Vacation suggestion for parents with small children

Any ideas for a good vacation for people with a 2.5 yr old and a 1 yr old?

Something with babysitting preferably on the east coast. Anybody know of a good resort or destination?

We looked into cruises. Seems pricey to be honest.


Ayers Rock! They can pet the dingoes!



Maybe not.

Take all the money you would spend on air fare and hire a babysitter to come in every night for a week or so, and you and your wife go out and have a blast somewhere local. Trips with kids that young are tough. I would only do it if you have relatives that won’t get to see them otherwise. If that’s the case, it’s worth it: they’re only babies once.

Or better yet, fly out relatives (grandparent, aunt, uncle) that wants to spend time with the kids and take off to somewhere nearby. That’s what we’re planning on doing later this year.

That’s not a bad idea but we literally have exactly 1 regular babysitter that we’ve found.


We also have relatively bad luck with grandparents and other relatives.

My wife’s parents are going to be watching the kids for two nights in like March so that we can get two days together, but this is at their house before a big family wedding thingy.

Her parents are 3 hours away and can’t spare the time for more than a weekend, and my dad is hopeless when it comes to small children. My mom is going to watch the kids this summer for like two nights as well, but she’s generally super busy also.

My sister now lives far away and can’t spare the time from her job (and if she could I’m sure she’d do something for herself and I wouldn’t blame her) and my wife’s sister can’t spend time away from her job either and has never EVER babysat any kid of any age at any time ever so we haven’t had the stomach to let her watch them.

Having young children, especially two at once, is a very trying experience.


Of course I love them to bits though.

We did briefly think of paying for a young woman from our church (20 something) to come on a vacation with us and then having her watch the kids for a few hours each day but we don’t really have the money to pay for ourselves let alone a third adult.

Ask her is she is ready to be handsomely rewarded. Opportunity of a lifetime, etc, etc… :) Nobody I know has a lot of sitters.

Roadside America! was a favorite when I was a kid, and I just went there again this Christmas after 20+ years. It’s still exactly the same!

Actually, it’s only good for an hour or so. With kids, maybe two hours.

The “nighttime in Roadside America” show is the best entertainment to be had for $5. Kate Smith singing “God Bless America” while the lights go out and all the little building lights come on! And slides of Jesus guiding the entire country… I had forgotten the Jesus slides.

I was laughing so hard I was crying.

I would but this is the line I use to pick up hookers.


We have a 3.5 year old and a 9 month old. Vacations don’t exist.

Seriously, I don’t trust the grandparents (any of them) enough to dump the kids so the wife and I can take a trip… When we just had one kid and she was old enough to be left overnight, we took a couple of 1 night getaways, but other than that, zippo.

For us, the best kids-included trips have been short camping trips (this is really dependant on how well your kids deal with a different schedule, sleep environment, etc.) and staying at a beach house. Since we live within reasonable driving distance of the coast (3 hours to WA coast, 4+ to Oregon) we didn’t need to worry about airplane nastiness with two young kids.

As far as REAL vacations that normal adults like to take, I figure we’re still a few years away from being able to sight-see or do golf packages or a cruise, etc.

It’s my opinion that, as much as I love my kids, any trip with kids really isn’t a vacation but rather a (hopefully somewhat fun) family outing. For it to be a vacation for me, I need to be able to lounge in the sun with a nice cool drink and a good book before or after surfing/fishing/golfing. Not exactly toddler-friendly activities. Sorry, I guess this wasn’t much help.

The only reason my family’s Christmas trip to the grandparents was a vacation for me was because my 14-month old would only go to my wife (and occasionally tackle her 2 year-old cousin). I had a great time of golf and drinking. My wife on the other hand felt like a jungle gym the whole time.

Unless you have an unusally docile child or a huge support group (grandparents, friends wanting babies of thier own) I can’t honestly think of a vacation worth the effort and extra work in accomodating toddlers. Seriously, bribe a babysitter with big bucks and do something local.

I would say: Save your money until both of them understand the meaning and mantra of Mickey, and then visit the all-powerful, all-seeing, all-knowing mouse in Florida.

Seriously, for family entertainment, it’s hard to beat. It’s particularly expensive, however. Our last trip was the result of a year’s worth of socking money away.

I happen to be firmly entrenched into the industry of vacationing and for couples who want to vacation there are only three options.

1.) Take the children and have a family vacation that the parents do what the children want to do traditionally.

