Surviving Her First International Trip With Baby to Mexico — Happy Cinco De Mayo!

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Laura Huertas recently traveled to Cozumel Mexico. In honor of Cinco de Mayo, we decided to post her Mexico trip now. Laura learnt a lot about traveling with a stroller (definitely worth investing in an umbrella stroller!), taking a ferry with baby, how to pack for a beach trip, and much more! 
Laura y familia de viaje

 

Where did you travel to and how old was your baby during the trip?

We traveled to Cozumel, Mexico for a wedding celebration. It was our first international trip with our 9-month-old baby girl. This was a big trip for us and was quite stressful too.

 

Were you traveling accompanied? 

Yes, with my husband and 9-month old baby girl. My husband is originally from Chicago, I am Colombian and we live in Chicago.

 

How did you plan and pack for this trip?

I had to pack for eight days, which, to me, felt like I was packing everything in my house.  I did try to condense my packing as much as I could.

Here’s my packing tip:

I always pack all my daughters’ clothes, blankets, pajamas, sock, shoes and  accessories in one big see-through plastic bag; and use a separate bag for all her toiletries. It really makes unpacking much easier.

Laura al aeropuerto

 

So what were your key essentials for this trip?

There were concerns with regards to the Zika virus, heat, drinkable water, having enough diapers, baby food, sun protection and overstimulation. To deal with these worries as best I could, here’s what I brought:

Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 50 – for her body

California Baby Broad Spectrum SPF 30+ Sunscreen Stick – for her face

Gardencense Mosquito & Bug Spray– Deet Free

– A sun hat!

– Our City mini stroller

– A well-packed diaper bag

Beech-Nut Organic Naturals Stage Baby food ( 7 jars)

-45 Pampers brand diapers – they didn’t sell Pampers or Huggies where we were. 

KidCo Peapod – This is basically a popup tent with a full zip enclosure with a thin mattress underneath.  It is recommended for ages 1-3, but i have been using it since my daughter was four months.  It folds up into a thin disk that is just a few inches thick and about the diameter of a large dinner plate, which is perfect for traveling. I mainly used it at the beach. My daughter likes to go in and out of it and it’s ideal for naps. It includes UV protection. I love it.

We also called the hotel months in advance and asked them if they had a crib…. They did! That meant one less thing to pack.

 

What airline did you travel with and how was your experience with them?

We traveled with American Airlines. It was our first time flying internationally with them. Overall, the flight went well. We scoured an empty seat on the first flight and had a layover in Dallas. The flight was delayed for an hour which meant I had to keep my baby up a bit longer than expected. Feeding her and having her play did the trick!

Laura y familia sobre AA

Here are a few things regarding the stroller policy that I was not aware of and would like to share with my fellow traveling parents:

1. If you’re traveling with a larger stroller and want to take it past security, American Airlines will weigh your stroller.  The maximum weight allowed is 20lbs. Ours was 18.6 lbs.

I was a little nervous but because I don’t have an umbrella stroller, which is definitely lighter, I decided to risk it and traveled with our city mini stroller, which by the way, we absolutely love!

2. Take note that a tag which says ‘TSA approved’ should be placed on your stroller after it has been weighed. I did not know about this “special tag” until we were in the security line and one of the TSA staff asked us for our stroller tag.  I was so confused. He instructed me to go back to the AA counter and request a stroller tag (Ugh!!).  So I schlepped back to the counter with the stroller to get the tag, wearing my baby all the while.

3. In Dallas, right after they announced that boarding had started, I went to the AA counter to get my stroller gate check tag and was told that it would be given to us when we were ready to board. Halfway through the conversation, the lady at the counter spotted my stroller and asked if I knew I could only fly with an umbrella stroller. I was aghast as nowhere in the AA  stroller rules states that we can only fly with an umbrella stroller.. It only states that the stroller must not weigh more than 20 lbs. I was so mad! I told her, “well this stroller is only 18 lbs”. She looked at me as if I was lying to her. I didn’t even pay attention to her and just left!

 

So would you recommend fellow traveling parents invest in an umbrella stroller? Do you think you’ll buy one now to avoid these types of problems?

Yes, definitely, we are going to invest in an umbrella stroller! It will make the whole process much easier.

 

Talk to me about Cozumel! Any specifics for traveling there with bebe?

Cozumel is beautiful and very peaceful.  It is known for its beautiful reefs and has a gorgeous beach. If you like to snorkel, that is the place to go.  

It’s very easy to rent a car or take a taxi to go into town or to any of the main areas.

It’s also quite a musical town, with bands playing on Friday nights, where you will find the locals there grooving to the music.

bebe cozumel

Bebe in front of the KidCo Peapod tent.

Cozumel is also very baby friendly. Most places are very accessible to little ones.

I had to visit one of the grocery stores because I ran out of diapers and was impressed to find the wide range of baby products they carry (they even have organic baby pouches!)  The only odd thing was that I couldn’t find the Pampers brand. I only saw Huggies, and other Mexican brands.

So if you ONLY use a specific brand, make sure to stock up!

 

You also took the ferry. How did that go?

We flew back on Southwest Airlines from Cancun, Mexico. That meant that we had to take a 45 minute ferry ride from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen and from Playa del Carmen,  a 40 minute bus ride to Cancun’s airport. Lets just say… it was interesting.

Laura y ferry

 

Tip: Be prepared for seasickness!  I tend to get seasick. But I am never prepared for it.

My husband and I took the ferry two days before flying out from Cancun, without our little girl. We had to go to Cancun for our “Trash the dress” photo shoot. When we met with our photographer right before getting on the ferry he said,  “The ocean is ‘spicy’ (choppy, rough) today, I hope you don’t get sea sick!”

Well I did and it was horrible! Completely horrible. And that’s when it hit us. We were going to be taking the very same ferry two days later with out baby girl – what were we going to do? My husband and I were so concerned that we even thought of the possibility of flying on a private airplane. But that option was definitely out of our budget. The photographer shared with us his experience with his little one and he admitted that his daughter did get sick the first and second time. Her pediatrician prescribed her some Dramamine. I considered the possibility, but my husband was not comfortable with that. When we took the ferry back to Cozumel after the photoshoot, we decided to eat something heavy on the ferry and that seemed to have helped. So our plan was to feed our LO on the ferry ride. It seemed like we’d made the right choice, my baby girl did great and did not show  a sign of being seasick. On the other hand, mommy and grandma were not so great… yuck!

In conclusion, if you are traveling and a ferry ride is involved, be prepared. Talk to your pediatrician beforehand or buy something OTC for motion sickness. It will make the whole transition much easier. 

 

What would you say was your greatest success on this trip?

I think we did great. We survived a wedding  weekend and our first international trip with our little one. This was her first time meeting my side of the family and I was worried that she was going to be overstimulated but she actually did great!

 

All in all, our trip to Cozumel was a total success! Our little one is an excellent traveler and adapted easily. Looking forward to the next one!

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