When you’re expecting, anticipate a different vacation from what you’re used to. Preparation is essential. Plan carefully, spend a little more on nicer accommodations and rent a bigger more comfortable car for your trip if you own a small sporty one. Simplify your itinerary — and plan on bringing a sense of humor!
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Traveling pregnant is just a warm-up exercise for your life for the next few years. It’s a peek into your future living with a 2- to five year old. You’ll know the location of every restroom along your route! Then there’s the moodiness – being bothered by everything, including but not limited to whining, crankiness, and cravings. And is there ever room for all the stuff you have to carry, much less for the actual people in the car?
Seriously – if you must travel during a pregnancy, try to do it during the second trimester, when you’re beyond the discomfort of the first, but before you’ve grown huge in those final weeks close to the baby’s due date. Make sure there is enough room to be comfortable in the passenger seats, especially if you will be driving. This is the one time in your life that an upgraded rental model will be worth every penny of the expense! Use common sense – you need to see the family, but be smart. You might be thinking “it’s my last chance to go without kids!” But it’s best to play it safe. Plan a less – rather than more – ambitious trip. Keep your medical information readily at hand, find out where the local hospitals are along your route, and stay out of dangerous areas.
Pack lots of extra snacks – finger foods and small drink containers. Experience tells me to suggest water as the beverage of choice – it tastes the same whether it’s warm or cold, and it doesn’t spoil. If it spills (and it will!) water doesn’t stain or leave a sticky smelly residue that requires an immediate roadside stop for a complete change of clothes. You can even use a splash of it to clean up little messes as they occur. (You do have plenty of paper towels or tissues in the car, don’t you?!?)
Snacks? Cheerios (the original kind) are every mom’s best friend -they aren’t sticky or too sweet (inviting nausea) and they aren’t so salty that they need to be washed down with lots of liquid (necessitating more potty pitstops). Even little children can “gum” Cheerios into mush and you won’t worry constantly about choking hazards. Sharing? Don’t count on it! Everybody gets their own stash. Vacuum the car daily….there will be crumbs everywhere! GET OUT OF THE CAR for meals – everyone needs to stretch occasionally for comfort and safety, and you need some civilization as you dine, even if it’s just fast food burgers.
Remember, too, that your pregnant self might recoil in horror from things that other people might find perfectly pleasant. This is especially true in the early stages of pregnancy. When my wife was ten weeks pregnant with our first child, we traveled to Florida in early February for a vacation to see relatives and the Super Bowl. We were eating sushi that came by on platter after platter (no raw fish, not that I was exactly craving it) when she began to get sick. After that, everything related to the sea – water, waves, you name it – made her nauseous. To say the least she was not happy. What a trip that turned out to be!
My expectant son and daughter-in-law went to San Francisco and to Lake Tahoe afterward. They made a huge mistake driving to Napa Valley – they passed miles of “fragrant” cattle ranches that left her gagging and in tears. Every mother has gone through similar situations.
Traveling with a toddler when you’re expecting another baby is horrible. Our advice is: “Don’t. It will just be exhausting.” Unless you absolutely must do it, don’t. My vice president’s wife said to me one day, “Did you ever notice how helpful strangers can be when you’re pregnant – ‘Oh, let me get that door for you!’ – versus how unhelpful they are when you’re pregnant and have a child?” She will never forget staggering to the back of an airplane with a diaper bag swinging from her shoulder, trying not to whack anybody, while holding her tiny daughter’s hand and wrestling a huge car seat that didn’t fit front-ways in the aisle,. The other passengers and those wonderful flight attendants just watched!