Soooooo, traveling with a 15 month old.
As the over thinker that I am, I was exceptionally nervous about taking Lily with us to a 3rd world country: "What if she gets really sick? What if she comes home with a parasite? What if she doesn't sleep the WHOLE time? How long will the screw up her schedule for once we get home? How am I going to protect her from such intense sun? How are WE going to enjoy ourselves with all of this worrying???"
The funny thing is...babies are so adaptable. They really, really are.
I honestly began packing for this trip about 5 days ahead. I made lists. I analyzed. I obsessed. The morning that we left we were like a well oiled machine though and we pulled out of the driveway only 5 minutes late, at 5:35am. We had to wake Lily up, of course, but instead of the cranky baby I expected, she was just spaced out looking at us the whole 2.5 hour ride to Orlando like, "What.the.hell. you guys???". She was good and did fall asleep for a good 40 minutes.
Once we arrived at the airport, she did get a little confused and cranky but nothing major. She just wanted to be able to run around, which she did around the gate.
The plane ride was...interesting. She wasn't terrible. She definitely could have been a lot worse but she was a little high maintenance. I made the mistake of booking our seats all wrong. So, picture an airplane with 6 seats across, with the aisle separating in the middle, like this:
A B C | | D E F
This is how we sat:
Me, Dustin, Stranger | | Stranger, My Mom, My Dad.
BIG mistake. She wanted to go back and forth between us and my parents. Thankfully, good old Uncle Randy sitting next to us was more than obliging and even handed her off a couple times. Mrs. Douche Canoe next to my parents...not so excited about the trip.
But Lily did sleep for another 30-40 minutes on my lap which I NEVER thought she would do.
On the other side, after the 2.5 hour plane ride, we had another 2 hours of traveling ahead of us by car. Again, she slept and was amazingly content with all of this. We stopped for pizza just outside of our destination and she was as happy as could be.
During the week, she was pretty good. She slept in a rock hard pack-n-play with ease, napped well, swam, walked around, hiked, ate new things...she really surprised me. She was a little more fussy overall, just being out of her element, but nothing unbearable.
The travel home was torture with our plane being delayed almost 2 hours, but yet again, Lily wasn't overly phased. She rolled with every punch and just seemed content just to be with us. We were THAT family with the screaming toddler for about 40 minutes of the plane ride home, getting sided eyed by everyone within 2 rows...but hey, everyone needs to experience that at least once in life. It's a rite of passage or something.
Needless to say, her schedule didn't even really hiccup when we got home. Her and I were both the chosen ones to come home with some nasty cold/flu virus though, which we're still on the mend from, but we'll live.
Overall, was vacation redefined? Yes. Absolutely. We traveled with 17 other people, none of which had a baby with them. I would be lying if I said I wasn't envious of all of their free time.
Was it worth it though? OhmyGod, yes. It was so much fun to bring Lily to a place that we love so much and see her in that environment.
If I were asked for a piece of advice for traveling with a 15 month old, it would have to be this:
Bring the grandparents.