In the beginning of the year, hubby and I decided that we would take Aleia on her very first tropical vacation and we decided to head to the happy island of Aruba. We decided the best time to go was in November when hubby wasn’t so busy flying. This was our first time traveling as a family of 3 and we were absolutely thrilled.
For the last 8 years it’s always just been B and I traveling together sans baby and staying in adult only hotels/resorts so this was a whole new adventure for us. Seriously, we were “those” people that weren’t extremely excited seeing toddlers board our flights (I know Karma is out for me soon and Aleia will be the toddler losing it on the plane haha.)
For this trip we flew from Vancouver to Phoenix (3 h 5 m), Phoenix to Miami (4 h 5 m) and spent the evening in Miami. The next morning we flew out to Aruba (2 h 55 m).
Long plane rides + an active toddler
I have to admit that in the beginning I was a little worried, only because Aleia at 21 months is quite active and loves to explore her surroundings. During our previous travels visiting my parents she was absolutely amazing in all 8 flights! Even when I traveled by myself with her, so I figure my luck would run out soon! But… she did absolutely AMAZING. She stayed in her seat the whole time, played with the new toys we packed for her, coloured in her book, ate snacks, watched some movies and napped. Her absolute favourite toy was a mini toddler Rapunzel from the movie Tangled that I picked up from the grocery store. She would show Rapunzel all the airplanes out of the window and would hold her little hand throughout the airport and feed her snacks.
Sun-kissed face + sand in between toes + a lot of relaxing
Aruba was pure bliss. The water was unbelievably green with a shade of turquoise and the sand was magical and soft. Although, November is suppose to be their rainy season, it rained maybe twice while we were there for 5 minutes and it was sunny the rest of the day. It was absolutely stunning and Aleia couldn’t get enough of being out playing on the beach. We would wake up and she would say to hubby and I “Let’s go ocean!
A few years ago during our honeymoon, hubby and I decided to purchase a vacation membership as a gift to ourselves so we can travel every year with our family. This membership would allow us to stay in beautiful hotels, resorts and villas all over the world. They partner with all the big chained hotels such as all the Marriott, Westin, Hiltons, Fairmont, just to name a few! When it was time to pick where we were going to stay in Aruba we just went on our Travel site and selected base on what we were looking for. We decided to stay in a low rise hotel right on Eagle Beach called La Cabana Beach Resort and Casino (Eagle Beach is 1 out of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world!). Our suite was a one bedroom suite with a king size bed, separate living room and a full kitchen. We were on the ground floor, which made things so easy for us because our suite was directly across the street from Eagle Beach and a one minute walk to the pool.
We started each morning with breakfast and as soon as we finished we would head out the door to spend an hour or two by the ocean where hubby and Aleia would throw sand balls at me while lounging and enjoying the sun. Doesn’t that sound like every mom’s dream? 😉 After playing and lounging on the beach we would head back to our suite and have some lunch and Aleia would go down for a 2 hour nap. After her nap she would have a quick snack and we would walk to the beach and enjoy the beautiful Caribbean sunsets. We spent most of our vacation lounging around the beach and rented a car for the day to explore the island a few days before we headed home. We visited the Butterfly Farm, Light House, Baby Beach and had the most delicious Peruvian dinner at Asi Es mi Peru.
Aruba was quite pricey coming from Canada as everything was in US dollars. Most stores, restaurants and businesses accepted US dollars because its such a tourist hot spot for many Americans. As soon as we arrived we did a little bit of grocery shopping and spent over $400 CAD dollars buying yogurt, cheese, pasta, snacks, etc.
Long trek home
Okayyy.. so we have been super lucky with Aleia being a good traveler and wasn’t so worried about flying home. This time our flights were from Aruba to Miami, Miami to Phoenix and Phoenix to Vancouver all in one day (total of over 10 hours of flying) and the verdict… AMAZING. I have to admit hubby was right when he said that I was the one who wasn’t doing so well on our last flight bahaha.
Overall, our first family vacation was absolutely memorable and we would definitely be coming back again!! Next on our list of places to vacation is Maui!
Aleia’s Carry On Must-Haves
- Snacks snacks & more snacks (Vegetable/Fruit pouches, Crackers, Gold fish, Yogurt Bites, Treats for bribing :))
- Play dough
- Coloring book, markers & crayons
- New little toys from the dollar store (this was an absolute hit.. she loved getting new toys to play with)
- Ipad filled with movies (she just recently developed an interest in a few movies such as Tangled, Boss Baby, Moana, Despicable Me 3).
Aleia’s beautiful mermaid swimsuit is from Whimsy Tails.
Aleia’s two piece short set is from Hatley.