We are taking our first family vacation to Florida with our 5 month old daughter and any advice you can offer is much appreciated. We will we traveling by car so its about a 22-24hr drive. any advice on traveling in a car with a 5 month old for that long? (yes we will be stopping at hotels) She has also never slept away from home or really spent more then a few hours out of the house because when she does she usually wont sleep(except in the car) or gets cranky when anyone but mommy or daddy hold her so we often leave. We will be seeing family most of the time we are there since this will be the first time they get to meet our daughter but we would also like to go out and plan things to do, any baby friendly places or good suggestions on things to do or places to go in FL? I was thinking maybe a zoo or aquarium since she LOVES her fish tank and all our pets and is amazed everytime we enter the pet store trying to touch every animal she sees. I tried planning a dolphin swim with her but the one place i found (dolphin research center) does not have any openings while we are there, does anyone know any other places to swim with dolphins that do not have age restrictions as long as the child is with the parent? Any advice from things to pack, to traveling, to places to go, ect. is very much appreciated as this is our first child and a brand new experience for both us and her.
-thank you in advance for any tips you share :)
If you haven't driven very long with her yet, be prepared that having a one that small is going to add a few hours, at least. My parents live about 4 1/2 hours away. Before kids the trip could take between 4 and 5 hours depending on traffic. Now that I have 2 little ones the trip normally takes 6--7 hours because of how often we have to stop.
Hopefully you and your husband can take turns sitting in the back to keep her entertained. Bring some of her favorite toys, and also pick up a few new ones for her to explore.
You didn't say what part of Florida you're going to be in so I don't know what might be around. We have a Florida Moms group. You might want to join it and ask them for ideas, too! Have fun on your trip. :)
We are going to be in Venice and Ocala mostly but we are willing to travel to any part of FL if we find something to do there
I traveled when my daughter was 2 months. We took a plane to Tennessee. I breast fed her when she got fussy. We drove the remaining 2 hours to our destination that took 4 hours with stops to feed, play and change diapers. It's going to take you a little longer to travel.
I've never driven that long with a baby, the most we've done is a 6-7 hour trip to North Carolina when our twins were about 8 months. They did fine, but I think that is definitely a great idea for you to break up your driving trip by stopping in at hotels. As far as what to do, what is great about Florida is that there is always stuff to do all around! I am sure you will find stuff day to day when you arrive, there are always a lot of local events that go on (my mom is actually in Clearwater, FL right now and between the beach, flea markets, car/bike shows, live bands, little outdoor venues, shopping, etc. she said the fun is just endless and you certainly don't need to spend an arm and a leg to do anything). As far as plans taking your daughter out and about- I have to be honest based on my own experience at least.... it was a lot for our kids to take in at that age for their first trip just by going off their regular schedule and making trips to the beach, shopping, trips out to eat, the new environment, etc. that we did not really make a set plan of what to do each day b/c we found they'd get so excited and overwhelmed just with the basic stuff we were doing that they'd get cranky suddenly and we'd have to go back to the beach house for them to take a looong nap. So, whatever we did plan to do, we just made sure we stayed local enough to the beach house so that we could up and leave if the kids needed.
As far as what to bring- I don't think you could ever be too prepared when it comes to packing for a baby for a long trip... so if you think you might use it even just once, it's worth bringing! Either that, or you end up buying extra while you are there. I do know one thing that helped is I bought the bulk of diapers, wipes, formula, and baby food that would last enough for the entire week... and good thing we did b/c the nearest grocery store was 45 min. from where we were staying and everything was so expensive! Hope this helps, and hope you have a wondeful time with your family... and don't forget to relax and enjoy yourself some too while you are there!!
When my son was about 3.5 months we took a trip to PA to visit family. It was about a 12 hour trip up there. It was the most awful 12 hours ever!! lol he screamed and cried, we stopped often, but then as soon as he got back in his carseat started screaming again. We have taken a few other trips since then to FL which was about a 6 hour trip and what worked for us was just driving through the night. He slept and by the time we got there it was morning and he was ready to be up and out of the car. You might want to try that and save the hotels for lounging in during the day/taking naps so you can be up all night driving. We also have taken a trip by plane to PA, and that was a little tricky as well only because my son was at the stage where he wanted to crawl around and play and unfortunately he couldn't do that. He's almost 1 now and I'm hoping travelling will get easier as he gets older lol Good luck!!!
We went to FL with a 7month old, it was definately an experience I won't soon forget. I wouldn't change anything because my 5yr had the time of her life but it was hard on the 7 mo. old. We tried to schedule it so every time he ate we would stop and eat ourselves or stop and get gas and stretch our legs. Course we had help because we had our other son and his girlfirend in the car to help the baby keep his mind on toys until he would fall asleep for a couple of hours. DEFINATELY bring lots of different toys and don't give them all at once, give one at a time until she gets bored, then take the toy away and give her another one . I also had an 81 yr old with us so what should have taken about 8hrs-10hrs took about 12hrs.-14hrs. Funny thing (not at the time) is the trip to FL wasn't as bad as the trip home, I think the 7 mo.old realized he would be in that carseat for a long time. Not sure about the dolphin thing, we were taking our 5yr to Disney for the first time. Zoos and aquariums are good, just don't forget the stroller and if you have one of over your shoulder carriers, that way you carry her while she sleeps but it doesn't kill your arms since she likes mommy holding her. Good luck and try to relax and go with the flow
My son was 7 months old when we took our first trip to Georgia (we live in Orlando, FL). It was a 4-4 1/2 hour trip normally and it only ended up taking us an extra half hour or so because we planned it out to where he woke up early that morning and we tried to keep him up as much as we could until his afternoon nap which is usually his longest. We had the car packed and ready to go and left just before his nap time. He slept for a good part of the trip and then we had also purchased a portable DVD player for the car to keep him entertained once he got bored with his toys. The DVD player was a lifesaver on the trip home because he hardly slept and watching movies like Finding Nemo or Winnie the Pooh would calm him down because Pooh had lots of music and he loved Nemo because he too has a fascination with our animals and fish tanks. We also brought crib sheets and blankets from home so that when we put him down for a nap or for bed at night it was a familiar scent and it seemed to help him feel better and sleep more comfortably. Good luck on your trip!