Traveling Parents' Forum: Introduction

Monday, September 21, 2015



Welcome to the first session of the Traveling Parents' Forum! I'm so happy to welcome five awesome mothers to share their experiences traveling while pregnant and with children. Over the next several months Angie, Emma, Frankie, Roshan, Amy, and I will share our experiences about traveling while pregnant, with children, and traveling but leaving your children at home. We'll be sharing our tips, favorite products, and looking to each other for advice to make traveling easier. If you have any questions or would like to share your experience please write it in the comments below! Also, if you have written a post(s) on a similar topic feel free to add the link in the comments. You can also join our group Pinterest board to post your own articles or ones you've found helpful. Just follow our Pinterest accounts and message me to add you to the board. The more information we have the better we can travel - at least that's what I think!

We'll be chatting about a new topic on the third Monday of every month. Today's topic is 'Can you travel while pregnant or with a baby?'

February 22: Moving/living abroad with your child
March 21: Child jet lag
April 18: Traveling without your child



Angie





Of COURSE you can travel while pregnant and with children, however, I see the two "states" as very different.   I was working full time while pregnant in a job that had me traveling around Europe and taking a few work related flights.   I was so nervous about flying while pregnant (even though this fear was not based on research but just an unreasonable worry), that I had my husband drive me from Italy to Paris for a work conference.

It took two days to get there and two to get back, but I was very happy not flying!  I traveled a lot during my pregnancy and went to Sardinia, Rome, Munich, Naples, Paris and through the Alps!  That is, until I was diagnosed with extremely low amniotic fluid and was bed ridden for my entire third trimester!!

I've written a bit about that on my blog!  It was a rude awakening to go from being very mobile in my first and second trimesters to being bed ridden, but I was so grateful that most of the baby prep work had already been finished!

As for traveling with kids....well.... you can go almost anywhere with them if you are well prepared and know your children's needs! You have to take into consideration a child's physical need to run around and be free, their inability to sit still for long periods of time (without a distraction) and their nap schedule along with the items that make them feel safe and comfortable and how adventurous they are when it comes to food.  

Traveling through different time zones means adapting their routine and traveling with more than one child means being prepared for each child's needs.  Although I have taken my son everywhere with me I do not consider myself an "expert traveler".  As a family we've flown from Modena, Italy to Berlin (Germany), Toronto (Canada), Lisbon (Portugal), Copenhagen (Denmark) along with many car trips throughout Italy to Naples, Rome, Florence, Mantua, the 5 Terre, Levanto,  Siena along with frequent trips to the seaside and the mountains.  

I can't really imagine how I would organize our trips with more than one child (our car is always PACKED!) but people seem to do it all the time!  Having an "only" means that I often travel alone with my son and take him for a few weeks a year to the beach and I've even traveled overseas alone with him.  This may seem overwhelming but it is surprisingly easy if you organize the details of the trip and pair down the amount of stuff you travel with (no easy feat for me!)

Exploring and having "adventures" is one of the biggest joys of my life and I love sharing this with my son and opening his eyes to the world we live in whether it be near or far.  I am always planning a getaway and am already working on our Fall/Winter escapes and summer vacations for 2016 and 2017!! 

People think you need a lot of money to travel but you don't, you just need to prioritize a trip the same way you prioritize anything in life and and plan according to your budget.  Buying a fight in advance, staying in an apartment and cooking, and using public transportation are all ways to save on a family vacation.

So to answer the question...YES!

Angie has a three and half year old son and blogs about travel and dressing for any occasion at Reasons to Dress. Angie is writing from Modena, Italy. You can find more from Angie on her blog, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.


Emma




My name is Emma, and I blog at A Bavarian Sojourn.  We left the leafy environs of South West London for beautiful Copenhagen back in 2009, and then moved to Munich at the end of 2011. I mostly blog about family travel, and photography, but don't be surprised to find the odd recipe floating about as well!  I have a daughter (aged 10), a son (aged 8) and we are expecting another baby any day now.  The topic "Can you Travel while Pregnant or with a child?" is very relevant to me right now as you can imagine.  Apart from having a cut off flying date as the months progress, I see no reason whatsoever why you cannot enjoy travelling whilst pregnant. Granted there will be things that you might not be able to do usually such as paragliding, scubadiving and the like, but as long as you take it easy and don't overdo things, now is the perfect time to get out and see a bit of the world before your travel party expands forever.   Whilst heavily pregnant this summer, we might not have been able to do any longhaul travel, but we have packed in trips to AustriaBratisilava,BudapestColmar, Amsterdam, Berlin, London and even a stay in a British lighthouse.

