The purpose of this trip was simple — test the ability of new parents to do an overnight road trip with a 10-month-old baby.
Like I said, this test was more for the parents than the baby. It’s been said that your ability to travel with a kid is directly proportional to your sensitivity to annoying others. Personally, I never liked hearing screaming kids on a plane (who does?) so I guess I’m extra-sensitive to being that person. Now I know firsthand how hard it is, but I’d rather not travel if it’s going to be a stressful experience.
So we started with what most would consider a simple test. The driving distance from Chicago to Bloomington, IL is 132 miles. The estimated driving time is 2 hours and 23 minutes. In reality, it took us more like 5 hours total. Granted, we stopped at Cracker Barrel, because that’s pretty much a requirement for any road trip. But we quickly learned the definition of “baby time” when we were late for every planned event on the trip.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Bloomington – Airport which was actually very nice. I had read online that it was newly renovated and very clean, and it was. One of the things I always notice is a simple detail, the caulking along the bathroom sink. Most old hotels have cracks and missing caulk, and this one was clean and in great condition.
Even better, they had one of the best suites for families because both the bedroom and living area were large, and there was a nice glass door between the two. My friend had advised me to look for something like this, because you can put the baby down to sleep in the bedroom, then watch TV and hang out in the living room without disturbing them. In reality, we did have some trouble getting him to sleep at first, and I was a little worried that the rooms next to us might complain about a crying baby. But in the end, things were smooth and he slept through the night in the travel crib.
One more thing, I highly recommend the BABYBJÖRN Travel Crib Light 2. It’s worth every penny to have an excellent product that folds up quickly and weighs only 11 lbs. It’s not cheap, but if you’re like me, you would pay lots of money to reduce stress, and this thing does it.
So after a successful night in the hotel, we checked out and went to the Miller Park Zoo. As luck would have it, they were celebrating their 121st anniversary, which means they’ve been around since 1891!
Oh, one more thing, I found a lot information on traveling with kids at trekaroo, so that’s definitely a good resource for parents.
If you’re a traveling parent, I give you props and hopefully I’ll figure out a way to minimize stress and maximize the fun. The final verdict was that this first test was a success, so we’re looking forward to taking on the next adventure!