Holiday in paradise: Home for the rest of the holidays

Today was a travel day. Our flight left at 8:00 am and we had to get up, travel to the airport, fill up with gas, return the car, check our bags, and get through security. We got this, but it was a process. I saw rain in the forecast in Atlanta, where we connect through, so I hope we don’t have any issues or delays getting home. Getting upgraded to first class on the long segment was a nice start.

Vacations are fun, relaxing, hectic, stressful, and bliss all bundled together.

I wasn’t too concerned about the airport being super busy the day after Christmas (but you never know). We backed into our day based on our departure time of 8:00 am. We wanted to be at the airport to check our bags two hours before the flight left, then we padded an hour to drive, fill up with gas, and return the rental car. Everyone woke up accordingly and we needed to leave the AirBnB by 5:00 am for our plan to work. Not a problem.

Everyone in the family was on point–despite the early morning. I’m glad our experience traveling with the kids is paying off dividends as we learn how to properly communicate our expectations. Now that they are older, they are starting to see things from a different perspective. Travel is not all sunshine and roses, but we do the best we can and the kids get that.

For the most part, we were packed up and ready to go on time. We stepped outside to a little bit of humidity. Were the weather gods telling us we got a sweet week of onshore winds and now it’s about to get sticky the morning we leave? It was 5:00 am, so I expected a little stickiness. The roads were desolate, we found our gas station (I made sure we weren’t getting scammed–they will sometimes cover up the screens, take your payment, and you didn’t get that much, if any, fuel). We passed the test. Onward to the airport we drove.

We returned the rental to Hertz, to much chagrin about the rental insurance scam. We noticed a bus to the airport was ready, so we decided to divide and conquer. Coco and I took the checked bags on the shuttle to the terminal, while Zander and Merri Beth stayed behind to return the car (we were third in the queue). This worked out perfectly! By the time Coco and I checked our bags (no lines at Delta), we went back outside and guess who was walking up? MB and Z. Now, it was time to casually make our way through security, we have plenty of time. 

Getting through security was a non-issue. For the other families I was watching, not so much. Once on the other side, we went through the duty free shop where MB gets all excited for the inexpensive (tax-free) vanilla. She scored three big bottles for like $20 (US). We probably could have got a better deal at a grocery store, but you know, in the moment!

Security and vanilla

The entire family was finally together at the gate and they started boarding. Merri Beth and I got upgraded to first class. Thank you Delta (and AMEX). The kids slummed it back in Delta Comfort all the way to Atlanta.

Once we landed, getting through customs and border control was painless. No lines at all, but we had some leftover deli meats in a checked bag that got sniffed out by a hound dog. We weren’t intentionally trying to bring some exotic meats back, we just didn’t want to waste our groceries. We tossed it, moved on, and continued on our journey in terminal F.

Riding a big escalator towards daylight, we were back in the United States with our checked bags on their way to the next plane. We love to walk the terminals in ATL instead of taking the train if we have time. We had a two-hour layover and we cleared customs in record time. We had time to walk!

Fast forward, we grab expensive airport food and make our way to our gate. The food is consumed, our time to board arrives, and we are up in the air back to Raleigh. We land safely at RDU, wait for our bags, then hop on the bus to the economy lot. It was raining, but the temps were mild in the 60’s. The Jeep was ready to take us on the road and in the blink of an eye, we were back home.

Vacations are fun, relaxing, hectic, stressful, and bliss all bundled together. We do laundry, clean the house, clean out the fridge, and prep our home, before we go on vacation. Bonus, we come home to a clean house, only to unpack and do laundry and go grocery shopping (again). But, we thought ahead this time. There was an order of Hungary Root delivered before we left that served two purposes: Dinner the night before we left and dinner & food for when we got back. Simplifying our lives is awesome.

This was our adventure to Cancun, Mexico. We hope you enjoyed following along and if you have any question you think we can answer, chime in on the comments. Gracious!