Our daughter, Little D, is almost 14 months, and we recently took our first official family vacation sandwiched between a fun Houston, Texas, family visit. How do I define an official family vacation? A. Place. Where. There. Is. No. Backup. (Translation: no family or friends at destination.) It was a short one: three-hour road trip from Houston to San Antonio to cruise down the River Walk
and visit the Alamo
So I didn't expect that 24 hours to be such an adventure, but it was, and here's what I've learned from it:
A Family Vacation Survival Guide
When staying somewhere new, do some quick childproofing before letting your child enter.
We moved some furniture around in our hotel room-even wheeling something out (see below)-to minimize our daughter's destruction and risk of injury.
The fewer things you bring on your adventures, the fewer things you lose on your adventures.
We lost Little D's hat-the only one she'll wear on her 90th
percentile head-at the Alamo within 30 minutes of arriving there. Thankfully, it showed up in the Lost & Found later.
Keep activities cheap.
We spent $40 on a 20-minute horse carriage tour of the city and our mini travel partner fell asleep 5 minutes into the tour.
Let your child bring a friend.
I was against my daughter becoming so attached to a stuffed animal, but Bar Bar (purchased by her papa for $2 from a thrift store in Santa Barbara) provided her with comfort in times of distress...and was something she could hold instead of touching things she wasn't supposed to touch.
Bring your child somewhere he or she actually wants to go to.
If you're going to drag your child everywhere you want to go, you should at least throw in one stop on the itinerary that's a sure thing for him or her.
Make friends right away so they don't become enemies later.
We went to tourist spots during the height of a holiday weekend, so there was a lot of waiting going on...a lot...in 90-plus-degree weather with humidity. Good thing was that before our daughter broke out in mini (justified) tantrums in a long line and packed tour boat, she managed to charm our neighbors beforehand.
When tantrums are brewing, battle it with a sweet lullaby. Today we're offering a free download of Metallica's "Wherever I May Roam" as a summer survival gift from us to you. Enjoy!
Click here to listen to "Wherever I May Roam"
(right-click and select "Save As" to download)