City and middle of nowhere with a baby
August 15, 2018 8:49 AM   Subscribe

I want to travel with my 6 month old to Seattle, Vancouver, and Vancouver Island (Tolfino). I am overwhelmed with the logistics of traveling with an infant in a city and then also a seemingly more remote place. Help.

I was planning to drive from Seattle > Vancouver > Tolfino. And then somehow back to Seattle to fly back home (East). Can I just rent a car in Seattle and take my baby along? What am I not thinking of? Also any place or food recommendations that are baby friendly are super welcomed, thanks.

Note- 7 days/6 nights in mid Sept
posted by inevitability to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In my experience, it's easier to travel with a 6 month old than a toddler who will dash away the moment you have to talk to the airline person at check-in. You have to pack way more stuff, like stroller and car seat, but it's doable. When my kid was a baby, flying seemed to cause explosive pooping - bring more dipes, wipes, and onesies than you think you need on the plane.
posted by theora55 at 9:10 AM on August 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Tofino is remote but only a 2.0 hr drive from where I live. There are tons of places to stop on the way if the baby and you need a break. Just in case you were worried if your car broke or you got lost you won't end up alone in the middle of the woods. Coombs is famous for their goats on the roof of their market. In Port Alberni the Clam Bucket is fairly good for seafood.
posted by kanata at 9:19 AM on August 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Also if you have problems feel free to mefimail me as I live in Port Alberni. You have to drive through my place to get to the beautiful west coast.
posted by kanata at 9:22 AM on August 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Make sure that you are allowed to take your rental car across an international border, and that your insurance (either your own or what you get from the agency) will cover you in Canada.

For the trip to Vancouver Island, you'll want a reservation through BC Ferries. You're going from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo, I think (there may be a better departure point on the Vancouver side).
posted by five toed sloth at 9:28 AM on August 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Also if you're driving straight to Sea-Tac from Tofino there's a private ferry between Victoria and Port Angeles, WA. If you drive on Highway 101 around the Sound and back up to the airport, you avoid the traffic in both Vancouver and Seattle.
posted by five toed sloth at 9:33 AM on August 15, 2018

If your baby has another parent, make sure that you have a notarized document authorizing travel into Canada and all of the correct ID for travel.
posted by jennstra at 9:47 AM on August 15, 2018 [3 favorites]

I traveled a lot with my child when they were an infant, and it was remarkably easy and enjoyable. I'd try to keep your plans at least a little flexible, but my kid was always a happy traveler.

That said, the worst part for us was crossing borders, and this was in the early 2000s. Like Jennstra says, if your child has another parent, get a notarized document authorizing travel, and if your child doesn't have another parent, take their birth certificate, just in case, and prepare yourself for the possibility that the border guards will interrogate you about the circumstances of your child's birth despite the certificate.
posted by mishafletch at 10:17 AM on August 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

I would suggest using a baby wrap to carry the baby (rather than, or maybe in addition to, a stroller). I found that easier on trails and in airports. It doubles as a breastfeeding cover-up, a baby floor covering for tummy time, and an extra thermal layer.

When you are making hotel reservations, call to see if they have a play pen for baby to sleep in (and if they say no, ask about a crib).

I would say most restaurants are baby friendly and breast feeding friendly on the Island. Try to eat before you guys are both too tired/hungry to keep it together.

Plan for rain. It might not, but it might. At that age, baby wore a water resistant coat, I wore a larger rain coat (over the baby wrap, done up over baby) and sometimes brought an umbrella. West coasters go outside, rain or shine.

Have fun!
posted by Sauter Vaguely at 11:08 AM on August 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Omgosh, thank you all. I’ve been so worried about traveling with her, and especially about how to get to and from Tofino, and if it was doable with a baby (in a car on a ferry?! Oi.)

Yes, the other parent is most likely coming along. Appreciate that follow up.
posted by inevitability at 11:20 AM on August 15, 2018

I’d suggest the Port Angeles to Victoria ferry it’s a nice trip and it would let you avoid a lot of Seattle/Vancouver traffic and the lines at the border. But if you choose to go through Vancouver the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route is closer to the border than Horshoe Bay-Nanaimo which is in a suburb north of Vancouver and would mean driving through the whole city.

BC Ferries lets you reserve a spot which you should do as it’s no fun having to wait for the boat. Once you get on it shouldn’t be too bad the ferries all have cafeterias and places to sit so you won’t be stuck in your car. There are also elevators from the car decks so you can take a stroller more easily. Have a good trip!
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 11:40 AM on August 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

We did Tofino with baby and it was fine! The island is rainy so pack your rain coats.

Black rock resort in ucluelet is amazing! It’s not far from Tofino.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:06 PM on August 15, 2018

But if you choose to go through Vancouver the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route is closer to the border than Horshoe Bay-Nanaimo which is in a suburb north of Vancouver and would mean driving through the whole city.
There's also Tsawwassen->Duke Point route, which takes you from near the border to just south of Nanaimo and means you can skip the whole Victoria->Namaimo part of the drive (two hours). That's what I'd suggest if you're crossing the land border.

I prefer taking ferries across the border though (either Port Angeles->Victoria or Anacortes->Victoria will get you to Vancouver Island), rather than having spend an hour inching forward in a car at the land border. At least while waiting for a ferry you can get out of the car and walk around or find some shade, and the border officials are a lot more laid back.
posted by borsboom at 2:33 PM on August 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you're in Ucluelet the pizza at Abbondanza was amazing. Counter pickup or eat-in. Cash only. Very casual, but when we were there they had a choice of two kinds of locally foraged mushrooms to put on your pizza for like, $2 extra, which got you two giant handfuls of amazing hen of the woods mushrooms on a perfect pizza.
posted by deludingmyself at 2:53 PM on August 15, 2018

Mid-September should bring some rain, Dear God, we're all hoping for it. The smoke from fires in B.C. are covering Vancouver, Bellingham, Seattle .... right now to the "Dangerous" level of particulate matter in some places. If there's still a pall of smoke (check with NASA), talk to your baby's doctor about masks for the baby, at least. This is really some serious shit.
posted by kestralwing at 9:48 PM on August 15, 2018

Oh no. The fires seem really bad. I may need to rethink this. Thanks for the heads up.
posted by inevitability at 5:43 AM on August 16, 2018

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