Oh baby! Babymoons in Europe
Congratulations; a baby is on the way! There can be so much to do — from setting up the nursery and getting all the needed baby supplies to getting your mind wrapped around the fact that you are about to become a parent — that those nine months can really fly by. Your life is about to change in ways you may not even be able to imagine, and you deserve one last getaway! We’ve put together some ideas for babymoons that will help you unwind, spend some quality time with your significant other, and take advantage of your overseas location.
Seek out some sun
Germany had a very long winter while I was pregnant. Both my husband and I were craving some warm weather and sun by the time April rolled around and it was still 40 degrees outside! After doing a little research, we decided on the Spanish island of Mallorca. A favorite travel destination for Germans and Brits, Mallorca offers an easy-to-navigate highway system that allows you to explore the whole island.
We rented a car at the airport, and armed with our GPS, headed for our resort located about 30 minutes west of Palma de Mallorca. Traveling in April, we were able to avoid the high prices and big crowds that hit the island once tourist season hits. Our resort was quiet and comfortable, and we stayed in a great room with an ocean view. Temperatures were in the high 70s and low 80s, and while not quite swimming weather, it was a perfect temperature for sightseeing, sunning by the pool, and taking a drive along the coast.
Notable attractions on the island include: Cuevas del Drach, an underground networkof impressive caves that you can tour; an ostrich farm; plenty of beaches to explore; miniature golf; the old city of Palma de Mallorca; cute seaside towns; flamenco dancing shows; mountain drives on the northwest side of the island; and much more! Other great European beach destinations include Barcelona, Spain; Rhossili Bay in the United Kingdom; Lisbon, Portugal; and La Pelosa Beach in Stintino, Italy.
Take a road trip
In my experience, the second trimester is the best time to make longer trips by plane. If you can’t make a trip during that time, consider taking a road trip. You never know when a bout of debilitating morning sickness, hip pain or just general “ickiness” can hit during pregnancy, and having the ability to change your plans at the last minute can be a relief.
If you are stationed in Germany, one option is Paris and Versailles. To break up the trip, you can even make a stop in Reims, a quaint old city known for their champagne production. Those stationed in the U.K. may want to make a city trip into London, where there is plenty to do including live theater, sightseeing, shopping, museums and lots of great restaurants. To make things even easier, consider taking the train to the city and then using the Underground to explore. In Italy, escape to Rome during the cooler months and take in all the history (and pasta and gelato!) that the city has to offer.
To keep yourself comfortable, be sure to pack a water bottle for the car ride, and make frequent stops to stretch your legs and keep swelling to a minimum. We rented a book-on-CD from the library to keep ourselves entertained during the drive. It was also a good time for us to brainstorm baby names.
When it comes to accommodations, you will want to check to make sure your hotel has air conditioning if you are traveling during the hotter months. One hotel chain I have come to favor is Ibis. Not only are their rates generally affordable and their rooms basic but clean, but they have a generous cancellation policy which typically allows you to cancel until the day of your scheduled arrival. Another great idea is to stay at a spa resort, and spend a day relaxing with a prenatal massage, facial or dip in a cool pool.
Find a festival
If the thought of planning a vacation drains that last bit of energy you have, look for a local festival where you can escape for a few hours with friends. Springtime all the way into fall is a great time for food and festivals; and yes, while you can’t partake in the alcoholic portion of the events, it is nice to get out in the fresh air and sample some local cuisine. Look for specialty-themed festivals like pretzel, chocolate, apple and strawberry festivals.
Travel tips from one mommy-to-be to another
To make sure you stay comfortable on your babymoon, take extra care when packing. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Bring tennis shoes and flip-flops or other loose fitting shoes. After about six hours of walking around Versailles while 35 weeks pregnant, my toes looked like Nürnberger sausages. I didn’t truly understand the concept of “cankles” until we arrived back at the hotel after our first day of sightseeing. To combat the swelling, rinse your feet with alternating bouts of cold and hot water, elevate them above your heart, and make sure you are getting enough magnesium via a supplement or foods like bananas and nuts. I was also glad I had packed both loose-fitting tennis shoes and flip-flops; I definitely needed both.
- Bring snacks. You never can predict what the hotel will have on offer for breakfast. Having gestational diabetes, I was even more limited in what I could eat from the breakfast buffet. It was helpful to have my own food for a mid-morning snack. It’s also great to have something to snack on if your plane is delayed or you get stuck in traffic. No one likes a starving pregnant woman! And on that note, don’t forget to pack some Tums and Gas X as well; eating out can wreak havoc on your digestive system!
- Take a pillow. Hotel pillows can be the worst, and I was more than thankful to have brought my king-sized pillow to cuddle up with.
- Have the number for Tricare on hand. You can never be too prepared; have the Tricare overseas number on hand in case you need to seek medical treatment while outside your home area.
Enjoy your time as two
As your due date approaches, take some time to focus on yourself and your significant other. And if you don’t get a chance to take a babymoon, don’t fret. My mommy friends have told me that traveling with an infant is the easiest time to travel with kids, so there will be plenty more opportunities for your new family to get out and explore all that Europe has to offer!