Travelling solo with an infant and toddler
Cameron could only stay with us for 4 days on our trip to Arizona because he had to get back to work. Fortunately for me, women get a full year of maternity leave in Canada. It’s been great to have the flexibility to travel with my little boys without worrying about getting back to work.
We explored the Phoenix area (you can read about it here) before loading up the car and road tripping to Palm Springs.
Why Palm Springs?
The main reason I chose Palm Springs was because my parents had rented an apartment for the winter and invited us to spend a few weeks with them. Come back to Canada to spend our days inside avoiding the rain. Or, play by the pool in warm weather? Not a hard decision.
But one important factor remained. If I stayed with my parents, I would be traveling home alone with both boys. For this reason, I made sure of a two very important points. Our flight home had to be direct and my parents needed to rent a two bedroom.
Cameron left to go back home the evening before my parents arrived giving the boys and I an evening to ourselves. It was the first time I was away from home by myself with our kids. It felt weird but I was strangely excited for this new adventure.
When we mapped out the distance between Tempe and Palm Springs, it made the most sense to drive instead of flying. I love a good road trip, so it was also an excuse to see Arizona’s desert landscapes and move at our own pace.
We decided it would be best for my parents to drive from Palm Springs to Phoenix to meet us, then drive our trio back to Palm Springs the following day. We always travel with our car seats so when my parents came to pick us up at our hotel we were ready for the drive. But it goes without saying that a 4-hour drive with young kids is not as easy as driving with adults. We had to make several stops along the way, allowing me to breastfeed Connor and let Braydon stretch his legs and blow off some steam.
TIP: When planning a road tip, plan to make stops. When you arrive at your planned stop you can then decide to take a break, or push through to the next stop.
We had 2 weeks in Palm Springs, the perfect amount of time to relax and explore. This was my second visit to Palm Springs in the past three years. It’s actually the first trip we took with Braydon when he was three months old (read about that trip here).
Braydon is still getting used to swimming and I found he really took steps forward in getting comfortable with the water since we were playing in it multiple times a day. He even was comfortable jumping in with me catching him.
We explored around Palm Springs, the downtown, and took a picture with the infamous Marilyn Monroe statue. One morning we got up early and headed to the Living Desert. It’s a desert botanical garden and a zoo with hundreds of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Braydon’s favorites are owls and the living desert has a number of enclosures with different types.
TIP: If you plan to visit the living desert, go in the morning since it gets hot and there is little shade.
Our weeks went by fast as most vacations do. And before we knew it, it was time for the boys and I to head home. We had our direct flight home with Westjet from Palm Springs to Vancouver. I booked us into a window and a middle seat allowing me to contain Braydon at the window. He’s very shy so a window seat allowed him comfort with not needing to sit next to a stranger. Connor was traveling on my lap.
Tip: When traveling alone with kids, don’t be sacred to ask for help.
I learned very quickly when traveling with the boys alone, to ask for help. But I rarely had to ask. People were often quicker to offer help. When I arrived at the gate, I approached the airline representative and let them know that I would need help packing our stroller and boarding the plane (this was my first time requiring assistance after over 100 flights).
I found wearing Connor in my Onya Baby Carrier for boarding and de-boarding allowing my hands to be free was easiest. During the flight, the boys were extremely well behaved (unlike the flight from hell). I brought along our Windows Surface that has Braydon’s favorite shows downloaded on it. We played games, read books, and both boys fell asleep as we descended. Of course! I let them sleep for as long as possibly by waiting until everyone else was off the plane and I carried both boys off with the plane staff helping me with my gear.
I only had one final step before our trip was over and that was to clear customs. I had my letter of permission from Cameron to enter back into Canada with our boys (and yes, I was asked to present it) and then both boys were reunited with their awaiting dad.
TIP: I was required to present a letter of permission that Cameron had signed prior to the trip. Some border security agents don’t ask for the letter, but it’s always best to be prepared.
Have you ever travelled alone with your kids? Where did you go?
Share your feedback in the comments section below, we’d love to read about them!