In our family, Tom is the itinerary planner. And when I say planner, I don’t want you to think of someone loosely drafting a mental list of places he’d like to see, or being the one to hold on to the vital documents (that’s actually my job). No, Tom drafts multi-page outlines of each day and bullet points of what we will see. We aren’t obligated to stick to any of that if it ends up that we’d rather see something else, but it usually keeps us organized and feeling like we’re sucking every last bit of experience out of a place.
Lazy as I am, you can see why I delighted in our trip to Kauai: at 13 weeks pregnant and in the throes of vicious all-day-not-just-morning sickness, I had the perfect excuse to lie next to the pool, listen to the gentle ocean waves and suck down ice chips and virgin daquiris. (Though I did do a 4-mile hike/kayak trip. Barefoot. Who’s awesome?)
That being said, Tom wasn’t originally going to come with us to Seattle and Vancouver; he was able to do so because some former commitments ended up falling through, but the initial task of trip planning fell to me. Not only that, but planning a trip with a child just straddling the baby/toddler line. So it came to pass that I ordered Northwest Kid Trips: Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, and Victoria from Amazon.
YOU GUYS. I am not exaggerating* when I say that this is a vital purchase for any family planning to visit the Pacific Northwest. Though I did not get a chance to use the Portland or Victoria sections, the Seattle and Vancouver sections were indispensible.
Pros: specific itineraries for families by category like “artsy” or “foodie”, other points of interest by age group (babe in arms to surly teen), mention of library locations (a piece of advice I covered in my guest post on Everywhereist), tips for eating on the cheap, and a whole wealth of nifty stores and a kid-friendly slant on the major city attractions. I picked our hotel in Vancouver (more expensive than I had realized but not the book’s fault, prices do vary and it’s the reader’s responsibility to blah blah blah) and Maggie’s first chopstick experience was recommended as a cheap and fun eat with toddlers, to which I heartily concur.
Cons: No maps. Those are easy enough to come by, but I did borrow my friend’s copy of Top Ten Seattle and supplemented with a few tourist maps of Seattle and Vancouver from the ferry and our Vancouver hotel, respectively, but it might have been nice to have it all in one package. A minor quibble and not one that should keep you from buying the book. And for those of you who don’t travel without your iPhone or iPad, I don’t believe there’s an e-copy available. (I like to keep my paperback travel guides and make notes in the margins and doodle. It’s another souvenir, in my opinion. But that’s just me.)
We also lucked out in that the side trip feature location for Seattle was Bainbridge Island, where we happened to be staying. We overslept for the local market and things do close down around 5-7pm, but the ice cream and kid museum recs were a big hit.
In short: I planned an itinerary just like Tom, all by my onesies. And I only used this book and a few minutes with Google to reconfirm some addresses.
*Nor am I being paid, by anyone, to say nice things about this book. I say nice things because I want YOU to enjoy a happy trip, not because I’m getting a cut. Yes, even you. You know who you are. Buy the book.