When we agreed to a family summer vacation in Florence, Italy I had no idea that I’d be 13 weeks pregnant. I was worried that I’d have severe morning sickness and not be able to endure the 14 hour flight from Seattle. Thankfully, I was worried for no reason and it ended up being a fantastically relaxing trip!
Since my husband has limited vacation days, I headed over to Italy a week before him with my in-laws. We stayed in Florence for the first few days and developed the perfect pace of travel for older folks and pregnant ladies. Since we had all been to Florence before and had seen the major sights, there wasn’t so much pressure to be on the go. In the morning, we’d pop in to visit a Museum (and soak up the A/C) for about an hour and then head to the cafe for a cold beverage. Freshly squeezed orange juice was available at most cafes. Then, we’d walk a tiny bit though the streets of Florence before stopping at another cafe for more cold beverages and to sit down. Eventually we’d stop for lunch and gelato before heading back to the hotel for a long siesta. After an extensive nap in our air conditioned room, we’d go have dinner and enjoy the beautiful Florence evening before calling it a night. By slowing down the pace, we got to absorb the ambiance.
After we got over our jet lag in Florence, we took the train to the famous Cinque Terre. It was nice to just sit on the train and stare out the window at the rolling countryside. We stayed in Monterosso overlooking the water and I felt like I was in a movie! There were several options for food within walking distance and there were plenty of gelato stands. We were even able to walk to the next town for dinner and it was a pleasant walk in the evening. The only tricky part was when we took the ferry around to see the other towns. I felt pretty queasy partway through and had to get fresh air. I also ate my weight in freshly steamed mussels (they were so yummy) before realizing that pregnant women are supposed to avoid mussels. And I ate a lot of prosciutto and melon (also incredible) but again found out I was supposed to avoid.
We headed back on the train to Florence to meet up with my husband and the rest of his family after our jaunt in Cinque Terre. We stayed at a castle outside of Florence and our room was on the top floor. That was a lot of stairs for this pregnant lady to hike so I basically became a pack mule and grabbed everything I could think of from our room and headed down for the day. The lower level of the castle was the coolest, so I parked it there for most of our time.
We did a few half-day trips from the castle. We hit up the outlets, which offered very little shade. The stores had the A/C cranked, so we absorbed as much as we could and then quickly waddled to the next store. Their bathrooms had long lines and were so hot. I ended up grabbing papers and fanning myself so I wouldn’t faint. We also found several restaurants with outdoor dining in the shade that were lovely. And we headed into Florence for a family dinner and to see a few of the sights.
7 Tips for Pregnant Travelers:
- Air conditioning is your new best friend. Soak up as much A/C as you can while in your hotel room, on trains, and in museums.
- Sit down. Thankfully most museums have benches so you can sit and contemplate the art. Take advantage of these and rest while looking around the room and then head to the next room, find a bench and do the same.
- Stop at cafes. Their fresh orange juice is mighty tasty and you can usually get water or Sprite. The important thing is to drink often.
- Limit your itinerary. While it helped that I was revisiting a place, it was nice to not feel like I had to see all the sights. That would have been exhausting and I would have been a grumpy traveler. Try to pick just a few things to do each day and promise yourself you will return.
- Take naps. Even though I had heard to take naps while pregnant, I rarely had the opportunity. However on this trip, I was so tired from walking and the heat that napping helped me have the energy to keep exploring.
- Bring Ginger Chews. These helped my nausea a lot on the plane ride and on the ferry around Cinque Terre.
- Take lots of photos. Your child might want to know where they were before they were born. You could even pull out an ultrasound photo for a few shots in front of landmarks or do an impromptu maternity shoot.