Family vacations don’t come too often in the Munoz household. Most of the time it’s getting an opportunity for both my husband and I to get time off of work. So as Ava’s first birthday approached, we decided to make a quick trip to Galveston. Not the best of beaches, but it is the closest. We thought about other travel destinations like Austin or San Antonio, but Ava can’t ride in a car for too long before she start whaling. And there is no way we were taking a 2 or 3 hour car ride with a screaming child. This was our first overnight trip with two kiddos and for the most part we were prepared but there were some things we overlooked.
So I decided to help out other families, who may be thinking of taking a trip this Summer, by coming up with these 5 tips to make your vacation go little more smoothly.
- Pack enough clothes. Goes without saying right? Our trip was for three days and two nights, so I packed each girl four outfits. One for each day and an extra pair in case of accidents. Well, little did we know that Ava would get sick and vomit all three days. I had to make a trip to the hotel’s laundromat to clean her clothes. One night, she had to wear her sister’s over-sized t-shirt to bed. So always multiply the number days you will be gone by 2 and then add an extra pair (to be safe.)
- Pack enough snacks. This one we had down thanks to the hubs. First of all, do you know how expensive hotel food is? And how many times do you think my 4-year old asked for a snack? You want some chips? Got ’em. You want a juice box? Sure, hun, here you go. In the mood for some fruit? Got it right here in the hotel fridge. Win, win.
- Kid-Friendly Hotels. We stayed in a hotel that was very kid-friendly without even doing our research, so we lucked out. While waiting to check-in (we were almost 2 hours early) they had a table with goldfish, gummy worms and some blue juice (beach themed) to keep our girls entertained. At night, they had a blow-up screen at the pool where they played Trolls. Olivia had an amazing time. Also, check to see if kids eat free. Some hotels may offer it.
- Check out the attractions near you. This may also go hand in hand with picking your hotel. Lucky for us, the Rain Forest Cafe was right next door to our hotel (not planned.) The restaurant looks like a jungle and every 5 minutes the “animals” would hoot and holler and make all sorts of noise. And in the evening they had carnival-themed games in front of the entrance to the restaurant. There was also a makeshift volcano that would spit fire periodically. The girls loved that.
- Plan your day around nap-times. Trust me on this one. It. Changed. Our. Life. Ava usually takes a mid-morning nap and another around 5 so we waiting until about 11:30 to leave the house and make the 1.5 hour trip to the beach. She slept the whole way! We would go to the beach in the morning and head back to the hotel around noon. This also helped us avoid the weekend crowds at the beach. It was perfect! Ava slept like a rock after the sun and swimming. Then when she was good and refreshed we went on to the next activity. Ava can be unbearable when she needs a nap, so after a year, I feel like we really have this planning thing down.
Our vacation was extremely short, but it’s one I will never forget. Those mornings on the beach, making sand castles, collecting sea shells — are memories I will cherish forever. On our last day, we took Ava down to the beach to sing her happy birthday. It’s been a year of challenges but we made it through.
The joy on the girls’ faces made this whole weekend worth it.