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Visiting the Rockies with a 9 month old.

Chicago, Illinois
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Visiting the Rockies with a 9 month old.

Hello, we are planning a trip to the Canadain Rockies in late june. From there we plan to go to Vancouver and then fly out of Seattle to Chicago. We are planning to land in Calgary June 26th and fly out of Seatle July 9th. Original plan was just to do Vancouver and Seattle, but now I am salivating over the Rockies.

The key is we will have a 9 month old with us plus a 9 year old. Is the Rockies doable with a baby? I know we will be giving up on a lot of the outdoors stuff by having a baby with us. Can we still do some hiking with the baby? Can we still do the key sights via a car? Would we get to see a lot of wildlife? Do you recommend just sticking to Vancouver and Seattle and then do the Rockies at a separate time? I was thinking 4 days in the Rockies , 4 in Vancouver, 2 days in Seattle, rest spent in travel time. Thank you for your input in advance.

Banff, Canada
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1. Re: Visiting the Rockies with a 9 month old.

Babies are born in Banff regularly, and their parents go hiking, visit key sights and see wildlife with them along. If you have an appropriate backpack carrier and a good car seat, and plan ahead appropriately for food, bottles and diapers, and arrange ahead with your hotel rooms for an appropriate sleeping arrangement, there are very few things that a 9-month-old will stop you from doing. Perhaps avoid fine dining establishments after 7 pm., and don't go rock-climbing with the baby on your back. But I'm sure you remember all this from raising your 9-year-old.

Of course, if your baby is colicky or has a health issue of some kind, then travel of any kind would be very stressful.

You might want to ask yourselves, though, whether a multi-base holiday will be stressful for you at this time in your family's life. Packing up the car and unpacking and checking in always takes longer with baby stuff along. You get less sleep when the baby is in a new crib each night. Perhaps flying into Vancouver and out of Seattle, with several days in each location, would be more restful.

Be sure to check for cross-border one-way car rental issues, whichever choice you make.

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Visiting the Rockies with a 9 month old.

As the parent of two kids, 10 and 12, I can appreciate how eager you are to get out and see these places, but I do think you all have a better time when the kids are older. Your two kids have a bigger gap between them, so that makes it tougher because by the time your little one is a good age to travel, your older child may not enjoy it so much any more (I am dreading that day!)

A 9 month old won't be walking, so you either have to carry or put them in a stroller or backpack every time you get out of the car, which may deter you from getting out of the car at all at some stops. They will still be napping in the afternoon, which will also impact your schedule.

I found traveling with my kids before they were about 4 years old very difficult, and for the most part, postponed larger trips until they were older. However, you can always make the best of any situation provided you accept the limitations presented by your baby. One of you is probably going to have to miss something to stay with the baby at every stop, so hopefully you will trade that off so that you are both making the best of it.

Going somewhere is always "worth it", but I think your visit will be affected by having such a young child with you. You may end up feeling like you need to come back when your children are older, or even when you are eventually on your own again. Good news is that the Rockies will still be there when you get back.

Edit: Banff posted while I was writing that, and its all true. Only you know how much effort you are willing to put into this to make the most of the trip.

Edited: 06 February 2013, 18:14
Jasper, Canada
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3. Re: Visiting the Rockies with a 9 month old.

Baby or not, do keep in mind that the Canada Day long weekend (July 1) is a very busy time in the resort towns, and booking well in advance is essential. If you happen to be in the Rockies on the holiday, both Banff and Jasper have a full slate of family-friendly activities. Jasper's Canada Day website is here: www.jaspercanadaday.com

Edmonton, Canada
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4. Re: Visiting the Rockies with a 9 month old.

i'd rather do it with a 9 month old that can be strapped to your back then a 3 or 4 year old. the only thing i'd say is it looks like you are trying to fit a lot of travelling into too few of days.

the way children learn to travel well is just doing it. you never know what the future holds so don't pospone things.

Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: Visiting the Rockies with a 9 month old.

Thank you Banff for the reassurance that ppl in Banff have babies too..and no I am not planning any rock climbing expedition..:)

We have travelled all over the world with our oldest son since he was a baby, and this little one will do the same. My concern was how accessible the main sights were and if we could do it with a baby.

We have dropped Seattle, so this should be doable. We are definitely coming to see the majestic Rockies!!!

