My wife, Vicki, and I are expecting our first child in February. Excited is an understatement. So is scared, anxious, nervous. You name it, we’re feeling it.
Also, Vicki and I are travelers.
I’m glad we have that in common. We’ve visited 10+ countries and traveled around the U.S. in the past five years together.
No matter how much of a seasoned traveler you are, I’ve come to learn that traveling while pregnant can change everything. I’m going to share three lessons that we learned during our trip for any future dads.
Lesson 1: Do not be overly ambitious.
There’s a time to take those marathon trips, to fly long distances and travel for several weeks at a time.
During your third trimester is not one of those times.
Now, let me start with a disclaimer that everyone’s situation is different. We’ve had a perfect pregnancy up until our trip. Vicki and baby have both been very healthy. That’s what took us by surprise. We travel using points, so we had planned a trip to London, Prague and Paris prior to finding out we were pregnant. We went back and forth on canceling and relocating the trip, but decided to stick with it.
Friends that have had babies tried to warn us against going, but what do they know. They aren’t travelers like us. They travel within the state of North Carolina.
Well, they knew a lot more than we did.
Trust what others tell you because they’ve been there before. Stay close to home during the last stage of your pregnancy. Oh, and if you have the luxury of traveling with points, opt to fly premium cabin and don’t settle for long, international economy flights.
Lesson 2: Plans change, and that’s okay.
It’s tough not to be upset when things don’t go according to plan, but remember, you can’t control everything and sometimes you have to go with the flow. We landed in London with a 7-month pregnant woman who hurt her back on the flight.
We’re the travelers that walk everywhere and this changed things big time.
We found ourselves relying on taxis, public transportation, and bus tours. I mentioned that we travel on points, and points saved us here. We were able to book a London bus tour using British Airways miles. The value of the redemption wasn’t great monetarily, but the value that we found in it based on our circumstances was enormous.
Lesson 3: Enjoy yourself.
No matter the circumstances, take a step back and enjoy the time together. For us, this was our final big trip as a couple. The next international trip we take together is going to be as a family. Weird to think, but very exciting. Enjoy the time that you spend with your spouse. Take it all in. Buy things that will remind you of your trip. Take your time and do things that you normally wouldn’t do. Spend more time enjoying dinner (and drinks for you). Travel is about experiencing new things and expecting a child is the best thing that could happen to you.
Now, don’t get me wrong, would I have enjoyed this trip much more without the stress of a 7-month pregnant, hurt wife? Yes, yes I would. But, I think this trip has prepared us for life with a newborn. We’re not going to try to be overly ambitious. We’re not going to expect things to be perfect and we know they won’t turn out the way we plan. But we will enjoy ourselves and enjoy making memories and taking many more trips in the future…as a family.