Emma has two children and is currently pregnant with her third on the way. She blogs over at Bavarian Sojourn and is writing from Bavaria, Germany. You can find more from Emma on her blog, Pinterest, and Instagram.


Frankie




While I can't really comment about travelling with children as my own little boy is less than a few months old, I have written extensively about travelling while pregnant (on my own blog and for Travelettes) as there were a few things I failed to understand before I was expecting myself. I'd always assumed that travel was off the cards during the first trimester and I also thought I'd feel too sick or uncomfortable to want to travel. None of this is true and thankfully I had a very easy-going, smooth pregnancy with no sickness and no complications making travel a problem. Because of course, your medical professional should be your first port of call when deciding if, how or where to travel, but once they give you the go ahead, I believe it's all up to you to decide what you do and don't feel comfortable with. And this is really key to successful, healthy travel in my mind. While I used to travel a lot on blog and press trips, once I got pregnant I began to feel I wouldn't be able to give my all to the work or travel due to tiredness and also a general feeling that I wanted to be at home or travelling more for pleasure with my partner than for work reasons. And I did travel for pleasure. From my home in Amsterdam, I flew to Cape Town for a friend's wedding at 8 weeks pregnant. At 12 weeks I flew to Austria for a snowboarding holiday - although I didn't snowboard but instead went on long snowy walks. At six months pregnant my partner and I went on a babymoon to Thailand and throughout all three trimesters I did several short haul trips back to London to visit family and friends. 

One thing I will say is that even when you feel fit and healthy and even fantastic when pregnant, like I did for 99% of the time, I still found both the fatigue and impact of hormones on my body very unpredictable. I would therefore always advise pregnant women to avoid over-stretching themselves when travelling. I wrote down more tips on this in my advice post on my blog and I also shared how especially in the first trimester I found the ups and downs of hormones left me feeling very anxious about pregnancy and imminent motherhood so I would definitely advise women who feel like this occasionally to not over-complicate their lives with extensive travel or trying to do too much. Again I wrote more about this on my blog.


Frankie has an infant and blogs about Amsterdam, Travels, and Writing on As the Bird Flies and Travelettes. Frankie is writing from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You can find more from Frankie on her blog, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.



Roshan







Yes of course you can! The one thing I promised myself I wasn't going to give up when I had a baby was traveling- so now we just take her with us. I have travelled with my child from the age of 3 months old and my parents travelled with me from the age of 6 months old.

I learn something new about myself and remember that children can be very adaptable out of their comfort zone every time I travel with my child. So it can be done, it may just take a bit more effort and pre planning than your usual solo trip. Toddlers require regular food, entertainment and afternoon rests so babies are easier as they just drink milk and sleep.

Roshan has a three year old and blogs about her travels at Roshan's Ramblings. Roshan is writing from Australia. You can find more from Roshan on her blog, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Amy




It's a common misconception that once you have children you have to say goodbye to your freedom. 'Travel while you're young', they say. 'Get in all your adventures before you settle down'. You don't have to look far to find people who have broken with convention and decided for themselves that kids won't take away from their fun, but can actually add to it. My husband and I started travelling with our son when he was just a few weeks old. It's true we've had to adapt our travel style, and we definitely need to be more flexible, but travelling with our little boy has opened up a whole new world of travel for us. We believe it works both way, of course. We're obviously not the only ones to benefit. We feel like we're giving our son an incredible gift; one which will inform his entire life. We really hope that travelling from such a young age will ignite a passion within him that will help him understand the world and himself as he grows. 


Amy has a 14 month old and is joining us from London, UK. You can find more about her life in London on Instagram and Pinterest.

Elizabeth





Yes, of course you can travel while pregnant! I traveled extensively throughout all three trimesters (with my doctor's permission). Despite feeling downright crappy in my first and early second trimesters, I traveled to Rome, Paris, Tallinn, and Greece. I certainly had to modify my travel throughout the three trimesters by not packing as much into each trip and by being sure to get enough rest. I also had to pair down to the travel essentials so I wouldn't have to carry too much (my pregnancy travel essentials were: LeSportsac Large Weekender; Maternity Support Belt). Even so, these four trips were all special and I wouldn't have wanted to miss them by staying home. So, short answer, you can travel while pregnant, just be sure you take care of yourself when you do.

My own little one is just a few weeks old, so I'm still very new at this whole traveling with a baby thing. We are still working on walking around Vilnius for now, but we do have a road trip around Lithuania planned for the end of October. Stay tuned for November's post to hear more about road trips with a baby.


I have an infant and I write from Vilnius, Lithuania on In Search Of. You can find more on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.


Follow Elizabeth @ In Search Of's board Traveling with Children on Pinterest. 



