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Recollections of a First Adventure

As we wrap up seven weeks of travel in Europe and begin getting settled in Valencia, I’ve been feeling nostalgic about our first international trip with Jacob, nicknamed Baby EuroTrip 2019. We did five weeks of slow travel by train in summer 2019 through Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Vienna, and Budapest, ending in Paris where we met up with my parents. It’s also bittersweet remembering the special time my parents had with Jacob in Paris, the last time (and before COVID-19) that we were all together abroad with my Dad in one of his favorite cities. Though our time in Paris coincided with a horrendous heat wave, I have so many fond memories of that week together: Dad keen on seeing every museum, with the rest of us trying to keep up; Dave and Dad walking from the Eiffel Tower all the way back to our VRBO, nearly a five-mile trek in 100-degree heat; enjoying the beautiful gardens, casual but delicious meals, and sharing our collective love of travel across the generations.

There were definitely some challenging days (as pictured in my espresso and sausage photo in Vienna 😬) but looking back, it can be a wonderful age to travel. We were inspired by our good friends Tiffany and Dave who did a similar trip in Europe with their first baby girl also at around three months old during parental leave. 

With the “eat, awake, nap” rinse and repeat cycle during the days, napping in the carrier or the stroller, and some sleep training before we left the US, we were able to do and see quite a lot. I learned to feed Jacob on the go (including one time inside of Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna while on the guided tour 😛). Though you can’t bring all the creature comforts and baby gear from home, buying diapers and baby toiletries in different countries was actually an interesting part of the experience.

We tried all kinds of baby travel hacks along this and other journeys. My favorite: the CoziGo blackout shade stroller cover for “sleep on the go” – we got a lot of strange looks walking around with this thing but I think it worked pretty well. We’d put Jacob to bed in the stroller with the travel-size white noise machine, then go out to dinner. 😂 

Despite our love of travel (with and without our kid), every trip is different and offers many lessons learned. We’re regularly experimenting, to this day, with what works best for the age and situation, whether re: packing, transportation, accommodations, itinerary, sleep, food, travel gear, etc. That’s one of the aspects of family travel I most enjoy, because we’re continuing to evolve our travel style and preferences as a family.