Thank you all for your prompt response. Tripadvisor forums are the best.

Banff, Canada
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6. Re: Visiting the Rockies with a 9 month old.

Dropping Seattle was a good choice -- I think it will make your whole trip more do-able. It will also avoid cross-border car rental issues. Enjoy your planning, and don't hesitate to come back with more detailed questions as you focus in on your choices!

Edited: 07 February 2013, 01:47
Hull
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7. Re: Visiting the Rockies with a 9 month old.

I can't be alone in reflecting on your statement that 'this little one will do the same'.

V67 has put the case politely that this plan is a tad unwise from several angles, your baby's health being the most important I hope you agree?

Children of that age haven't had the time to develop their main organs much in particular their lungs to cope with the significant altitude change he/she will have to cope with (and be unable to tell you what the problem is).

The real 'elephant trap' here is the fact that (as krp says) you will have to book which will commit you despite any health issues he/she develops in the interim.

As the grandparent of a (then) 7 month old who contracted bronchiolitis and only narrowly got to hospital in time, despite being in an urban area, I urge you to reconsider.

Jasper, Canada
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8. Re: Visiting the Rockies with a 9 month old.

ATSF, when it comes to elevation, the Canadian Rockies are not the Himalaya, nor even the Colorado Rockies. The very highest peak in the Canadian Rockies is under 13,000 feet (4000 m) and there are only about a dozen peaks in all that are over 11,000 feet. Not that peak height really matters, since the OP won't be climbing them. ;-) The town of Banff is at 4500 feet (~1400m), Lake Louise is at 5600 feet (1700 m). The town of Jasper is at the same elevation as the city of Calgary - 3500 feet, or 1100 m. Unless the OP takes a gondola to the top of a mountain, the highest elevation they are likely to get to is about 6800 or 7000 feet (if they go to Bow Summit, on the Icefields Parkway).

These, by the way, are the same atlitudes that airplane cabins are pressurized to - yet I don't believe that there is any general advice that most babies should not fly in a modern airplane. boeing.com/commercial/…environmentfacts.html

Obviously if the OP's baby has any health issues, they should get clearance from their doctor before travelling. One of my children also had bronchiolitis as an infant - but it has nothing to do with elevation; it is usually a viral infection.... you can get those anywhere.

We have very good health facilities here in the Canadian Rockies - Jasper, Banff and Canmore all have hospitals ... and compared to visiting a busy city hospital, a trip to the emergency department here is a breeze. Through all the various bumps, stitches, illnesses etc. that my kids got through their growing up years that necessitated a trip to emerg., I don't ever remember waiting more than a few minutes.

Edited: 07 February 2013, 17:42
Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: Visiting the Rockies with a 9 month old.

ATSF, I didn't even think about elevation issues. But as KRP mentioned we should be ok. Our kids safety and health are our biggest priorities. I didn't mean to slight anyone but we tend to travel a lot. My husband is planning a Malaysia/Indonesia trip for December, and this baby has no option of staying home..:)

Both times my son had to go to the ER was when he was home, for stitches..:(

I hope we all have safe and healthy travel.

Hudson Valley
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10. Re: Visiting the Rockies with a 9 month old.

We were hikers before our daughter was born and continued doing the same after she was born, so I'm a little biased. Personally, I think hiking is fine with an infant. In fact, some ways it is easier. We would regularly do eight mile hikes when she was under 1 and she was fine (obviously we were cautious, did not hike in inclement weather, etc etc). She would usually sleep most of the way to the top, wake up in time to enjoy the summit and eat, and cat nap/check things out on the way down. Our favorite carrier was the Ergo carrier (soft carrier).

When our daughter was 1.75 we spent a month out west, including two weeks in the Canadian Rockies (camping, hotels, and even backcountry camping in Lake O'Hara and Assiniboine). We hiked over 125 miles on that trip with her. It was an awesome vacation! I love the Canadian Rockies and I think it would still be enjoyable with a baby. Plus, with two parents you can always play tag team if need be.

Oh, and we did have a medical issue on our trip, but it was my husband. He slipped on a wet rock while hiking (and carrying our daughter, who never woke up through the whole thing) and cut his hand on a rock (kind of a freak accident). He ended up getting stitches. *knock on wood* we've never had a medical emergency with our daughter on vacation.