I find that most kids are like puppies. If you don’t run them out of energy and let them get bored, they will get into trouble. Knowing that we had a 5 hour flight to Ecuador, my mission was to run my son out of energy. That began with wave jumping in the ocean and runnng along with he beach. After a quick shower, we made it to the airport.
This past year I got TSA Pre-check approved. It’s seriously one of the best things I’ve done. Not having to wait in the long line, take off my shoes, and empty my carryon of liquids and laptop has made traveling a lot less dreadful. Because my son is a minor, he can cut the line with me.
I planned for the 5 hours and downloaded movies onto an iPad along with a few new games. My electronic babysitter worked wonderfully.
When we arrived in Ecuador, everything went fairly smoothly. Even though I have backpacked around the world by myself, for this trip I booked a group tour. Since this was Lil’ Mans first international trip, I liked the idea of having a support network in place if anything unexpected were to occur; at least until we have a few trips under our belt together.
Once we got out of customs (and they had confiscated the banana Lil’ Man had in his backpack, we quickly found our tour guide waiting just outside the arrivals gate. I managed to pack us in carry on suitcases so that we didn’t have to deal with baggage claim (I never check bags).
We were put onto our bus and driven 45 minutes into Quito where we would be staying the night at the Hilton Colon. It was already dark out so there wasn’t much of a view.
Once we arrived to our hotel, we checked into our room and set our attention on finding dinner. After a day of travel and not much sleep the previous night, eating at the hotel restaurant seemed like the best bet. This is where I discovered my first shock. There was a large buffet and I was excited at the strange smells and unfamiliar dishes. When our waiter came around I asked how much the buffet was. He told me it was $26. I nearly choked on my water. These were not the prices I expected in a third world country. (On a side note, Ecuador uses US currency).
My internal tightwad could not allow a budget of $26 for a meal and I instead ordered chicken and rice soup from the menu. It was $11. Lil’ Man was tired and not in a very adventurous mood. He ordered an overpriced hamburger.
No one spoke English in our hotel except for the front desk. The service was impeccable and rooms super clean and comfortable. Only later did I find out that the room rates were $220/night if you did not book through the tour company.