This year, we started what we hope will become a tradition. Because we didn't have a lot of vacation time, we didn't want to go all the way to Europe over the holidays, since the kids' jetlag negates a lot of the benefits of a vacation. We suggested to our families to meet "in the middle" in the Caribbean. Pros: less travel, less jetlag and warm weather! Cons: nothing really, except some health concerns and the question whether everyone across our families would enjoy the vacation. We met with my parents, my in-laws and my brother in law and family. It was a first in many ways: first time with all family members, first time in the Caribbean. It turned out to be a great idea! We picked a wonderful hotel in Jamaica, the Franklyn D Resort, which I describe in detail here. It was so family-friendly that it took away any issue that could come from traveling with young kids. I have to say that I had some health concerns going to Jamaica with 2 young kids. But they proved to be completely unjustified. The hotel even had drinking tap water for Charlotte's bottles. Yes, really! No mosquitoes, clean facilities, healthy food. Really, nothing to complain about. We even got to check the quality of the medical support in Jamaica since we brought 2 sicknesses from home (I got strep throat and Charlotte had bronchitis). The doctor we met was really knowledgeable and got us back on our feet really quickly. Outside of 2 of us being sick, everyone had a great time. The grand-parents got to do tours around the island, and they saw jungle, local animals, nice beaches, etc... Daniel loved being able to swim, build sand castles and get ice-cream on demand. He had a lot of new experiences, from going down the huge water slide to taking the glass boat and taking a few first steps at swimming. Charlotte seemed to enjoy herself despite the bronchitis and being thrown into a new environment with a lot of new people. She loved splashing in the pool and learned how to clap her hands. This made her very proud. My husband and his brother went all the way to the other side of the island to check out Pelican Bar, a shack in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by diving pelicans. Very unique! As a family, we went to Dunn's Waterfall, which was fun climbing. I wish I had seen more of Jamaica, but unfortunately, my strep throat came in the way. It was still wonderful to be able to know everyone had a great time, and not to worry about the kids needing more attention.
After 10 days traveling in Turkey with our 16-month old son, we found that going to far-away countries with a toddler is not as difficult as many people believe. Yes, we also had our own concerns, and we had set our expectations that we might have a rough time. Yet, we had decided that it would be worth the effort since we were very eager to visit Turkey. As it turns out, most of our concerns weren’t justified, and we found that Daniel had a great time in Turkey. Below are a few things we have learned in our trip. • Jetlag : Interestingly enough, it was easier for Daniel to adjust after this complex trip than after a “simple” journey to Germany. After a 26-hour journey (2 flights and one 2.5 hour car drive) and a jump of 10 time zones, internal rhythm is typically quite upset for everyone, big and small. We flew with the night flight from San Francisco to Frankfurt, so Daniel had a good night of sleep behind him when we landed in Germany. From then, we paced his naps until the follo