Over to you. What are your experiences traveling while pregnant and/or with children? Do you have any questions that you'd like to see discussed in this forum? Don't forget to add your articles to the group Pinterest board.


I'm linking up with Travel Tuesday. follow the link for some more great travel posts!

22 comments:

  1. What great memories! Personally travelling while pregnant sounds miserable hahaha but I had complications with my pregnancy so that probably is clouding my view of things. Way to go!
    -Rachel
    Www.thestyleathomemom.com

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    1. I think you brought up an important point here! It is important to do what feels good for yourself (with the doctor's approval of course) when it comes to traveling when pregnant. Sometimes it might feel best to stay close to home.

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  2. I've always traveled with my children. My first daughter was just 4 months old when we took a trip to the mountains. We took her everywhere! Now all three of my kids are seasoned travelers (you should see how fast they get through security at the airports-they have it down!) and my oldest has a love for travel all her own. However, I do agree that if it's not for you, don't worry . There will be time down the road to travel when the kids are older, you aren't pregnant and it's a little easier!

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    1. I'd love to hear your tips for preparing them to get through security quickly! When my little one is old enough I'd love for him to get through security efficiently and to be a seasoned traveler as well!

      Thank you so much for sharing your experiences!

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  3. Thanks for including me, Elizabeth. I loved reading what the others have said. It looks like we're going to have to adapt even more as Baby Tide grows older, but I don't plan on stopping!

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    1. I'm so glad that you wanted to join! I've also enjoyed reading the contributions and am really looking forward to reading the upcoming months' posts!

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  4. Loving this blog series - it's just the inspiration and information I need right now.
    Claire xx

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    1. I hope it helps! It sounds like you've been traveling a ton while you are pregnant! I'm sure you will have tons of helpful experiences to share for next month's post!

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  5. This is such a great series and it was so nice to read these other traveling moms experiences. I must say the one thing that I'm coming away from this post with is some serious wanderlust!! Great job in putting this group together Elizabeth, so nice to get to know these ladies!

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    1. Thank you so much for participating, Angie! I'm so looking forward to the next posts, I certainly have a lot to learn from everyone.

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  6. This is a really interesting series and I'm looking forward to reading more. Although I don't have children yet, this gives me great confidence should that day come! Also, as an auntie to 3, I can definitely use some travelling with small children tips :)

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    1. Thank you, Rachel (also, I love your blog name!)! An Auntie to three kids! How wonderful. Have you traveled with them yet?

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  7. Thanks so much for including me Elizabeth! (:

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    1. It is wonderful to have you, Emma! You've been traveling with children pretty much non-stop and have three (almost) children so you have a different perspective than the rest of us!

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  8. Our first trips with our kids were when they were about three months old. We took our son to Greece and our daughter (and son also) to Turkey. We do most of our travels with our kids (now aged six and two). By plane, by car, by train, by ferry. It gives us an opportunity to spend more time together (though we do make some trips just the two of us as well). Great post, great initiative, too.

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    1. I'm interested to hear more about taking public transportation (you mentioned trains and ferries) with children. I feel like that could either be really fun or really terrible, though my parents did it with my sister and I all the time.

      Three months old seems to be the magic age for travel. Maybe because they are a bit more developed and sleeping more at night? Mine is only 5 weeks old so we are getting there. His first trip will be a road trip when he is nearly 3 months.

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  9. Well, I can say nothing on these topics as I don't have kids and I think that one of the reasons is the fact that having a kid would totally change my life and deprived me of travelling - however, after reading all your opinions I guess my fear is just my excuse.... Congrats on your little one :) I want to read everything about your road trip with a baby :)

    http://www.travelekspert.com/2015/09/a-guide-to-zojoji-temple-in-tokyo.html

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    1. Thank you, Patrycja! Honestly, having a kid does change so many things in your life (we can't stay out really late or do really crazy/adventurous things with the baby yet, and so many other things - he is only 5 weeks old), but I think traveling is something that we can share as a family. We may travel differently - fewer late nights, more kid friendly places - but it will still be fun. Imagine all of the cool experiences that the baby/kids could have! My hope with traveling and living abroad with him is that he will love travel, different cultures, experiences, and foods as he grows and will also have a very open mind.

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  10. I love reading about different people's experiences. It gives me confidence that when we have a family one day our adventures won't stop!

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    1. That is the aim of this forum! I'm so glad to hear that you will still travel when you have children!

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  11. Everyone has their own opinions that's cool. I enjoyed reading your blog. I am going on a private tours of san francisco with my 3 kids. I hope my journey turns out well.

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    1. I hope you have a great trip with your kids! I'm sure you will enjoy :)

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