Selfishly, this post is more for me than for anyone else. I need to remember these things for our next extended holiday with Baby Loquacious, because my brain is a sieve these days and I know I will have forgotten the details once we're back in "real life" mode again.
* Rent baby gear (crib, high chair, car seat, toys, playpen if possible, mobility toys) - no sense trying to cart a nursery across the border!
* Mylar balloons! - Cheap and fun, and a good distraction at Wal-Mart when shopping or paying takes forever
* Pack light and expect to take an extra bag back - Even without souvenirs (and we aren't buying any for anyone, sorry), you know you're going to end up picking up toys and books and clothes for Baby L along the way. Expect this.
* Rent a car - Don't listen to anyone who says that everything is walking distance and therefore a vehicle is unnecessary; buying 20 pounds' worth of beverages, a box of diapers, and anything that doesn't fit in the undercarriage of a stroller requires a car. Even if it's only 5 minutes away.
* Check to see what kind of flooring is in your rental home/hotel - if it's tile or something equally slippery and hard, expect to buy some foam tiles to pad it down lest you want to see how other countries deal with infant head injuries
* Bring baby-proofing things, especially for those electric sockets!
* Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids sunscreen lotion - remember that this is the only one Baby L will allow on her face without a fight...plus it's not tacky/sticky and doesn't paint her like a geisha
* C.A.R.E.S. Harness - once she is allowed to use this thing, it is going to make flying a roomier experience (provided we can pay for or score a free empty seat again)
* Baby Advil - takes away the pain for Baby L, which takes away the pain for you ;)
* Buy extra baby wipes - you will be using this on everything from her face and hands to the tables that she eats food off of
* Plan to spend extra time at the car rental place post-arrival, and plan for it - putting in a car seat is a pain in the a$$ and you and Hubbs are going to be spending an hour doing it (more if you bicker about the install and he refuses to read the manual)
* Pay for a text or data plan across the border - you will be using it for sure, especially if you plan to separate to shop at Wal-Mart again
* A few familiar toys are a good thing, but since you're going to be buying stuff for Baby L along the way, don't pack so many to begin with
* Baby snacks are a good bribe and/or distraction when Baby L starts freaking out in her car seat. Just sayin'
* Save your quarters - you will be doing laundry at least 3x/week unless you packed heavy and your Hubbs doesn't work out
* Breakfast - it's the easiest meal to eat at home, and Baby L loves her sausages!
* Don't bring stuff you have to iron. You won't be ironing.
* Pack light for yourself - when the same few items get washed and reworn over and over again anyway, why pack the other stuff that just sits in the closet/suitcase unworn?
* Do pack at least one fancy outfit or two, in case Hubbs finds a swanky awesome AYCE lobster buffet at a place with a dress code again (and for Hubbs - pack a pair of long dress pants)
* Don't buy the gym membership on Day 1. Buy it when/if you actually go.
* Don't plan to see a bazillion tourist sites during the trip. Pick two or three (depending on length of stay - 1 or 2/week is reasonable) and do those. Baby L needs routine and there's always something that results in an impromptu trip back to the grocery store or Wal-Mart, so you're not actually going to have as much time as you think
* A visit to the pool or the beach is a major excursion if you have a little kid or a baby; Baby L fell asleep in the bath after her pool time, remember? Twice.
So, if you've read this list, you may have drawn a few conclusions yourself. The first is that traveling, at least for us, involves a lot of Wal-Mart and shopping. (Yes, that is indeed how we roll). The second, and related note, is that the costs add up. They totally do! If you plan to be spending >2 weeks somewhere that isn't home, and you don't like to spend an hour or two of your vacation hours cooking before each meal, you will end up eating out at least once a day and spending money whether it is for your shopping habit, groceries (not the kind you have to cook, but drinks and snacks and fresh fruit and the like), Baby L, or random crap (like dish detergent, laundry soap, and garbage bags that contain the smell of poopy diapers). And finally, an extended vacation is only relaxing if neither parent works during said vacation, and both are committed to making it a relaxing holiday.
We've had so much fun these past few weeks that I'm pretty sure Baby L thinks we've moved, and returning to our regular routine is going to be a major downer. The upside is that since we really enjoyed our trip, we are committed to making it happen again in a couple of years :). Yay!