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Family Vacation – The things I have learned

  • By: Jessica Wilkerson
  • Published: June 28, 2019
Family Vacation

As some of you know, my family and I recently took our first real family vacation. When I say “real,” I mean, not going somewhere to visit family, for a wedding, or for other extended family related activity.

In January, one of my girlfriends asked if we wanted to go to Galveston with her and her family. They also have a son and daughter very close in age to our kids. Our families already spend a great deal of time together – our sons have been in the same class since they were three years old – so I had no real reason to say no.

After months of planning we were finally ready to go on our first family vacation….with another family.

We were on an 8:30 am flight out of DIA. So we packed the car the night before and had the kids sleep in comfy clothes. By the grace of God, we were all up and out of the house by 5:00 am. I thought we were in the clear and things were going to go just as smoothly at the airport and in the air. Boy was I wrong!

We were flying Southwest and I was unaware that they do not assign seats. It’s basically a free for all once you are inside the plane! I have a one year old and a seven year old, who has never flown before. We were able to get my son and boyfriend seats together. That left me and the baby, who did not have her own seat. She was flying on my lap. At home, she is constantly on my lap anyways so what could go wrong?

The airplane took off and everything was still good. But when we got to the point where the pilot turned off the “fasten seat belt” sign, my daughter, Locklynn, started screaming. I had planned for this, though. She had a little backpack with small quiet toys and some snacks. Nope, that didn’t help. I tried distracting her with everything I could. Nothing. She was mad and not letting up. Thankfully, everyone around me was very tolerant and patient with us. Meanwhile, my son, Nicholas and his dad, were 5 or 6 rows behind us contently watching their tablets without a care in the world!

We landed, got our rental car and headed towards our final destination, Galveston, TX. We checked into our hotel and started to actually have some fun! We hung out on the beach, went to Schlitterbahn Waterpark, went on a dolphin tour, ate amazing food, took a tour of NASA and just had a great time.  After five days with the four of us in a hotel room, it looked like a tornado had gone through there multiple times! I took some time out of the fun and tried to regain control of our things as we prepared to leave the following day. I managed to get all of our stuff packed relatively neatly and headed to the beach one last time.

Meanwhile, back in Colorado, there were tornadoes and record breaking hail, to all of which we were completely oblivious.

Day six arrived. We got up and packed everything and everyone into our tiny rental car and headed to the airport. On our way to the airport, I got notification that all flights into DIA had been cancelled. I called the airline and was on “hold” for close to three hours. Meanwhile, we were still in the car with the kids and no plan. I finally got our flight rebooked for the following day and called the hotel to see if they had a room available for that night. Thankfully, they did and we turned around and went back to the hotel. My boyfriend, meaning well, advised me not to bring everything up to the room, just the essentials! He doesn’t realize that EVERYTING is essential with a 1 year old and a 7 year old! As we headed out to dinner that evening, it was pretty evident that we were all tired and ready to go home. Both of the kids were so done being shuffled around and out of their element, and their attitudes reflected that. I still feel awful for our server that night! She certainly earned her very large tip.

The next day, we headed to the airport, for real this time. I purposely kept the baby awake in the car hoping to not repeat the flight there. Fail again. She cried the whole way back! Apparently, she is just not meant for air travel just yet.

So, here are some things I learned:

  • Never fly with your infant on your lap. It is always better for everyone involved if he/she has their own space. Plus you can strap them into their car seat on the plane so hopefully they fall asleep.Bring Benadryl. Just kidding…..kind of.
  • Seven days in the same hotel room with your family is too long. I love them all to pieces but being that close for that amount of time was definitely trying.
  • Always go with another family. It was great to have another mom there. Being able to tag team the kids was awesome.
  • Always opt for a larger than expected vehicle. We reserved a full size sedan. Turns out, “full size” is a matter of prospective. My perspective and Budget Car Rental’s perspectives are quite different.

Overall, it was a great experience. It was so nice to just get away and have no real plan or agenda, just taking each day as it came. We’re planning on this now being an annual trip.