We spent the week after Christmas in Panama. A lot of friends asked us why we picked Panama? We picked Panama because 1.) it is a relatively short flight from the US and good for a one week vacation 2.) it has beautiful beaches 3.) it is warm in December 4.) it has interesting sights and culture and 5.) it is not super expensive (although prices are higher the week after Christmas, than other times of the year).
Panama is a great destination with kids, not only for the above reasons, but also because there are so many kid friendly activities once you are there. During our week, we spent two and a half days in Panama City and four days on the beaches near Bocas Del Toro. There is also amazing hiking in the rain forests inland (near Boquete), but we decided we didn’t have enough time to go there as well (reason to return!). Here are our top 5 activities with kids we loved in Panama:
Having grown up in San Francisco, I have had a lot of time to think about what I like and don’t like about the city. When I was in high school I couldn’t wait to move somewhere else. The East Coast, with its beautiful fall leaves, snow white winters (skiing!) and warm summers, sounded perfect. However, every time I move away (and I have tried three times) I find myself moving back within only a year or two. Sure, San Francisco has its pitfalls; traffic, high cost of living, too many hipsters, but there are so many things that I love, that it is hard to stay away. There are so many reasons to love SF that I thought I would share, in a series of love letters to sf, some of my favorite parts of the city.
After big D arrived and I went back to work, I had the typical mommy guilt. The feeling of not having enough balance in my life, not enough time with my kid (then it was only 1). Big D was always one of the first kids at daycare and one the last kids to get picked up. Ten to eleven hours at day care, a long day; I felt so bad. I started the conversation with my manager then. “I want more time with my kid”, “I want a more flexible schedule” “I want to work part time”. Although there was no one in our company doing it, my manager was totally open to the conversation (surprising) and totally supportive (even though she didn’t have kids herself). AMAZING! I told her I could be patient, but I wanted to start the conversation now.
Last Sunday night we did something out of our normal routine. We had an early dinner, the kids put on their jammies, and we headed out to take some pictures of the golden gate bridge at sunset. It doesn’t sounds like anything amazing, but we had so much FUN! It was one of those rare moments, where everyone is having a good time. The kids were running and skipping all over the place, and us parents were too.
The third week of March we spent on the big island of Hawaii in Waikoloa. It has probably been over 15 years since I last visited, the big island, so we wanted to explore the area around where we were staying. When you are in Hawaii, it is hard to get too much beach time, so we checked out some other beaches nearby:
I had never thought about purchasing my very own selfie stick, but were thoughtfully gifted one recently. Most of the time I forget to bring it with us anywhere, but when we do, it makes for some fun moments. Of course the kids always want to be the one to use it. Here are some of our recent attempts from our trip to the big island of Hawaii the second week of March.
How do you keep your little ones busy on the plane? Particularly lap infants? Big D has always been a great traveler, starting when he was little. A couple of books, some snacks, crayons, and Play-Doh and we were all set for any plane flight from 1 hour to 12 hours.
When Tater Tot came along, for our first flight as a moving toddler (9 months) I packed our carry-on the same way. The only thing I forgot was that he is a much more active kid and would only want to run up and down the aisles, ignoring all the carefully packed books, snacks, and crayons; good thing it was only a one hour flight to Seattle. On our next flight (5 hours to Hawaii), I packed everything I could think of from post-its to books to silly putty to annoying electronic gadgets and so much more.
There are so many amazing sights to see in Paris that it is hard to fit it all in one trip. However, what we parents want to do, may not be what our toddlers want to do. I may love spending the entire day at the Louvre looking at art, but add our 18 month old big D to the equation and my dream becomes a nightmare. Here were some of our favorite sights/activities from our 2012 Paris trip:
So how does one successfully travel with kids under age 5 and still enjoy oneself? After many domestic and international trips with one and then two kids under the age of five, we have learned a lot. Here are my top 5 travel tips for traveling with kids under age 5.
1. Set expectations in line with what is achievable; or get rid of expectations all together. In general, We do not set a lot of expectations for our trips or even every day of the trip. We will set a loose itinerary and have read up on the sights/activities that we want to do when we travel, but do not have a lot of expectations on what I MUST see or do on a trip; which leads to #2.