Now that Xavier is a little over two years old, I’ve started thinking about how and where we will vacation in the coming few months. The idea of cruises, short trips, long haul flights, and the humble staycation - well, it all changes dramatically as soon as your baby hits two. Suddenly your mini human has an opinion and a limited supply of patience. Thinking about new destinations has made me dig into our travel memories from over the past couple of years. So right now, I’m feeling inspired to share some of our best experiences. Even though they’re not super recent, I know this information is still very valuable to any parents who might be thinking of taking their toddler to Vegas… wait, wtf?
I remember being single in vegas, married in vegas, but I sure as hell never imagined myself traveling to vegas single again, with a baby in tow. I’ll bet a few (or a lot) of you are reading this wondering “why the eff would you take your toddler to Vegas? Are you sick?” ...and I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t have similar thoughts when I was baby-less seeing parents pushing strollers around the strip. Las Vegas may not be the most conventional place to travel to with a toddler, but just in case you feel ballsy like me, here's my list of things to consider before you make the trip…
Pack a kettle, or buy a cheap one from Walmart to heat baby food and mix formula...
Without taking this advice, you might be paying approx. $100 AUD to hire one for 4 days. Thankfully, staying at the Aria with Xavier included a complimentary refrigerator - this would have been an additional cost if I was baby-less. My toddler is a serious snacker, so I packed the fridge full of fresh fruit, yoghurt, cheese sticks and organic food pouches so that he was always good to go. Another factor to check when it comes to your hotel booking is making sure you have a bathtub. If you don't, traveling with this one by Munchkin might make things so much easier!
Hope you love walking…
If you already have kids who require car seats or boosters, then you know that hopping into an Uber with ease is a thing of the past. When I arrived in the US, I purchased a car seat via Amazon and used it for the main road trip from LA to Vegas. The strip isn’t really the place to take the car out of parking unless you’re going to the outlets or to experience a distant attraction. So make sure you’ve packed the most comfortable walking shoes you own and get ready to navigate your way through casinos that actually don’t want you to leave. The strip was entertaining for Xavier, starting with the water fountains at the Bellagio as well as the pirate show at Mirage - best part about that is, it never gets old… he was happy to see these attractions every day because he was beginning to recognise words like “Ship” and “Water fountain”. Just plan to view the earlier shows, as the crowds get super intense after dark. Shame I didn't find the wine/chocolate fountain.
Walking the strip can be challenging with a stroller so always use the lifts and don’t be tempted to use the escalators
I mentioned above that the casinos don't want you to leave, and this becomes more obvious when you're pushing a stroller around. Just about no casinos have exits that put you right onto the strip. This is intentional because they would rather you stay and discover all the offerings within, like shows, food options, bars and clubs… but when it’s time to leave, always look for the elevators and avoid braving the escalators when using a stroller.
Be extra mindful of your child’s comfort if you’re spending lots of time out in crazy weather.
Always have extra water and something to shield little one from the elements. I used a lightweight muslin blanket to shield him from dusty wind as it was far too hot for the plastic one that came with the stroller. It’s easy to forget that Las Vegas is a pop up town in the middle of the desert, so strong winds, extreme heat and sunburn are realer than real. If you happen to be traveling during the harshest weather seasons, perhaps plan time at the indoor malls and attractions. Xavier’s favourite attractions were the spinning water vortexes at Crystals Shopping Mall, wandering through the Venetian and shopping at the Fashion Show, but only because there was ice cream involved.
Not all restaurants have high chairs so check ahead
When you have a child, you soon discover that fine dining and upmarket restaurants are only possible if you’re leaving your baby with a sitter. So get ready to dine at all your favourite American food chains! (not a bad thing when you have favourites like me... I’m looking at you Benihana). Aria’s casual diner had high chairs which was a relief because that was the easiest place for us to enjoy a bite without being made to feel like I was a psycho for bringing my kid to Vegas… The waiter who served us was so happy to look after Xavier and told us about all his own experiences with his babies. Nothing was a problem for him and he made us feel so welcome. Major tick from this mum.
Massive thanks to my friend Shayben for capturing these moments like a boss.