2016-A Year in Review

When the year started, we didn’t really have many travel plans except our big trip in August to Thailand. However, as deals started showing up, we ended up visiting 5 countries and 4 US cities this past year! Here are some of the highlights.

January

Orlando never topped the destination list in my book, but when my husband found out he’d be going for a conference there and staying at a Disney hotel, Milana and I tagged along.  We spent some time at the theme parks, visited the Crayola Experience (Milana’s favorite, she’s such a little artist!), and explored some sites in Orlando.

April

In April, we went to the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica.  It was a fun adventure filled with wildlife, beaches, and great food. We even visited an animal sanctuary called the Monkey Farm, which is a nonprofit organization that rescues monkeys and other animals and helps the homeless in Costa Rica.

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May

Over Memorial Day weekend, we headed up to Vancouver, Canada.  Dave and I have been there before, but it was Milana’s first time.  It’s definitely a very kid-friendly city! We walked around Stanley Park, explored Granville Island and even visited the Richmond Night Market, which is similar to the night markets in Asia.

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July

July 4th weekend we decided to head to Puerto Vallarta.  It’s our favorite city in Mexico and we have been there once before, though this was Milana’s first time. We loved it so much we are going back this upcoming July.  We stayed at the Marriott, which is a great hotel. It was a month before our trip to Thailand, so we relaxed by the pool and explored the downtown area without doing too much. It was a great trip!

August

Our big trip for the year was Thailand. We had been wanting to go for years and finally made it happened!  We went to Bangkok and Koh Samui and had a blast.  I told Milana about the Hello Kitty House before going, and that was the first thing she wanted to do and that’s exactly what we did.  Such an amazing place, filled with great desserts and food. A must when in Bangkok!  Kidzania is another must when in Bangkok with kids, Milana liked it so much we are going to the London one in March. We also visited the Gateway Ekamai mall, where there was Snow Town.  Nothing beats sledding in nearly 100 degree heat! And of course, what’s a visit to Bangkok without visiting a market? Milana loves shopping so this was right up her alley! And last but not least, temples. So many temples! We visited the Grand Palace and it was spectacular.

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As a side trip, we went to the island of Koh Samui for a few nights.  We explored some amazing beaches (head to Silver beach if you have little kids!), took a cooking class at a local’s house and ate what are apparently the world’s best pancakes.

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September

Dave had a work conference in Dallas in September, so Milana and I decided to tag along.  I wasn’t sure what to expect kid wise, but it turned out to be a super fun trip!  We visited the arboretum, which was all decked out for Halloween with hundreds of pumpkins.  We also went to Klyde Warren Park, which has an awesome playground. And had afternoon tea at the American Girl store in Dallas.  It as a great few day getaway!

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November

Every year over Thanksgiving week, we travel somewhere overseas, where they don’t celebrate the holiday and nothing is closed.  It’s also a lot cheaper to go to places that don’t celebrate! Last year we went to Panama, and this year to Cartagena Colombia.  We split the trip up with Miami, Milana’s second visit there.  In Miami, we walked around the South Beach area, checked out the beaches and visited the local children’s museum.

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Cartagena is the perfect 3-4 day getaway. We stayed at the Hilton, which had several awesome pools and explored the walled city, which Milana loved.

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December

The last trip of 2016 was to a place I never thought I’d go on purpose, Sacramento!  I wanted to take Milana on a Polar Express train ride, and Sacramento’s had great reviews.  The ride was awesome but Sacramento also surprisingly had a lot of kid-friendly things! We went to a local playground, visited Fairy Tale Town and a local children’s museum, and took a trip to the Jelly Belly factory. It was a great getaway!

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This past year was definitely a fun travel year.  Milana grew so much in the last 12 months and now has opinions about where we should go, which is why we are heading to Paris in March!  So far for 2017, we have Orlando/NJ booked for January, Denver in February, London/Paris/Madrid in March, Puerto Vallarta in July and the Cook Islands in August.  We are hoping to find a good deal for Argentina/Chile for Thanksgiving week and will take some short, last-minute trips when deals show up.

What was your favorite trip of 2016 and where are you headed next year? Comment below!