2.) Leave the children with a babysitter (relative) and enjoy your vacation as adults.

3.) Take the children and have a family vacation but at a place that provides vacation child care that is inclusive.

For 1, you can go anywhere and do whatever you want. However unless you travel to a location that has interest that spread the age gap (Beaches are a good bet here) you will be spending the greater amount of your time dealing and caring for your children (dining is customarily the worst aspect of this).

For 2, you can do whatever you want this is often the best way to vacation if you are taking a vacation for it’s traditional reasoning (A vacation from the mundane and ordinary that our lives degenerate into as we age). But is often not a viable alternative.

For 3, this is the best for “Vacations for everyone, including Mom & Dad”. These types of vacations usually end up somewhere that has attractions for both children and adults. Disney, Cruises, Inclusive Resort Packages are typical of this. They allow you to drop your children off for a certain amount of time in which they are entertained and enjoy themselves while you and your spouse enjoy time together and also apart from each other. Then on those days you feel like creating memories for your family vacation you can keep your kids all day for something special then drop them off the next for a romantic evening.

Cruises in and of themselves are usually highly priced. If you are looking for something in a Condo that you want to take your children to on the East Coast try looking at for a temporary timeshare or do a google for inclusive resorts (You’ll find most along the coast that have these types of accomidations).

Nah…don’t worry…

You basically confirmed what we’ve found too.

We’re still trying to find something that would work but it’s hard. Toddlers just don’t travel well.


Not that we took many vacations before, but we dropped the idea until the kids are older. Our kids don’t travel well at all, so anytime we take them on a trip, it is at least three times the stress level than staying home. We did go on a short cruise last year (paid for by others) which was also a family reunion. That was OK, but for disciplinary reasons we kept having to pull one kid or another out of the childcare programs. Time together as a couple was very minimal.

Last year we also planned and then canceled a week in Hawaii without the kids. Like you, we don’t have relatives we can rely on for longer term assistance, and we figured at least $1500 for the childcare expenses. That was more than the hotel and airfare package, and we were to stay at the Ritz-Carlton.

I don’t recommend Disneyland until at least age four. I think that’s the first time they can really appreciate it, especially considering the small fortune that Disney will extract from you. Even living local to Disneyland, it is easy to hit $500 for the day.

As much as I swore we would never take a long car trip, we will probably have to do that this summer. We need to stop in three, maybe four, different cities, so the expense and inconvenience of flying with the kids is far worse than driving.

All I can say is invest in digital video player of some sort, even if you just press an old laptop into service. If you can rip TV shows to disk, so you don’t have to worry about skipping DVDs as you go over bumps. From Radio Shack you can get a splitter for headphones, then just put all the kids in headphones and prop the player in the middle. This was my strategy and it really worked well. Every 100 miles or so, someone has to pee/eat/needs a drink, but it beats the constant bickering by a long shot.

Our van has a built-in DVD player, with wireless headphones, and it has been a lifesaver on many long trips. The DVD system also has composite inputs, so with a power inverter I can run the GameCube on it. I’m still trying to figure out why I like taking a break from driving by playing Mario Kart.

Now you’re talking. I have looked at those things, but they were too expensive when I looked into it. How well does the DVD player keep the disk from destabilizing when you’re driving? I have been thinking about getting one of the new hand held media players for long trips, just to get around the constant skips and subsequent whining.

I think we’ll get a portable DVD player if we end up driving more than 4 hours anywhere this year.

Both kids now enjoy DVDs. (Thank God.)

We got a smallish ‘normal’ dvd player for our last road trip. It was a very cheap one from Walmart - under $50 (a couple of summers ago). Skipping wasn’t a problem at all.

We already had a 13" tv with built in vcr that we’d been using on trips. The tapes are a bit of a pain because they’re so huge compared to a dvd.

Anyway, we had absolutely no problems with the dvd player, including skipping. I think we only used it on big interstate stretches, which were plenty smooth.

We have a minivan, and the kids rode in the 3rd row, with the tv set between the 2nd row seats. The dvd player was closer to the front row so we could control it. It worked out very well.

4 years old is probably still too young for this, but we also used the audio tape of the first Harry Potter book for one big road trip. It was actually what finally got our older son interested. The tapes were unabridged and the single performer is outstanding. I believe he’s done all of the books now (and I assume they’re on CD too. I think the first book was about 12 hours, the later ones must be much longer.