As promised, I told all of you that I would be posting more about our family trip to Croatia! It was an amazing experience and I am so glad that I finally put my fears aside and agreed to go. Although I’m feeling this liberated kind of way now, I definitely wasn’t always feeling this light and free.
This post may contain affiliate links. These links showcase items that I feel my readers would truly love. If my readers end up purchasing any item, I earn a small commission. This is how I keep Naturally Nicole running and am still able to offer my readers free content.
This was the first reason that I kept putting off the trip. My Husband would bring it up every month. “Nicole, we HAVE to go see my family.” But every time I thought about traveling to another country with two small children, I got a huge pit in my stomach and could feel the stress just ripping through my veins.
Preparing thoroughly REALLY helped. Here are some of the travel essentials that I couldn’t have gone away without!
If you’re taking your toddler’s carseat with you on the plane, this item is a life saver. It allows you to roll your toddler around the airport with ease, and it folds up tiny to put on the plane with you. You can check it out here.
A really good travel pillow is a must if you’re traveling long distances! It’s so difficult to get comfortable on a plane, so something like this will help tremendously.
One of these covers helped shield my 9 month old from any unnecessary germs (I talk more about my germ mindset later) at a lot of at restaurants, stores, etc.
I’ll admit it, I do NOT like germs. I HATE them. I can’t see them. I can’t prepare for them and I never know when they’re coming! Sometimes, I get a little crazy with germs and sanitizing, that I need to take a deep breath and scale back. I’m much better and laid back now after this trip. This “foreign country” wasn’t so foreign after all. It wasn’t this big, scary germ-infested place that I thought it would be. Ultimately, I was just scared of the unknown. I didn’t even whip out my hand sanitizer ONCE on our whole trip!
I not only feared the flight for the obvious reasons: dying. But I feared going on two flights and traveling for over 12 hours. I wasn’t really scared of dying myself, but I was frightened and feeling guilty for bringing my children on to a flight that could potentially crash. I didn’t want to risk their lives. It sounds a bit silly writing it all out now, but these were the raw thoughts going through my head before our trip.
Well, the first 8 hour flight to Germany was a bit rough. Although we had a great seat, right in front, and had a bassinet for the baby, it was still exhausting. My 9-month-old kept crying and wouldn’t sleep and my son couldn’t get comfortable. It was a rough stretch. The food was horrible, we found a massive cockroach crawling on our things (I talked about this more in depth in my previous post, you can find here) and it was just overall a very poo-poo experience. Yeah, I just said poo-poo. Haha. The next, 2 hour flight from Germany to Croatia was a breeze. It was nice and short and my younger one slept the entire time!
As if traveling for 12 hours wasn’t enough, there was a 6 hour time difference from New Jersey to Croatia. Croatia was 6 hours ahead. I feared that this would royally mess up my kids and they would be up all night long and be out of whack forever. Well, looking back, that was a bit dramatic. Honestly, the time change barely affected us on the way over. We were so tired, that we were ready to sleep whenever night time hit and ready to sleep through the night. The kids did pretty well, surprisingly.
On the way back, however, was a different story. Although our long 8-hour flight began at 5pm at night, we were chasing the sun. When we were looking out the airplane windows, it was bright and sunny the entire 8 hours. This messed us all up and we weren’t able to sleep. Coming home and hitting up customs, losing our stroller and hauling all of our bags to the car was an adventure in itself. The next 2-3 days were very rough in regards to jet lag. The kids were up at all hours and I felt hungover! I had a big headache for two days, was so tired but couldn’t sleep and would wake up at odd hours of the night.
I really hate bugs, and I feel like someone was playing a trick on me the whole trip. I had so many icky encounters with creepy crawlers, that I just started to laugh toward the end! First, the massive (and I repeat many times, massive) cockroach is doing the cha-cha on my luggage. Next, I find out that a spider decided to have thousands of teenie, tiny brown spider babies in the bathroom where we were staying. They congregated around the porcelain throne and I would see 2-3 every time I went to go to the bathroom. Needless to say, I held in my pee half the time and decided I’d rather go “#2” in a filthy gas station bathroom then sit on that toilet with my BACK to the spider sanctuary, never knowing when they would ATTACK.
If the spider soiree wasn’t enough to grind my gears, I was neatly packing the kids’ suitcases the day before we were leaving to go back home, and I see something under my son’s neon yellow bathing suit that starts moving. I just give up at this point and direct my husband to the cursed luggage. I thought it may have been a beetle or maybe another loving cockroach, but it wasn’t. It was even worse. It was A SCORPION! Complete with the lobster claws and the high, curved tail lurking above it’s body. I still get goosebumps just writing about it. I don’t know much about scorpions, and I have stopped myself multiple times from Googling them, but I’m pretty sure they have venom and could seriously injure someone.
Taste of Croatia
I know I sound like a little bit of a “Negative Nancy” so far in this post, but all of these things were honestly small potatoes compared to the great times we had and memories we shared as a family. The landscape and scenery in Croatia is beyond breathtaking. The water everywhere is crystal clear, the beaches are beautiful, the villages are charming and historic, the life is laid back and the people are friendly. There was really nothing not to love (except the bugs).
The Village of Sibenik, Croatia.
The beautiful boats in dock next to the Village of Zadar
The streets of downtown Zadar
Hanging out in the vineyard behind my Husband’s Father’s house.
Thanks for letting me into your world awhile,
Naturally Nicole XO