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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!