Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Logistics of getting to the Cruise Ship!


How do we get there?

This is one of the more stressful parts of traveling with a toddler.  There is no getting around it, toddlers add a new level of logistics to just leaving the house, let alone traveling half way across the country to get on a boat!  But, fear not, it can be done, and it can be fun!

The Baggage!

In a Herculean feat of pre-planning and sheer force of will, we are PACKED already.  Just finished last night.  And as you can see to the left, we got all 3 of us packed into 2 Large Suitcases, 1 Rolling Carry-On, and 1 "personal item" as Allegiant would describe it.  Also pictured is the Car Seat Cart.
Packing ended up being a bit of a hassle, and I have to put the blame on Allegiant for this one.  As much as I love the price we paid for our flights, some of the restrictions have made this more difficult.
Specifically, we are limited to 40lbs per bag (and none of them free).  We initially tried to get into 1 bag and ship some stuff to the hotel, but that didn't work out, and once we had everything in the 2 bags last night, we were over 40 lbs on BOTH bags!
So, we opted to add a carry-on bag (again, not free) to take our overflow.  Allegiant only allows 1 "Personal Item" per passenger free, and a Thirty-One Cindy tote is just the right size.  So diapers/snacks/toys will go in there, and off we go!
In all honesty, I think 2 big bags, 1 rolling carry on, and a cindy tote for 3 people for an 8 day cruise is pretty awesome!!

The Plane

This is not the first time I'll talk about flying with a toddler, and it won't be the last.  We've done both the LONG drive, and the LONG flight, and we know how this works.  
Faced with the decision between a 14+ hour drive to Florida, or a 2 hour flight direct from the town we work in to Orlando, the decision was easy!
Making it happen, however, is not that simple.  There are many things to  consider, and some of them are specific to this particular flight.
The way this is going to work for us, we are going to leave work about 3 hours before the flight takes off, go get B from the sitter, find some food, and get to the airport.  
We are lucky this time to have a good friend on the flight with us, so that will make the logistics of getting on the plane easier.  My hope is that one or two of us will be able to board early and get the seat in place while B and the 3rd adult wait till the last minute to get on the plane.
Our flight leaves ~6pm and arrives in Florida ~9pm.  This doesn't bode well for a little man who gets hungry around 6:30 local time.  So, he will have to eat early, and we will HAVE to have snacks on the plane.  We are planning to bring:
  • Applesauce Packets
  • Cheese/Peanut Butter Crackers
  • Goldfish
  • Cheerios
Since B is over 2, he gets his own seat (did before he was 2 as well), and that means a car seat.  Our Britax Marathon is coming, along with the Britax Travel Cart.  I am a little apprehensive about the cart on this trip, specifically because Allegiant charges for carry-ons.. I hope they will not consider the cart one when we take the seat off in the cabin.  I will report back for sure!
And the final logistical part of flying with B, or any toddler, is keeping the little one entertained.  A quick rundown of our plan is to distract him with:
  • Movies on the iPad
  • WRAPPED small toys
  • Books
That SHOULD get us through the 2 hour flight easily.  Though, its going to be landing right around normal bed time, so I hope we don't get tired/cranky B!

The Car

I don't have any snazzy picture to go with this section, oh well.  But once we get to Florida, we are gonna need a car.  We are renting from Avis for our pre-cruise stay.  Since we are traveling with friends, we recently upgraded to a minivan for the 4 adults and B to ride in.  As well, we will be driving from Sanford to Orlando International to pick up our 5th person once we arrive.  All staying at the same hotel.
There is not much to say, other than this warning from past experience:

Always check your car seat fit BEFORE leaving the car rental place or accepting the car.

We made this mistake in Hawaii, and it cost us a few hours of time the next morning to sort it out!

The Hotel

Both pre-and-post cruise, we are staying at the Courtyard Marriott in Cocoa Beach.  We've stayed at many a Marriott property, and many of those have been Courtyards.
A word of appreciation to these guys, we discovered an issue with fraud on our credit card last night, and the Hotel has been very accommodating in letting us have cards mailed to them so we don't have to travel without our Capital One Venture Visa... and a HUGE thanks to Capital One for finding the fraud and getting it resolved!!

Thats really it, we leave tomorrow!!!

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