We’re Going to Cuba!
“You can’t go to Cuba with kids!” This is what everyone told me as I made preparations for Diari’s first birthday trip. Well, if you know anything about me, I research, I plan, and I do what I set my mind to. I ha ve been itching to travel and I have always wanted to go to Cuba. Who better to explore the world with than my mini-me? I wanted to make sure I had the tools to keep my baby safe, though.
So, I visited her doctor and asked a million questions about traveling with to Cuba with kids. Dr. Shayla gave me the okay as long as I packed all of Diari’s meals. Since Diari wasn’t able to get certain shots because of her age, we had to be extra vigilant. In the end, Dr. Shayla assured me that Cuba has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Phew!
Packing with a toddler is probably the hardest part of traveling with a toddler! When I tell you I packed Diari every meal for every day in Cuba, I mean I packed snacks, juice pouches, baby food, water gallons, and a thousand other toddler goodies. Let’s not even talk about the number of outfits I had to pack to go along with those meals, since Diari likes to eat and feed her clothes too! That left space for about two dresses for mommy and maybe a turban! But it was so worth it, since anytime Diari saw us eat in Cuba, she would want a taste. Those snacks came in handy because I could enjoy the Tastes of Cuba without depriving her.
All in all, I packed one large carry on suitcase and a mini black carry-on (meeting Spirit Airlines’ dimensions). I put all our major valuables in the black luggage I kept with me, and I traveled with Diari in her stroller. Diari was actually like an E-Z pass in the airports because we got to cut all the lines. Plus we got to check her stroller in at the gate for free! Yay for easy motherhood!
1. Longer Prep Time
It was impossible to race out the door between chasing Diari, dressing her, and trying to keep her clean while getting myself ready. So, we had to go with the flow and avoid scheduling hard and fast timed activities.
2. Earlier nights
Because I’ve been trying to keep Diari on a routine sleep schedule, I couldn’t explore late into the evening. My solution for that was to plan in advance to get us dinner and make sure I factored in travel time when we went out.
3. Maintaining Diari
One of my biggest challenges was keeping Diari cool in the hot Cuban sun, while keeping her warm in air-conditioned buildings. I took several dresses and skirts, but I also packed a sweater, a couple pairs of tights, her favorite blankie, and, most importantly, sunscreen.
4. Tourists Attacks!
The #1 issue I had traveling with my cute toddler in Cuba is that everyone (Cuban locals and tourists alike) wanted to take pictures of her cuteness. Oftentimes, people wouldn’t even ask me to take pictures and a lot of older people kept trying to kiss her, so it was a struggle to be nice and polite while keeping my baby safe. My solution: I wanted to let Diari safely explore, so I just followed her closeby wherever she went. If an area became too crowded, I preferred to leave, for her safety.
By the way, it’s hard to find a bathroom changing table, so be prepared to be flexible and creative! Whenever Diari said “Uh Oh,” I immediately started scanning for mock changing tables, because that means “poo poo” in Diari-speak! You’ll also be hard-pressed to find a car seat in Cuba. Those picturesque classic cars are usually not baby-friendly. So if you’re not prepared or you’re too scared to carry your baby on your lap in a moving vehicle, then get over that extra luggage, mama, and bring a car seat with you.
Overall, traveling to Cuba with my toddler was the best decision I could have made. Diari and I made so many beautiful memories. She might not remember everything, but I will, and I have so many amazing photos to share with her when she gets older. I would suggest this trip to anyone with a passion for travel, and a toddler to boot.
It is definitely possible to travel (to Cuba) with a toddler. Luckily, I also had help. I went with two friends, which helps take the pressure off. Along with the research I did before my trip, I was able to give my baby girl a beautiful trip for her first birthday and I fulfilled one of my biggest travel dreams.
Moral of the Tale:
You can do it too! If you have any questions, I would be happy to share more of my experiences with you.