Baby O’s First Big Trip

They say that traveling is good for the body, mind, and soul and I overwhelmingly agree. We knew from the start that we wanted to instill our love of travel and adventure into our children and in order to do so we started right away. At 6 months baby O was on a 14 hour road trip to Colorado. At 12 months another mini road trip to see Santa. And at 18 months, we decided to take baby O on his first international vacation to Mexico.

The unpredictability of traveling with a little one had me not only apprehensive but very anxious. So many unknowns, would he be okay? Fussy? Sleepy? Throw a fit? I was pretty confident in my ability to calm him down in any situation so we packed up and headed to Mexico with a dozen of our favorite people.

When I planned this international family vacation to celebrate our 5 year anniversary, I wasn’t anticipating a pandemic and I was completely unaware of how traveling with a toddler would be. Overall I was pleasantly surprised! Our first big vacation with our little one was a complete success! 1800+ miles away from home, 4+ hours on a plane, and zero meltdowns; he did so well!

Here are a few things I learned on this trip:

  • When traveling with a baby/toddler:
    • Pack snacks ! Not just for the airplane but for the resort/hotel as well. Baby O eats a lot and frequently. Snack are a necessity at all times of the day!
    • Keep them entertained. Whether your little one needs screen time, toys, or books, pack them all!
    • We took advantage of baby O being under 2 and he sat in our laps on the plane. Next time he will definitely get his own seat.
    • If possible, book the plane ride during baby’s nap schedule. Baby O slept on the plane both ways!
    • Pack extra necessities such as sunscreen and diapers. We packed enough but if we needed them, they were expensive at the resort.
    • When traveling to Mexico for the summer stay on the pacific side. The other side is swamped with seaweed from May to September. If I would have known this in advance I would have booked Puerto Vallarta instead of the Riviera Maya area.
    • Book a local photographer for family photos! It was inexpensive and easy to do.

We couldn’t have asked for a better first big trip with baby O. We soaked up the sun, enjoyed family time, and were able to watch our sweet boy enjoy vacation as much as we do.

Elephants!

I know I’m not alone when I say this school year was beyond exhausting for teachers across the globe. We have undoubtedly earned this years summer vacation. But, instead of spending our first weekend at home recuperating and decompressing, we packed up and headed to Fredericksburg to visit the elephants at The Preserve.

When I first heard that there was an elephant preserve in Texas I knew I had to go. Elephants are hands down my favorite animals and I’ve always been fascinated with them. After doing my research I booked our Air B&B and tickets to see the elephants. I figured this would be the perfect way to celebrate the end of a rough school year.

As always our Air B&B did not disappoint. If you’ve never rented an Air B&B I highly recommend you do so.

We checked in the night before so we had time to relax before the big elephant adventure. It was a good thing we prepared ahead of time because the Bearded One was a little under the weather. Lucky for us me and baby O had plenty of room to run around the AirB&B while the Bearded One rested up.

The day of our elephant encounter started off rainy but cleared up by the time we arrived. I was a little nervous that baby O would be scared of the elephants and I didn’t know what to exactly what to expect.

Each encounter only allows about 30 people so it wasn’t crowded and we all were able to interact with the 3 beautiful Asian Elephants (Rosie, Kitty and Becky).

They staff did an amazing job explaining everything about these fascinating animals. They were knowledgeable and made the experience not just educational but interactive and fun.

We were able to give Rosie a bath, take pictures with Becky, watch Kitty get a pedicure, and so much more. Everyone was allowed to interact with “the girls” and baby O wasn’t even scared!

Giving Rosie A Bath
Elephant Feet!

Overall I give this experience 10/10 and I would definitely do it again! (We might wait until Baby O is a little older and more attentive).

If you’d like more information please follow this link:https://www.visitthepreserve.com/ . The staff said they would soon be adding more animals and exhibits so stay tuned!

Up Next…

Having a baby has been the biggest adventure of our lives and I have loved every single minute of parenthood. But, traveling isn’t quite what it use to be. The Bearded One and I use to spontaneously book an Air B&B, pack an overnight bag, and hop in the car, which is an absolutely impossible task these days.

Don’t get me wrong, we still love to travel, and we plan to take Baby O on endless adventures, but it can get a little tricky these days.

First of all we have to plan our adventures a little better, and account for any little bump in the road. Will he be fussy? When will we need to stop to change a diaper? Can we stop by a restaurant or should we eat in the car? So many questions with a plethora of possible scenarios!

All of those little details can be worked out, we are quite flexible when it comes to travel and preparation. The biggest question is, where can we take a toddler?!

Not all of our old favorite stomping grounds are necessarily toddler friendly. While I’d love to take him to a local brewery, or outdoor concert, it just isn’t possible to expect him to sit still for a lengthy amount of time. Baby O is a wild one and he definitely needs to be entertained at all times. He needs to run and climb and explore his surrounds…which begs the question, where do we take him?!

We do have a few vacations already in the works but we would LOVE some realistic suggestions! (too tiny for theme parks, Disney is out of the question!)

We are for sure going to Mexico on our big Anniversary trip with family and friends, and we are excited and nervous about that one (first plane ride for Baby O)!

We’re also taking him to The Preserve, an elephant sanctuary only a few hours from home. I am super excited about this one and I hope he loves it! (Here’s the link if you’d like to check it out https://g.co/kgs/DhrhAp ).

If you have any suggestions, ideas, personal experiences or advice on fun toddler trips for this summer, please share! We want to make the most out of every moment with our littlest adventurer.