Life With The Libbys | Zion Family Vacation | Traveling with a Toddler
We recently traveled to Utah to visit my Mom and have a family vacation. I thought I would share some details from our trip for anyone interested in heading that way along with our experience on traveling with a toddler.
My Mom spends a significant amount of time out West during the winter so we thought it would be a fun change of scenery to bring Grey on a trip this spring. I've visited Zion before and loved it, but Cole hadn't had a chance to go yet so we thought it would be a great opportunity.
We flew into Vegas and ended up staying in Hurricane, Utah which was a mid point between Zion (Springdale) and St. George. We found this airbnb which was in a new neighborhood with beautiful views.
(get $40 off your next airbnb say with code: REFERRAL-DFVQIZYS).
If you've ever traveled before with a toddler you know that it's less of a vacation and more of a trip. We settled in the first morning and then took the afternoon to explore Zion. G is so happy just people watching and a change of scenery so we stopped in the Visitor Center, drove around to take in the views, and ended up doing the Pa'rus Trail because it was paved and stroller friendly. With a recent snow fall, our options were a little more limited and we wanted G to take a nap so the backpack was out of question.
The next day we explored Red Hills Desert Garden & Pioneer Park in St. George. The Desert Garden was a cute little area for kids with plants, fish, and dinosaur tracks. It's located right next to Pioneer Park where you can then go for a hike or just explore the rocks. It's so wild to me that this beauty is right next to the city.
The next day we visited some of my Mom's friends in St. George and hung out at our airbnb. I loved our airbnb for this because although I love exploring the area, the trip was really about spending time with my Mom so we were able to eat breakfast and/or dinner at the airbnb and just relax and be together.
The next day we went back to Zion in the morning & hit the same trail (we didn't finish it the time before) and G was ready for a nap so it made sense to do the one that was paved for her stroller.
On our last day we went to this awesome Thunder Junction All Abilities Play Park in St. George. It truly was a remarkable play space and G loved exploring and checking out each slide, swing, and the music. They also have a train and splash pad that weren't open when we were there but would be cool to go back to.
After our visit at the play park we did another little hike at Pioneer Park and had lunch on the picnic tables.
It was a pretty low key trip and we loved the change of scenery and quality time with my Mom. We're looking forward to bringing G back out West when she's bigger and can tackle more of the hikes.
Traveling with a Toddler
We had no expectation for traveling with Grey other than we knew it would be 10x harder than when we traveled with her as a young baby. Girlfriend is busy, has a lot of feelings, and is used to to her routine so we knew it was going to be a challenge. I would say 50% of the time it was smooth and 50% of the time it was challenging. She's at this age where she knows what she wants but can't always communicate it and she's too young to reason with. We tried to be over prepared with all the new toys, snacks, and ms. rachel on download.
A few things we found helpful (thanks so many other mamas for sharing their tips with us)
Bringing a carseat on the plane. I knew she was going to want her own seat at this age because she's just too big for our laps. However, I wasn't prepared to bring a carseat but after talking with a friend who recently traveled, I changed my mind. And I'm SO glad I did. I honestly don't know what I was thinking. Having the carseat gave her a spot to be strapped in (in a way she was used to) and a semi-comfortable sleeping position. I really liked how easy it was to travel with this lightweight carseat but I don't think it was the comfiest for her or at least what she's used to.
I really love our Beis diaper backpack. It has lots of room for all the things. I especially liked the detachable fanny pack for the airplane as I kept just a few diapers and wipes there for quick and easy diaper changes in the cramped plane bathroom.
We brought some new toys for G but to be honest she was just as content watching Ms. Rachel. Although we try to limit screen time at home there are no rules when it comes to airplane travel. You do what you gotta do.
We packed all the snacks, backup, and lunch options in case of delays.
I know it's not always possible but keep in mind your toddler's nap times and happy times of the day. We found that G was much happier / easier to travel with in the mornings than mid afternoon. We woke her up at 3 AM to fly and she was 10x happier on that morning flight then a mid-afternoon which is her normal wake window.
We packed all of G's things in our carry on just in case we got delayed or lost luggage. Although we're lucky that nothing like this happened. It's the security of knowing all the stuff (and backup) that you need is on hand.
Aside from the actual plane travel day, I think at this age it's easier to pick a destination that has more walkable options. I know our experience from traveling to 30A Florida was so much easier because we were able to plop her in the stroller or just walk down to the pool. The process of getting G into the car and driving 20-30 minutes anytime we wanted to do something was a bit of a challenge. So if you're looking for a destination, keep this in mind.
We are by no means experts this is just our personal experience and I hope you find it helpful. Although it's challenging to travel with a toddler, I still would recommend it.The few hours on a plane is worth the experience in my opinion. If you have any other tips you want to share, send them my way (although I don't think we will travel with her for another year and I know it will be a whole different game by then).