Mountain Getaway to Vail + Travel tips

Want to know something kind of funny? I’ve never been to the mountains in the winter. Isn’t that odd? We’ve lived here for 8 years and we usually go in the summer and fall. That’s probably because we don’t ski or snowboard and usually have a newborn in the winter. We’ve always talked about going but never really made it a priority. So this year, we made it happen and had so much fun. We should probably plan on teaching the girls to ski since Olive begged us the entire time to “skate” lol ski. She kept walking up to people’s snowboards/skis and saying “here are some, here are some, let's go!” That girl, she is so cautious and most of the time an observer but goodness, when she wants something she goes for it and has a fierce brave side to her that I love.

We stayed at the Westin Riverfront and Spa in Vail Valley and loved every second of it. I mean… besides Pearl waking up 5 times a night each night. We stayed in a Studio Sweet and I was pleasantly surprised at how spacious it was. It was roomy and we all loved the balcony. The bathroom was so large we were able to easily put Pearl's crib in there and still get in and out easily which is always a perk. I went to the Spa on our second morning there and got the best 50-minute massage ever. If you go, I’d recommend treating yourself and heading to the Spa and after your service sitting in the pink salt dry sauna. It was heavenly and a nice little break from the craziness of travel. Austin played with the girls around the hotel while I was at the Spa and then we met up and had a yummy breakfast at the restaurant Maya. They also had a Starbucks in the hotel which was really nice when Pearl would wake up at 6 am and I could just take her downstairs to grab a coffee and hang out in the lobby while Austin & Olive slept in.

We headed into Downtown Vail and took Eagle Bahn Gondola up to Adventure Ridge. Our girls were too little to do most of the winter activities but we did get to ride the Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster. Olive jusssssst met the height requirement by standing up REALLY straight and tall. I was nervous she wasn’t going to like the ride because it looks pretty intimidating so she went with Austin first and turned out it was her favorite moment of the trip. It’s a little pricey and we should have bought the unlimited passes but it was SO fun. Also, if you are planning on going, I’d recommend waiting till after 3pm when the Gondola is free, because it cost us an arm + leg just to get up the mountain buttttt the view was worth it, the roller coaster was worth it….. but next time we’ll for sure wait till its free.

I’m sharing 3 quick and easy travel tips below to help make your little getaway with kiddos go smoothly.

Travel Tip 1: If we are staying in close quarters we put the youngest in a pack & play (or in this case the hotel provided a crib) in the bathroom to give them their own interrupted space. It’s dark and we plug in a noise machine (and the ipad with the app RAIN, RAIN) and leave the door cracked once everyone’s in bed (hotel bathrooms usually aren’t heated and can get cold so make sure to crack the door). It’s a nice way to give them their “normal” while traveling.

Travel tip 2: Low Expectations: Traveling with kiddos isn’t really a vacation it’s more of a fun trip! It can be a challenge but also way fun. We both try hard not to have huge expectations and be more laid back when it comes to a schedule of the day. For example.. Driving around more instead of walking around if they fall asleep in the car or grabbing lunch to go and eating it at a playground so they can run around. We try to think preventative.. so if someone’s crabby and we know lunch or dinner would be hard/exhausting we try to defuse that situation because we know one of us would get frustrated. I know it sounds harsh… “have low expectations” but it actually helps save you from being disappointed. Pair a whole lotta grace with little to no expectations and you will end up having a lot more fun than you thought.

Travel Tip 3: Divide & Conquer: A lot of times we split up. Austin would take Olive around the hotel while I put Pearl to bed and made sure she was asleep. I loved staying at the Westin because there was so much space and they had live music every night we were there. Olive made friends with every performer and would dance and put on a show for them. It was another way to get her energy out before bed too so she wasn’t stuck in the room while we put 1 kiddo to sleep.

We made a trip to Dillon, Colorado to go see the Ice Castles since it was about 45 minutes away and guys, it was for sure the highlight of my Winter!! The photos don’t do it justice and they were all taken on my phone but this place was so cool. If your going with littles, I would recommend going during the day because it’s already pretty cold + when the sunsets it freezing. I had a lot of friends tell me their kids lasted 10 minutes and that they didn’t feel like it was worth it but they all went at night. So go during the day, dress warm, make sure to go down all the slides and have the best magical experience.