With two big dogs in our family until recently it's never been easy for us to just jump in the car and go when we wanted to get away. We always had to pack for four even for a little overnight visit to see family or, if the dogs weren't going with us, we had to make arrangements for sitters, pack an overnight bag for the dogs at the sitters and find time to drop off and pick up our girls at the sitters. We had to pack extra food, bags (the doggie equivalent of diapers), leashes, bowls, medicines and more. When we traveled with the dogs, we had to find hotels that would permit dogs - particularly large dogs. For some reason hotel managers seem to be under the misguided impression that dogs over 35 pounds are somehow more of a menace to hotel rooms or guests than the little yappers (no offense, small dog lovers) they more frequently allow.
Yet with all of the experience we've had caring for and traveling with living beings that relied solely on us, preparing for this trip is a little different. We're getting a taste of the future with shades of the past. We still need to make all the special pre-travel packing arrangements and even hotel arrangements (request a crib), but for the first time, we not only need to pack for another living being, we also need to consider how to entertain someone other than ourselves on a trans-Pacific flight (rather than just a long car ride). We have to think about checking virtually all of our luggage instead of figuring out how we can fit everything into carry ons since we'll already have our hands full (literally and figuratively) and we have to worry about how to get home from the airport (taxis normally don't have infant seats). Yes, things are going to be different and we can't wait!