Last week we flew down to the Daytona Beach area for a nice little Florida vacation – just the three of us! I love the beach and I want to make sure our little man loves the water like his Momma does. Last year we took him when he was barely two months old. He loved it! Never once did he cry when he was in the water and he loved napping on the beach all day. Then a month later we took him again, this time with J’s family. Again, he loved it! At least that’s what I’m telling myself – I mean, he was two and three months old. So he slept a lot, but he didn’t cry a lot either. I’ll consider that a win!
This year we kept it simple and it was just the three of us that went. We also only had a few days to spend, so we left on Tuesday morning and came home Friday afternoon. Since we weren’t spending a full week we wanted to fly. We thought a 2 hour one-way flight was a lot better than a 12 hour one-way drive. I packed a diaper bag full of snacks, milk and the iPad to entertain our guy during the flight. I was a little nervous traveling with milk through security, but it was a breeze. All they did was wipe it down for explosives and then send me on my way. ….Actually the first test on the way there came back positive (what?!!?) so the guy did it two more times and got negative both times. Whew!
The flight to Orlando went so smooth, our little guy slept the entire way. He started fussing a little as we were preparing for take off so I fed him his bottle and he passed out. He was out before our wheels ever left the ground. Then he slept the whole flight and I had to wake him up when it was time to get off the plane. Having a bottle of milked packed and ready to go was the key to such a great flight!
When we got to Florida we drove the hour to our hotel room from the airport. We stayed right on the beach, like right on the beach, which was awesome. It also made it super handy for nap time and lunch time with our little guy. We didn’t have to haul too much down to the beach each time. When we got into town we immediately checked into our room. It was only noon so we had the first day to run to the grocery store for a few things and then hit the beach for a bit.
We planned to just buy breakfast for our little guy, a few snack items for the evenings and then quick lunch ideas. Little guy was being his typical picky eater so he just ate whatever we were eating along with his pouches of food.
The second day we drove to Daytona Beach and toured the speedway. J has always wanted to visit the racetrack and they offered a 90 minute tour for only $25 a person. Considering the 30 minute tour was $18 a person, we thought the longer one would be well worth it. We took the tram out onto the race track, got to stand on the finish line and then take pictures in the winner’s circle. We even visited the hall of fame and saw last year’s Daytona 500 race car, which was pretty neat. I’m not really a racing fan, but I’ll do anything for J and since it was a dream of his to see the speedway then that’s what we did!
Our boy did great during the whole tour. He let Momma carry him around most of the time and then when he got too heavy he was happy to go to Daddy. We did let him walk some of the inside stuff and the stops in the shade, but I have a fear of heights so anything that was too high or required stairs then we carried him. Afterwards our little guy was exhausted, he napped in the car while we ordered sushi takeout and at in the parking lot…. the life of parents, right? Order nice takeout you don’t get at home just to eat it in a Lowe’s parking lot while your baby naps. Oh well, it was still tasty!
Once he woke up it was off to play some mini golf by the beach. We found this great place a block away from the water and the best part was we went on a Wednesday afternoon while school was still in session… no lines! I beat J by 2 strokes, so it was a pretty great game! We ended up saving about a $1 on our game just by not being prepared… win! Okay, mini golf was 13.00 a person, so I handed J $27 thinking that would cover tax and left my wallet in the car. The guy rang in our games and it was $27.64. I was so close! I told him I would run back to the car to grab another dollar and he somehow found a coupon to save us $1. So weird how that magically appeared… hmmm. I guess next time we play mini golf I’m going to try not having enough money to see if we can score any more deals!
The final day we spent at the beach and pool. We played in the sand, let the waves crash into us and tried out our son’s new life jacket in the pool. He wasn’t too crazy about the life jacket, but he needs to start getting used to it if he’s going to be swimming a lot this summer or on the boat.
Now I want to share how we saved money on food while traveling.
I carried a diaper bag full of snacks, pouches of baby food (well enough to get us through the day) and a bottle of milk. To keep the milk cold I packed a bottle cooler with an ice pack. Getting through security was a breeze. They just inspected the milk and felt the ice pack to make sure it was a real freezer pack. No question on all of the snacks or baby food. I even had a baggie full of Cheerios and they went through with no problems. Honestly, I think I overreact when it comes to flying with food. I know a lot of people do it, but every time I’ve tried I end up having to throw it away in security. So I must have done something right this time around.
Next, we packed more snacks and pouches of food for our little guy in our checked bag. I had baby food, snacks for our little guy, snacks for us. All I did was place them in clear gallon storage bags so in case anything leaked or busted then it wouldn’t get over everything. Before we packed I went to the store and found food. I figured how much we would need for the whole trip and made sure to save room for it in the suitcase. I knew the price of his snacks were going to be a lot higher than my local Aldi and I thought this would be a great way to save money.
We also only ate out once a day. We went to a grocery store once we landed to get some easy lunch items. Not every day did we eat lunch in the room, but we at least ate one meal a day in our room. It probably saved us $60 or more by doing that each day. We didn’t have to order food, buy drinks and pay for a tip. We just loaded up on yummy foods we don’t typically eat at home and then used the microwave in the room. For our one meal out we tried to find fun, local places since we don’t normally get fresh seafood all the way in Missouri.
Then it was time to come home. The flight home wasn’t as smooth as the flight there. Our little guy didn’t sleep at all… and all he wanted to do was play. We thought we were being smart by finding a huge open area at the airport for him to play around in, but I think that just ended up making him more awake and ready to go. Luckily we sat across from each other in aisle seats so we were able to let him walk back and forth between us. He actually did really good for being trapped in the same spot for over 2 hours. We kept him entertained with some snacks I packed in the diaper bag, the iPad and Daddy’s sunglasses. During take off he drank milk so his ears wouldn’t hurt too bad and then during the landing he ate a pouch of baby food to help his ears. I think the people around us were pretty grateful he was so well behaved compared to some of the other smaller kids on the flight. We totally lucked out!