Posted by: Amber @ NotMommy | March 17, 2010


We’re going on our very first family vacation this April. The plan is to visit Austin to test it out and see if we would like to live there. So while this trip will be fun fun fun (cannot wait to meet my friends IRL!!!), this will also be a bit of work. Work…above and beyond the normal work of vacationing with a baby :P

Sooooo we plan! What to do in the city that is family friendly so we can:
1. Have fun
2. Keep Alexa entertained
3. See if these kinds of outings are the kind we would want to do in the city we live in

Unlike the way I usually plan vacations, I’m trying not to be toooo crazy OCD and plan out every day. I just want to have a feel for the things that are available. So I turned to Facebook (there’s a FB fan page for just about anything), Yelp, and my Austin friends!

Aside from planning the meat of the trip, there’s planning the transportation portion.  Alexa will be riding on my lap on the plane and we’ll be renting a carseat with the car in Austin.  But how the hell were we supposed to get her to the airport?  This would be nothing if we were getting dropped off and picked up, but we’re not.  We could park at the airport, but then we would need a carseat to use the shuttle service from the lot (one they do not provide…ummmm, so NOT lugging her carseat on the plane with us).  We could take the train from here, but then who is going to pick us up at like 11pm when we get back?

Soooooooo we’re driving up to Newark to Peter’s office, parking there…then taking the train from there.  Ugh, but the best way to avoid the need for a carseat or help from anyone.  It’s amazing the things you never consider until there’s a baby to work around :-)

Now, packing?  How does one pack for an infant?  Guess that means I’ll bring everything she owns, ha!  And food?  STOP STRESSING…you’re not leaving the country Amber…they have grocery stores in TX.  So we’ll pack a carryon food/diaper bag (allowed by the TSA and the airline, does not count against the number of carryons you can have, yippy).  Lots of num nums for Alexa to keep her happy.  Oh, and nurisng will come in handy…so there’s that.

We do still need to figure out what to pack for clothes, toys, books, etc…but like I said before, we’re not visiting a foreign land.  If we forget or need something, there are stores.  Same is true for Peter’s and my stuff.  You can always buy new…hell, that’s a good enough reason for shopping if there ever was one!

I’m really hoping she’s ok with the plane ride.  It’s a fairly long trip with a layover.  **fingers crossed**  I think I’m more worried about the dirty looks from the other passengers as we board and OMG if she flips out.

We still have to find out if the hotel will supply a pack-n-play, though she’s used to sleeping with us so really we don’t HAVE to have one.  Though…it would be nice since she’s FINALLY learning to sleep in her crib.  Oh, and what if we want to hire an in-room sitter?  Will the hotel provide this service?  Some websites say that ours does, but I can’t find a reference on the main hotel website.  One of those things you need to call for…and, ya know…talk to a real person.  There’s always this company.  I’m sooo NOT sure that we would even bother to use this type of service, but it’s nice to know that they’re out there.  Though…since I’m weird about leaving Alexa with family…I’m most likely going to be freaked about leaving her with a complete stranger :-)

Wow, there are just lists and lists of things to research and get done.  Maybe this is why we never flew anywhere or stayed in a hotel when I was younger.  Travel is WORK!  Our family vacations (if you can even call them that) were usually to go see other family across the country.  Nothing like a 20 hour car trip to make you hate each other.



  1. best of luck, mama! it sounds like you’re covering all your bases. speaking as someone who JUST did a trip w/ alexa’s baby doppleganger, might a add a few quips? (:

    * a week or two before your trip, gather up some small toys that she loves and don’t let her play with them until you’re on the plane. this worked great with p – she was like, “CHRISTMAS!!” in addition, i lined remaining free space in my suitcase with little toys so she’d have lots of different ones throughout the trip for car rides and stuff (she gets bored with toys pretty easily, e.g., the more the better!)

    * the more snacks, the better. maybe pack something she’s never had before but you think she’d like? i’d never given poppy yogurt melts until the trip – they were a great pacifier for her.

    * don’t be shy about asking the folks at baggage/check in for a more ideal seating arrangement. i don’t know what you ended up with but if it’s not perfect they may give you something better if you ask (shit, i got a WHOLE ROW!)

    * clothes are really quite easy – just dress her in light layers! hoodies/cardigans are your friend. i’d pack more sleepers than you think you’d need – always keep one in your diaper bag for if she musses her outfit beyond repair. you’d hate to be stuck with a blowout and not be near a store that sells baby clothes!

