Taking a babymoon seems to be a trend that is here to stay. If you’re North American, pregnant and traveling to Europe for the first time, it’s good to be prepared, even if just mentally. It helps to know what you’re getting your pregnant body into.
1. Always know where the nearest toilet is. I’m not kidding. Your bladder will thank you later. In London I take it for granted that I can easily nip into a Starbucks or pub to use their facilities. But that’s not always the case on mainland Europe. In Paris we thought we would be sly by going to a café, getting a drink and using the loo. No go. You had to pay to use the toilet! Can you believe it?! The nerve. But that’s how a lot of places roll in Paris, you have to pay to pee. So always have change in your purse. Again, your bladder will thank you. If you’re lucky you might run into an Irish pub (they are everywhere!) and they might kindly allow you to use their toilet (shout out to the Irish pub in Rome that hooked me up!). And there’s always trying another café, they don’t all charge to use their toilet. At last resort, if your bladder is crying, you can always go into the nearest shop, and rub your bump as you plea for the toilet. But if you’re like me and you’re sporting that “Is she fat or pregnant look?” you might look like you need to take a serious dump. So yeah. Use that tip at your own risk.
2. Embrace the stairs. North America is shiny and new. Europe is dusty and old (in an AWESOME way, really) making it not very handicap accessible. Don’t expect to have elevators and escalators at your convenience. Be prepared to hike up 2-4 flights of stairs at a time. Over, and over again.
3. Beds in Europe are small. Double (aka full-sized) or two twin (aka single) beds put together are the norm in hotels. So I hope you like to snuggle. Maybe your partner can cuddle you until you forget how uncomfortable that damn bed is.
4. Carry water. I cannot tell you the amount of times I’ve been looked at as if I asked for the combination to the safe after requesting tap water at a restaurant. Europe isn’t huge on hydration. If you’re not given a small shot glass worth of water, you’re asked to pay for it. I always want to ask, “You don’t do tap water? How do you clean your dishes?” But I don’t. I’m not rude 🙂 Paris and Rome have their fair share of city water fountains but you have to be choosy as to which you’re willing to drink from. Some are nice-looking, some are not. You’re better off carrying a water bottle and topping it off before leaving the hotel.
5. Take a break. One of the best parts about eating in European restaurants is that they never want you to leave. Just try getting a waiter’s attention to get the bill, might take you a while. But take advantage, stay a while, enjoy the view and give your back and feet a break.
6. Grin and bear it. Everyone in Europe seems to smoke: dogs, kids, clowns. It’s just how it goes. So if you’re anti-smoking, just walk away and hope you don’t walk through another fog of cigarette smoke. And don’t be surprised if your non-smoking hotel or restaurant smells of smoke. In a Brussels B&B we complained about someone next door to us smoking and all the owner did was shrug his shoulders. Grin and bear it my friend.
So there are my warnings/tips. Pays to be prepared, I say. I know I’ve taken the joking route to express my experience of traveling while pregnant in Europe but I do hope someone can find it helpful!
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