Since I continue to get a lot of hits on my blog from folks searching for tips on how to travel with an infant, toddler, or as a family, I thought I would share tips and details from our recent trip to Costa Rica. I have written a few versions of this post before, but as those of you with children know, as kids grow, so too do the details.
GETTING TO COSTA RICA
Checked Luggage: 1 carry-on sized suitcase and 1 medium-sized suitcase (John had his and George and I shared the larger one). Since I have Premier 1K status with United, there was no charge to check our luggage on either leg of the trip. I would have gladly paid the fees for this though because not hassling with suitcases on board is ideal. We usually have too much going on to fiddle with that kind of stress and (literal) baggage.
Gate-checked Luggage: We checked George’s travel Uppababy G-Luxe stroller at the gate just before we boarded and used the corresponding Uppababy traveling bag.
Carry-ons: My large MZ Wallace carry-all bag (my small cross-body purse was inside), George’s Skiphop monkey suitcase and John’s carry-all bag. G and I each carried an extra change of clothes in our carry-ons in the event of a mishap. We also each brought swimwear on board, just in case we were separated from our luggage and desperately needed to swim (forgive me, I am a paranoid person/mother). Fortunately, we didn’t need to use them. We also brought G’s back up car seat with us – a Combi Cocorro. George sat in this seat on the plane. Now that George is 2, he is officially required to have his own seat in the plane, per most airline standards.
Airport: We flew direct from Houston (IAH) to Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR).
Aircraft: We upgraded ourselves to the Business First Cabin when we booked our tickets. For our seating arrangement, John took an aisle seat and George and I sat across from him (with G in the window seat). The row seating was 2-2, so this was the best arrangement for us. We had the same cabin and seating arrangements on the flight back to IAH.
Food at IAH: Since our flight left from Terminal E at IAH, we had plenty of options for food. However, since we were going to be served lunch on board our flight, we only picked up a few bottles of water and snack items (fruit and crackers). We also packed some healthy food (back-up) options for G and me from home (errr…the hotel).
United Club at IAH: Terminal E has a large Club and we popped in to a diaper change and to organize our bags. I have a membership with the Club due to my frequent travels for work. The Club has literally saved me with snacks, drinks, plugs for charging electronics, agents to rebook and upgrade me on flights, soft seats to relax in, etc. Needless to say, this has been a great investment for me, and I am glad to be able to utilize it when I am traveling with my family.
Holiday Complications?: None that we could see or feel. We left on the 28th and returned on the 2nd of January, so maybe we missed the rush?
Transport: We rented a car from National. In hindsight, we should have booked a car service with the hotel. We initially thought we might make some day trips to other beaches, but we enjoyed the resort so much that we never left. Also, the rental process and return of the car were such a hassle that using car service would have saved us from so much tension, time lost and general life drama that we didn’t need. Lesson learned.
Hotel: We stayed at the Westin Playa Conchal. I will post a full review later this week, but (Spoiler Alert!) we loved the resort and would love to return in the near future.
TRAVELING TO HOUSTON
Food at LIR: Although we knew we were getting a meal on the plane, we packed as many snacks as we could. We added a few pieces of fruit and bottled water at the airport. There was a Quizno’s at the airport, but not much else in the way of hot food options. Needless to say, we were glad to have planned ahead.
United Club at LIR: Not a chance!
Getting through the airport: We took advantage of having G’s stroller and pushed him around in it. This made getting through the airport much easier, especially with all of the delays we encountered.
I am always open to travel tips and suggestions, so please feel free to share yours with me!