 

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26 comments

  1. Wow! You packed a lot of incredible trips into 2016! I think it’s amazing that your daughter is getting to experience all these things, that photo of her eating calamari is amazing! I never would have dreamed of trying food like that as a kid!

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  2. Ah that is a good thing that you were able to travel a lot this year! Bangkok looked amazing too. I would definitely have to go back there soon! Wishing you more adventure this coming year 🙂

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  3. So many adventures in one year wow. Cool idea about the trip for thanks-giving. Next time come to Bali 🙂 I was also in Thailand this year and of course did a cooking class so good!

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  4. What a lucky little girl Milana is, and Paris next year… how exciting!
    2016 saw me tick off my dream adventure, over landing Africa for 3 months from Nairobi to Cape Town!
    2017 will probably see me paying off the rest of said trip (oops), doing quite a bit of travel around my own country and start saving for a big world trip in 2018 🙂

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  5. Wow what a jam packed 2016 you had! I know what you mean up bargains popping up that are too good to resist. That’s about how my 2016 went as well lol. I love Thailand and when we were in Phuket with friend who had two little girls we had to visit the Hello Kitty shop every day 😀

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  6. Looks like a great year you had! I love the photo of Milana at the animal sanctuary in Costa Rica – how precious! Next time you’re in the Dallas area I’d highly recommend visiting Austin if you haven’t been yet. That’s definitely my favorite city in Texas!

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  7. What a fantastic year it looks like! Your photos look amazing…your daughter is a great model. I remember reading about your adventures in Thailand… I totally want to check out the Hello Kitty cafe, it sounds like so much fun. Milana is so lucky to be able to explore so much during her travels. Travel is truly some of the best education!

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  8. for me 2016 was more or less the same. Only 1 big trip planned but by the end of the year, I travelled more than ever! Crazy! I love the destinations you visited with your family. The girlie dress looks lovely in the pumpkin patch.

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  9. Such a great year you had! Sometimes we’re so excited about destinations abroad that we forget the wonderful places right in our own country. So it’s great to know you spent time travelling around the US as well 😀 Happy travelling for next year!

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  10. What a fantastic round up! Seems like you had a wonderful year of travel. I just did Thailand in December with my husband and we LOVED it (how good were those “pancakes”?! my husband was addicted). Dallas is home, so I’m so glad you enjoyed your time there. When I was growing up, we didn’t have Klyde Warren yet, but every time I go home to visit, I love making a trip there. Hope you have another great year of travels, love!

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  11. What a great year! I love seeing people who still travel even after they’ve had kids. It also gives me hope that I’ll be able to do the same when the time comes!
    How old was she when you first took her on a trip outside the US?

    We travelled a little bit less than usual this year, but we did spend a pre-honeymoon in Barcelona and went back home for a month and tied the knot (we’re from Québec but live in Germany)! And we’re planning our big honeymoon in Sri Lanka which should be in March!

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    • Congratulations! We started flying when she was 6 weeks, but in the US (family is a 6 hour flight away so we went there a lot at first). Then when she had just turned one, we started flying internationally and haven’t stopped. Though her first trip was to Cabo in Mexico and that’s only a 2 hour flight so the trips to see family were much longer flights!

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      • Wow that’s great! Thanks for sharing your experience. She sure is a very lucky kid to be able to get to discover the world at such a young age!

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  12. Your daughter is such a cutie! Lucky girl, gets to travel a lot and experience a lot of wonderful things 🙂 Orlando is definitely a great place for kids, and it looks like she had a great time on your big trip to Thailand. Those will be memories for life 🙂

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  13. Looks like you had an amazing 2016. I feel my favourite trip was to South Korea in 2016 which marked the start of my world tour. All the best for 2017. I hope it is another great one.

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  14. What an exciting year! Mine always start out the same–little to no plans and then BOOM I’m all over the world. And I don’t blame your daughter at all, the Hello Kitty House would’ve been my first stop too! 😉

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  15. What an exciting year! Mine always start out the same–little to no plans and then BOOM I’m all over the world. And I don’t blame your daughter at all, the Hello Kitty House would’ve been my first stop too! 😉

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