    * you’re right that anything you need can easily be purchased. so don’t stress about trying to pack the full trip’s worth of diapers or food! there will be stores!

    you guys will have a fantastic time. alexa is a HAPPY girl, and i bet she will love the trip! p was totally fascinated with the change of scenery – i think it’s a great age for a first trip. don’t be scared! you’ll do great, and peter will be there to help with whatever comes up.

    yay! excited for you lady! i’m here for ya if you think of any specifics, but honestly it sounds like you’ve already thought of everything! (:


    • Emily! I was hoping you would chime in since you just returned from a trip.
      Great idea on the toys! Need to start hiding a few :-)
      Hmmm snacks. Will have to think about that. Do you know how much stuff out there has freakin’ milk in it?! Argh.
      I try to always carry around extra clothes regardless of where I’m going, just because I know the one time I don’t..she will explode :P
      We’re in a row of 3, Peter and I have the inside seats. Hoping anyone who is scheduled to sit next to us will ask to move if there’s an extra seat somewhere else! HAHA. That’s on the way down. On the way back we’re in a 2 seater side (weird how small the plane seems going that far).

  2. Good luck with the packing. You won’t really need much just the diapers you need on the plane (one for each hour you’re on it plus the waiting time before flight and layovers) and then buy the rest of them in Austin. Just her food, if she doesn’t have special food, for airport/flight, otherwise you can just buy food in Austin. Then the necessary clothes, two favorite toys and books, and I’m sure you have it all figured out. Sorry about that. I’m thinking about what to pack for Aidan for when we move and what to sell. Decisions, decisions.
    Oh did you look into to travel cribs?
    Anyway, I’m so jealous. Maybe if you move there I’ll be visiting you every month. ;o)
    .-= Restless Mama´s last blog ..Freedom in a Two Week Notice =-.

    • One for each hour…goooooood idea! I called the hotel and they have cribs and have reserved one for us! If they didn’t have one we were going to ship our pack and play down (because it’s way cheaper to UPS it, Peter has a discount through work, than to pay the $25 EACH WAY for an extra checked bag).
      We would love to have you visit us if we move. Well…we’re moving somewhere (considering Portland too) so you’ll have to come visit either way :-)

  3. Josh and I once went to Europe for two weeks with one small carry-on suitcase and a personal bag each. We felt like such bad-asses. This past Thanksgiving, we drove to Buffalo for 3 days. My Subaru was FULL. HOw babies change life…
    One recommendation to help limit the amount of baby stuff you have to bring on the plane is to look for diversions from the environment. Frieda had a great time playing with straws from the airport restaurants, and practicing putting bottle caps on and off the water bottles we got from the stewardesses.
    I hope Alexa does well, and you have a great trip!
    .-= Carla´s last blog ..Art Class =-.

    • HAHAH I used to ALWAYS try to just use carry-on luggage. I hate paying for the checked baggage, and I hate waiting to get it from the carousel :P

      I’m only planning on taking a few “quiet” toys and books on the plane. Alexa is happy to look at people most of the time, and that airsickness bag will delight her! Beyond that, we’re happy to pace with her up and down the aisle if need be. I’m just happy we’re still bf’ing so I can nurse her during takeoff and landing to help with the ear popping issue.

  4. Well looks like I’m a bit late, but everyone gave you great advice! Max went on his first trip at 6 months, and I hauled his pack n play for him to sleep in, but that is great they have a crib. I didn’t even think to ask! Wish I would have.

    Don’t worry too much about the flipping out, worse case scenario you hid in the bathroom at the back of the plane till she calms? I mean they have more than one bathroom, and who cares what ppl think. You’ll never see them again!!!
    .-= Sarah Mommy Elephant´s last blog ..Manic Monday =-.

    • Great idea about hiding in the bathroom. We’re actually seated very close to the back of the plane near the rest rooms, so that’s a great place to hide out if need be :-)

  5. I’ve done the plane thing a couple of times with Riley – and both times she did really well – the pressure didn’t seem to bother her. When we went when she was 6 months I breastfed her during but on our recent trip I didn’t even need to give her water or anything to chew on – she just didn’t seem to notice it.

    Luckily the vibration of the plane seems to help with the sleeping part as well – so you never know – she might take a nap for some of it!
    .-= Zoey @ Good Goog´s last blog ..The Non Comformist =-.

    • That’s really good to hear. I was thinking that the vibrations would lull her to sleep…since the car does the same, no matter how recently she’s napped. **fingers crossed**

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