I think it’s been a while since the heyday of travel – when hopping on a plane was an experience in itself. I know my mom always looked forward to being able to just sit for a few hours and have someone bring her a hot meal and a glass of wine (obviously I was older by this point!) while she thumbed a book or napped. Unless you’re flying first class or by private jet, it’s safe to say those days are long gone, and now the “fun” of air travel begins before you’ve even hit the departure lounge.
Air Canada and the art of travel. But with kids and babies. It’s interesting what a sense of entitlement we feel when we’ve given birth. I walked into the Toronto airport, very grateful that the limo driver had a car seat in his trunk. (For the price of the ride I could have gotten some pretty hot jeans, but all is fair on travel days). Waiting in line, I approached a lovely female Air Canada agent, simply expecting that she would agree that stopovers while venturing across the country with a child were absurd. No matter. A friendly banter, the baby acting extra cute, and $75 for the change, and all was settled. She was a Mother.
I was recently introduced to the concept of Educational Trips for kids. Mommy or Daddy takes a child away for the weekend, and they get one-on-one time and learn together. What better place than Victoria, at the Fairmont Empress Hotel? I am very much an old Canadian. I appreciate modern, boutique hotels too, but there is nothing quite like the luxury of the old Canadian Pacific chain. Sometimes wallpaper, high ceilings, antiques and superb service are just necessary. On a recent stay at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria, I was reminded why I seek out these fabulous hotels, and what educational opportunities are available in every day life if you take the time to look for them.
While in Seattle (Washington) recently, Urban Mommies discovered Molly Moon’s Ice Cream and fell in love! The hand-made ice cream boutique has been featured in Bon Appetit magazine and features fantastic and creative gourmet and European flavours. There’s Birthday Cake and “Scout” Mint for the kids and flavours like Balsamic Strawberry, Honey Lavender and Rosemary Meyer Lemon for the big kids. The flavours–which include vegan sorbets–change daily and they have fabulously creative odd sundaes. Their prices are cheap and their portions are huge! Here’s a tip for ordering:
Dairy Queen birthday parties are so 80s! A clown or magician? So last century! Bouncy castles? Well that’s just 2000-‘n-late! A birthday party at the Telus World of Science is timeless and will be a guaranteed highlight in your child’s memories. You and your child will be a hit with all your child’s friends–and their parents–as the children will not only enjoy mountains of fun but will also learn that science is a pretty darn cool thing! Science World, as most Vancouverites call it, excels in creating exciting games out of scientific principles. Just be prepared for when it’s time to leave because the kids will not be happy that it’s time to go!
Spring, and a little toddler’s fancy turns to… baby lambs. Born last night at Maplewood Farm are two beautiful black ones that will melt your heart. Chasing the hens, climbing with the goats or feeding the bunnies is such fun at this North Vancouver barnyard. Spring is a great time to go and explain the difference between sheep and lambs, pigs and piglets (flash cards not included). Get up close and personal with the animals, and don’t forget your carrots and parsley for the rabbits. Birdseed is available for the chickens.
In my ‘20s I traveled for 6 weeks through Europe with one backpack that I carried myself. For our week-long honeymoon, my husband and I took one large suitcase between us. Just over 2 years later, my husband, 11-month-old daughter, and I had an overflowing luggage cart that held 2 large suitcases (overweight), 2 stuffed-to-the-brim carry-ons, and a car seat. In hindsight, we should have added our playpen to the pile, since the hotel-issued crib for that trip was pretty wobbly.
A big concern many parents have about traveling is how time changes and jet lag will affect their child’s routine and sleeping patterns. It’s a valid concern; we all know how jet lag makes us feel (zonked and cranky), and who wants to cope with a toddler in that same state? According to pretty much any book or article you read, children cope with time changes and jet lag much better than adults do, acclimatizing much faster.
Whenever I talk about traveling with babies (which is a lot), for the most part I come across like-minded parents who have concerns but love the idea of travel with their young family. Occasionally however, I’m met with a look of horror, or – at the very least – disbelief.