The day before my husband and I booked our two-week, tailor-made, delayed honeymoon in Thailand, we found out our “we” was going to be a “three.” (Apparently amoxicillin is great for sinus infections, but not so great when your “sinus infection” is actually a baby.) Seeing as 36 hours of travel time is a bit much for a 7-month pregnant woman, we decided to go a different direction. All-inclusive in Mexico! Three hours of travel seemed much more reasonable. Then we got an e-mail from our OB: “Due to the Zika virus, we cannot advise you to take this trip.” My “second opinion” came from my former midwife in KC: “Don’t go, idiot. You wouldn’t be able to live with yourself if something happened.” Daaangit. But guess what ladies… we’re making up for our cancelled trip! We’ve got our passports in hand (yes, even the baby) and will be taking on Mexico, April 2K17!!!
So I’m bringing you along today for the planning of our first big family vacation!
What we’re going to bring:
We opted for nonstop flights on Southwest, as they were inexpensive and don’t charge for baggage (and baggage we will have.) Because it’s a beach vacation, clothing is already pretty minimal, so my husband and I will be sharing a large-ish suitcase. My baby, Banks, will be using a smaller, carry-on size suitcase for his clothes, toiletries, monitor, and noise machine. Will we use these things? I don’t know, but they’re coming. In regards to food, diapers, etc., we have been advised to bring only what we need for the first day or so of the trip, as we will be near a Wal-Mart where prices for pretty much everything will be the same or less. We will also stock up on organic pouches (I’ve decided not to make his food, for obvious reasons) and formula once we are there (I’m sad to report that my breastfeeding journey has ended against my will). However, we have been told to bring our own sunscreen, as it is heavily marked up. (Costco anyone?)
Transportation once we land was a big question for me, considering we’ll be landing with two suitcases, a stroller, pack n play, car seat, and whatever else I decide is imperative while packing at midnight the night before our departure. So, we decided to rent a car. We were given a ridiculously cheap quote per week, so no more anxiety of trying to hail a cab or take a bus with all our stuff, while trying to get to a location away from the hotel zone. Also, I’m super excited about the freedom this gives us to take day trips at our leisure.
Where we’re staying:
We decided where we’re going to stay before booking flights, especially considering our decision to opt out of the hotel zone comforts. If you have not utilized AirBnB or a VRBO properties, you are MISSING out. We used it as we traveled up the 101 from San Fran to Seattle and it has changed how we travel for the rest of our lives. As a result of this decision, our airfare and lodging for nine days on a beach front property is $1,500 TOTAL, which was around the minimum per person for 5-7 days that we looked at when going the all-inclusive route. With AirBnB, you have the luxury of booking a property where several people have stayed before, so you’re able to read their honest and unedited reviews. We also contacted the owner and asked questions regarding the specific needs of our family, such as if they have a water purifier, where the nearest grocer/market is located, and most importantly, the safety of our family. We are in a gated building, which is music to my ears.
Next for me was the medical piece. Finding out what if any vaccines we might need, what we will do in the event of an emergency, if I can have a prophylactic antibiotic filled for Banks before we go, in the event of an ear infection, etc. I’m actually in the middle of this piece and trying not to complain. My husband is self-employed and we have Kaiser. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had a great experience with KP, but I miss the small feel and personalization we received from other docs in the past. For example, I sent an email to our current pediatrician asking if Banks needs any shots before our trip (the CDC website is super vague about his age group) and I received an automated response that said “Contact the travel division.” This initially bummed me out because it’s a pretty simple question, right? Well, I “centered my chi” and have re-approached this with a better attitude, recognizing that, to be fair, we are going to have questions regarding a lot more than just Banks’ vaccines, and now when I contact the “travel division” I can funnel them to one place. (Patting self on back.) I know they will hook us up with any information necessary regarding care we will need beforehand and what we should do if we have needs while there.
I feel like the final planning details are joyful ones – notifying our bank of our itinerary, packing (shopping and borrowing from friends). I want a cheap raft with a sunshield for baby boy, trunks, a sunshirt, and hat. My new suits are already here, which means I have gym motivation for these next two months. I’ve got my kimonos, sun hat, beach bag, sunglasses, and Birkenstocks, and plenty more outfit inspirations on my “Trio takes Mexico” Pinterest board. I’ll spend these next couple months researching cenotes and ruins, day trips, and all of the fun that will inevitably ensue, as we explore together. Truth be told, I’m most excited to see my baby boy’s blue eyes reflecting the immensity of the ocean and knowing that regardless of the planning it took, we’re making memories and raising him with a heart for adventure.