baby pregnancy travel

travel Thursdays: planning a babymoon abroad

D and I are pretty travel-obsessed. We plan our trips months in advance, savor every moment, and sift through trip photos and video clips periodically afterwards. We also have a very ambitious travel bucket list (it basically consists of the full list of United Nations member states, minus a few countries that we both agree are too dangerous to venture into at the moment). So with our unexpected pregnancy news, we wanted to squeeze in one more international trip before Baby K arrives.

We spent days, if not weeks, tossing around destination ideas. Southeast Asia, Morocco, and the Galapagos were all taken into consideration. Ultimately, we wanted to choose a place with a decent healthcare system in case I needed immediate maternal care, relatively relaxing activities in case I wasn’t feeling up for strenuous adventures, and accommodations that wouldn’t break the bank. (Maldives, I love you, but you’re so dang expensive!!) We finally decided on Greece as a fun place we’d never traveled to together that checked off all our boxes.

I’ll share a recap of our trip soon, but for those considering planning an international babymoon, here’s our advice:

Consult your OB/GYN

This may seem obvious, but before pulling out your credit card to book anything, make sure to clear the trip with your doctor. If your pregnancy is considered high-risk, or if you’re hoping to travel late in your pregnancy, he/she may put the brakes on your travel plans. Your OB can also make copies of your medical record to take along, in case you have any complications and need medical care while abroad.

2. Research healthcare options, and know your insurance coverage abroad

This is a matter of personal preference, but I wanted to be within 2 hours of a health clinic with English-speaking staff. I researched these options in advance, and ensured that even the smaller Greek islands where we planned to babymoon would be able to provide care for me and the babe. We’re saving the exotic Southeast Asia backpacking trip for once I’m no longer growing a fetus.

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3. Book refundable travel and accommodations

We planned our trip for early September, when I would be 22 weeks pregnant (an ideal time, according to my mama friends who flew while pregnant) – but we wanted to book well in advance to take advantage of travel deals. We made sure to book refundable flights and hotels, and AirBnb apartments with “flexible” cancellation policies. We also read the fine print on our Chase Sapphire card (which is our go-to card for travel rewards) and learned that we’d likely be covered by Chase if we needed to cancel our trip due to a medical emergency.

I waited until much closer to the trip to book things like our ferry reservations, which I knew wouldn’t sell out too far ahead of time and were non-refundable.

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4. Pack light

I always advocate for packing light, but this is especially important when you already have your own extra luggage you’re hauling around in your belly. We each packed a small carry-on suitcase for our two-week trip, and we were grateful when we found ourselves lugging them up and down steep cobblestone streets on Santorini and lifting them up high into the overhead bins of buses and ferries.

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 Carry-on suitcases: check. Baby on board: check.

5. Prepare a flight survival kit

Being the hypochondriac that I am, I was paranoid that I would puke on our trans-Atlantic flight. I very fortunately escaped morning sickness in my first trimester, but I heard horror stories from other mamas. So that’s how I found myself at CVS the night before our trip, with a basket full of anti-nausea measures: Dramamine, Sea Bands, Bonine, and some Tum, Pepto-Bismol, and Benadryl for good measure.

My OB’s main concern was swelling, and she advised me to wear compression socks on the long flight. I found these cute polka dot ones on Amazon (see in photo above) and my ankles were only slightly swollen by the time our plane touched ground in Athens. I ended up flying frequently during my second trimester, so I got a lot of use out of the socks. I hear they come in handy during the final weeks of pregnancy, too.

6. Bring snacks

I learned long ago that the survival of our marriage was dependent on keeping my cranky husband well-fed. Once he reaches the level of being Hangry, things go downhill very quickly. Plus, there is nothing worse than being in a beautiful place (say, Paris) with a starving, cranky husband who refuses to go inside the Louvre until someone feeds him a pain au chocolat.

Learning from past experience, for this trip I swung by Target and picked up several boxes of Clif bars, and I packed a few into each of our bags (my purse, his and my suitcases, and his camera bag). These were a life-saver when we were stuck on long ferry rides without food readily available. I was in one of my ravenous-hunger phases of pregnancy during our trip, and having snacks readily available helped me keep my own hunger at bay between meals.

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7. Soak up the quality time along together

The first three years of our marriage have been amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better guy to spend my life with. And to be honest, I will really, really miss our alone time when we’re towing around our little guy with us. It’s been a busy year for us, so 14 days of uninterrupted, unplugged time together was exactly what we needed.

I know our travel lust won’t go away, and we have big plans to keep exploring the world together even as our family grows. But our babymoon was incredibly special, and I wish every expecting couple the opportunity to relax alone somewhere together before embarking on the sleeplessness and stress of new parenthood.

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Where is your dream babymoon destination?

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