Sunday, June 30, 2013

Florida - Update #1 - Traveling with Toddler

Road Trip Part 1

We love to travel, and we travel a lot. In fact, our 2 year old has already visited 11 states and 2 countries! I have gotten pretty good at planning what to pack and how to break up trips to keep M the happy toddler she normally is even when we're travelling.

The first piece of advice- consider the drive or flight to be part of your vacation. We have flown all the way across the country, from South Carolina to Washington, and I tried to do everything I could to make the travel day fun (explore the airport, watch airplanes landing and taking off, have plenty of small toys, snacks, etc.) When driving, we have more control over when and where we will stop, and we are taking full advantage of that.

The second piece of advice- if your toddler is potty training (or recently potty trained), make sure to take a potty seat with you in the car! My mom suggested this, and I am so glad we listened. It saved us on more than one occasion. 

We woke up at our normal time on Saturday morning- no need to start with a cranky, tired toddler! We ate breakfast, dropped the dogs at the vet, and were on the road by 10:30. We planned to stop to have lunch with family in Columbia, which is about 2 hours from us. This was the perfect stop- we got to see family, eat, stretch our legs, use clean restrooms... and M got to have a mini-dance party!

After a nice lunch break, we got back on the road for Savannah, Georgia, which would be our final stop for the day. We set M up with her "friends" (aka stuffed animals) and some music in the backseat and she was asleep in no time. We had about 3 hours to go, and M slept for a little over an hour of the drive.

Unfortunately it rained for a good portion of the second leg of our trip, so we weren't able to get out and stretch our legs much. We still stopped off for some Dunkin Donuts, and pulled out some crayons and paper on a clipboard to keep M busy for the rest of the trip.

We had some leftover hotel points, so we booked a room at Andaz Savannah. It was right downtown near the river. We were greeted by the concierge who checked us in on an iPad and gave us complementary glasses of wine - off to a good start! They also have free snacks and non-alcoholic beverages in the mini-fridge in the room!

After dropping our bags in the room, we headed out to meet my parents for dinner. We took a stroll along the river, watched the boats sail under the bridge, and even made a touristy stretched penny! We ate dinner at Dockside Seafood, which was ok. It was late and we were all tired from our first day of travel, so we headed back to the hotel for bed.

Road Trip Part 2

We got up the next morning, packed our bags and checked out of the hotel. We left our bags in the car while we walked a few blocks away to eat breakfast at J. Christopher's, which was recommended to us by the hotel concierge. The food was very good, and M thoroughly enjoyed her "Peter Pan-cakes" (blueberry pancakes with brown sugar and crunchy granola on top).

After breakfast we walked back toward the hotel where our car was parked. There were some fountains in the middle of the square, so we decided to let M run off some energy before we started the second half of our journey.

She had a lot of fun, and it was worth the mess to give her some time to run around before confining her to the car for 4 1/2 hours. We left when she got tired, and she slept for the first couple hours of our drive.

We packed plenty of snacks, so we skipped lunch (it was raining again at this point) to save some time. M played with her princess magnet set and colored for the remainder of the trip. When we reached our hotel (Marriott's Harbor Lake) we explored, ate dinner, and prepared for our first big day at the parks - Magic Kingdom!

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