or Antwerp. There are, somewhat surprisingly to me, no non-stops between Paris, Brussels, or Antwerp and either Denver or Salt Lake City. I also assume that you don't want to fly Aeroflot, which can be cheaper but a bit less reliable on scheduling, equipment and service. The best option I could find for you would be from Paris to Salt Lake City with a single connection. You should also consider Frankfurt and Amsterdam as possible departure cities. A short drive/train ride can sometimes save you considerably on airfares and make connections easier.

    As to time of the year for your journey, as others have noted, July can present ideal weather in the northern and central Rockies, but that is also the most crowded time of the year at the parks you want to visit, particularly Yellowstone which has a very short season. If at all possible, You should try to aim for one of the shoulder seasons in spring or fall. I have been to Yellowstone in late September/early October and it is just spectacular. The best part is that you can have the park practically to yourselves! The same is probably true in very late May/early June before the bulk of the tourists show up.

    Whenever you decide to come, and once on the road, plan to stop at least every couple of hours to attend to your daughter. Everything from feeding her to changing her is so much easier when you're in a relaxed setting rather than trying to do it in the car on the move. To that end, be sure to check out state parks in each of the many states you will be driving through. While sometimes less spectacular than the national parks, keep in mind that your daughter won't care and these 'local' parks tend to be much less crowded than their more famous neighbors and thus more suited to attending to her needs and letting her get plenty of out-of-the-car time.

    In any event, have fun planning and be sure to let us know if you have more questions as that planning progresses.

    AZBuck

  9. Default

    Thanks again guys!

    We were considering an RV for the exact reasons you mentioned above. It looks more enjoying to be sitting outside the RV while enjoying the scenery, doing a small BBQ or planning the next day while the little girl sleeps, instead of being stuck into a hotel room.
    I checked only one site (cruiseamerica.com), just to have an idea, and was surprised to discover that an RV starts only around USD 3500 ~ 4000 for 21 nights...
    I feel i can get a car for around €600,0, so I am afraid this might not be the budget friendly option after all :-(.

    Buck, do you mind sharing the website / tool you use to find the plane tickets + pricing? I have used multiple Belgian / European ones, but they do not seem to fond of a Paris <-> SLC connection. They hardly show available dates, and they are more expensive then the Brussels <-> SLC one.

    I hope I did not underestimate the pricing difference between travelling in September or July. So far the fares for the plane and car seems to be substantially higher, so i can only assume it is the same for lodging.
    I will try to compare some more prices tomorrow to figure out what we want to do.

    Thank you so far for helping us with the first steps of the trip ;-).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default

    an RV starts only around USD 3500 ~ 4000 for 21 nights...
    ..and that's before you account for campground fees and the fact you will only get around 9mpg ! Certainly not a budget option.

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