February 14, 2020

Our First Adventures as a Family of Three

Our first overseas trip together - London!

When I started telling people that I was pregnant, overwhelmingly, people told me how good it was that that I traveled so much before I had kids.

"You won't want to travel after you have a baby. It's too hard."

"You have to bring so much stuff to fly with a baby, it isn't worth it."

I heard so many different iterations of this same sentiment and none of it made sense to me. Why on earth would we stop traveling? It's an enormous part of our life. When we sat down to figure out a new budget that factored diapers and childcare and everything in between, the one thing we wouldn't budge on is travel. I filled out Aurora's passport application before she turned two months old. The only significant change I foresaw in regards to how we would travel with a baby is that we would no longer test the limits of how far we would go for a short period. I knew our days of flying 11-12 hours to be somewhere for 36 hours were behind us, but I was ok with that. Those trips aren't for the faint of heart. But we had no plans to stop traveling.

Since I pretty much ignored this space for Aurora's first year, I thought I would recap just what our first trips together looked like.

Florida - At two months old, my mom and I packed a few bags and flew down to Orlando, FL to spend 4 weeks of my maternity leave in the warm weather. The Pilot followed with Peyton and a few more things in tow. I always knew I wanted to spend at least a month of my maternity leave somewhere else. I hoped it would be in Europe but I wanted to go somewhere warm, so Florida it was. We rented a townhouse in the Orlando area (anything beachside was way out of our price range). I woke up every morning and either took Aurora for a walk or went for a short run. We spent most days lounging by the pool and took a few trips to Universal Studios and Disney World. I absolutely hate the winter and being able to escape for a few months and get outside with the baby was so good for my mental health. By the time we get back, we only had a few short weeks of winter and it didn't seem bad at all.

London - With three passports in hand, we took the better part of a week to visit one of my absolute favorite cities - and the only other place besides DC that feels like home - London. We had the best time. It was the perfect destination for our first overseas trip with Aurora. We rented a two-bedroom flat and spent the week just wandering. The only touristy thing we did was visit Buckingham Palace - something The Pilot had always wanted to do. It was great not having any pressure to get out and see and do things. Having lived in London for a bit, I know the city quite well. This trip was a chance for us to spend some time together as a family, away from the mountains of boxes we had yet to unpack from our move, and it was wonderful.

Copenhagen - Just a few weeks after returning from London, we packed up our bags again and headed back to Europe for a week in Copenhagen. This was our chance to test the waters of visiting a new place and trying to see the sight with a baby in tow. It was perfect. Copenhagen is an exceptionally family friendly city - everywhere we went was more than happy to accommodate us as a family of 3. We didn't see or do everything but we spent enough time there that the trip didn't feel rushed and I didn't feel like we missed out on anything. We also took a day trip to Malmo, Sweden which definitely gave me the Scandinavia travel bug!

Add in a wedding in Virginia (at jut 3 weeks old!), three trips to Texas, and four road trips to New Jersey to visit family, Aurora has definitely racked up her share of airline miles (if only we were eligible for airline miles!). At 16 months, she's been on 16 flights and we're definitely adding to that in the coming weeks.

I'll be sharing more detailed posts about each of these trips in the coming weeks but I wanted to give a little overview of what our first trips have looked like together. We've had easy flights and not so easy flights but if I will say this - I will choose a flight with a baby over a road trip ANY day. With the exception of a travel crib, diaper bag, and stroller, I don't feel like we carry much more than we did when it was just the two of us at all. Traveling hasn't been a hassle and while I know we're entering a period where it could start to get a little bit more challenging (maybe?), our last trip to Texas a few weeks ago proved that Aurora is a seasoned pro at this.

Because of our flight benefits, we never really plan out where we're going to go until a few weeks beforehand so I'm not too sure where this year will take us but I definitely need a beach vacation this year and I know we'll probably head back to Europe at some point. Either way, we have no plans to stop traveling any time soon!
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