My parents, bless them, were so kind as to take us on a week long trip to the Bahamas last month. Our original itinerary was to fly out of Chicago in the early evening to Tampa, stay overnight in Tampa, then fly out the next morning to Nassau and then another short plane ride to Eleuthera. It was our first time traveling with the kids. Their first plane rides. Ever. I was nervous. Excited, yes of course, but nervous.
Pre-trip I did all the googling, reached out and asked friends that had traveled with their littles what they recommended to bring, made lists etc. etc.
When the day came I was surprisingly calm, I dont know it I was being optimistic or if it was… just straight up denial, but I was not my normal overthinking self. I think having the flight be an early evening flight helped. We still had to drive down to Chicago, drop our car off at the garage and get the shuttle to take us to the airport, but not having to rush out the door right when we woke up made it less stressful.
Dropping off the car went just fine and the shuttle got us there with no problems. We were early, because we planned for the worst scenarios of traffic and such, just in case …but none happened so we had a few hours until boarding. The kids were bouncing around all excited, everything so new and different and worth exploring. At the same time they were pretty well behaved and stuck close to us which was a relief because Joaquim tends to bolt without warning. The ipad as many have said was a lifesaver. Between the shows and movies I downloaded on there and the free wifi use of Hulu, Amazon and Netflix streaming, there was always something to distract them when they started getting tooo stir crazy. Also shout outs to Color Wonder for on the plane, hot wheels for racing at the gate.
My parents met us at the gate a couple hours later ( they flew in from Minneapolis) and we were all so happy to see them! The flight from Chicago to Tampa went so so well! Mia did so soo good! I was so proud of that girl, she had been telling me for a couple weeks that she was nervous about going on the plane but that girl! She put her big girl pants on and did not show one tiny ounce of fear. She ended up loving it and looked out the window most of the time we were flying 🙂 Joaquim also did really well! He stuck to his trusty ipad and didnt seem all too interested in the whole flying bit. He did look out the window for take off but I dont think he really understood what was happening? And when we landed he said ” Go home?” like ok that was was a fun ride mom now can we go home? lol All in all though I was so relived with how that flight went. We arrived at the hotel in Tampa and all hit the hay before having to do it all over again the next day.
In the morning we all met downstairs for a nice breakfast before having to head back to the airport. Mia didnt really get a chance to see Florida since we arrived so the night before and it was dark so I took her out on the patio of the restaurant and showed her the palm trees and banana trees before we headed out. It’s so fun to show your children things they’ve never seen! To see it be discovered through their eyes, and listen to the questions their little brains come up with is just the best.
Once we arrived at the airport we were able to check in pretty quickly and got downstairs to where our gate was without any problems. Then the waiting started. We were there a bit early again, but that was expected. The kids were still kinda sleepy at this point so ipad watching kept them entertained for a while. Then came the first delay….then another…then another… they kept telling us it would be delayed more every hour or so…..so we took the kids upstairs to walk around for a bit and explore the small part of the airport we were in at the time. The gave us some vouchers for food, we got said food and ate it…more delays….more vouchers. Can we talk about how those are only good for food?! If you are going to have people stuck at an airport you can at least let them use the vouchers for a glass of wine or two…I mean I get where that can get dicey but put a limit on the drink vouchers and I think it would be just fine, or how about clothes or souvenirs to remember all those lovely hours spent at that airport? Just sayin…
At one point they informed us all the delays were because the plane had an oil leak at the other airport it was at and was getting fixed. At this point we had missed our connection and they were looking at getting us in another flight to Nassau and then finding a hotel for us there for the night since we wouldnt be making it to Eleuthera that day. At this point I think we were all still handling it pretty well 🙂 Another hour or so went by and the plane has arrived in Tampa but when they decided to check on the oil level ( because of the leak they had just had) they apparently broke the oil cap and didnt have another one there soooo they decided they were going to try and have someone drive one over from the Orlando airport…..to Tampa…..at 5 pm….. more time went by and they finally cancelled our flight. At this point people were getting pretty upset but the kids??? They were having a ball! They ran around, they played catch with a tennis ball with their Daddy, at one point Joa took a long nap in the stroller and Mia appeared with a wheel chair and proceeded to do a sort of wheelchair ballet that was equally hilarious as it was impressively graceful.
They finally got us on a flight to Miami where we then needed to take a shuttle to Ft. Lauderdale, stay there overnight and then fly out directly to Eleuthera in the morning. We lost a day in the Bahamas, but I will say I am so so proud of ALL of us for how well we all did!! I dont know if it would have been worse on the way home? When we got to the hotel in Ft. Lauderdale we were all exhausted and we had to get up a few hours later to catch our early flight to Eleuthera so we all went to bed pretty much the second we got in our rooms.
It definitely wasnt what we had planned for our trip down but we learned, we overcame and we are all now seasoned travelers.