Twelve reasons to travel during maternity leave

travel during maternity leave

There are a number of people that don’t agree with my decision to travel during maternity leave. I have learnt this through the backlash I received in the media when our story went viral a few months ago. Peoples concerns were always the same – “You’re selfish, this is about you, not the baby” or “What about travel vaccinations?” or “How did you finance it?” I felt I could answer everyone’s questions but essentially it’s each to their own I say! No harm came to Esmé and we had the most amazing first year of her life, all together as a family.

As many of you will know, we packed up our home when our new born was ten weeks old, sold our car and rented out the house to travel. We started our trip off visiting Singapore first, a few months in New Zealand followed by an epic journey commencing in Australia and through a large proportion of South East Asia. All before our daughter turned one!

I know many people have envied our trip because they may have been too scared to do it themselves. It’s been so lovely for us to hear we have already inspired many others to take the leap since they’ve heard our story.

Let me see if I can help you to make the decision with our twelve reasons to travel during maternity leave.

  1. Travel during maternity leave

    1. When else will you have this period of time off again?

    I just feel it’s an opportunity not to be missed. Now, I know Mums outside the U.K have different maternity leave entitlements so it makes it near impossible to do what we did if you live in America, for example. However, for the rest of us from the other places where we can have a year off, why not do something different?
    Travel during maternity leave

    2. You do not have to maintain a household

    This is something I just loved! No cleaning or dealing with general household administration whilst trying to get used to being a new mum.

    Travel during maternity leave

    3. Quality uninterrupted time as a family

    We did it together rather than doing it alone on my maternity leave.

    Travel during maternity leave

    4. The second parent develops an equal relationship with baby

    I appreciate there are many single parents, however as Shaun was able to be with us for the majority of the year, he has an equally amazing bond with Esmé. She doesn’t just cry for Mum, she always asks for both of us which I feel is really lovely.

    Travel during maternity leave

    5. When baby is exclusively breastfed it is the best time to travel

    I recently interviewed an infectious diseases Dr Sarah Logan from University College London Hospital. Her opinion was it is the best time to travel with baby when they are exclusively breastfed. This is due to the amount of immunity they get from the milk as well as the reduced risk of water / food contamination. This is such a big topic that I wrote a whole page about it here.

    Travel during maternity leave

    6. Do it now whilst they are a little less mobile

    Although we still travel extensively, I really appreciate the time we spent travelling when Esmé was a baby. It is just so much easier compared to when they start walking!

    Travel during maternity leave

    7. … and before they cost an arm and a leg at age 2

    I think I can safely say we have made full use of babies go for 10% before they are two. With most airlines, come two years old, it is almost full price for a toddler’s ticket making it more expensive for families.

    Travel during maternity leave

    8. It may be more cost effective than staying at home

    In our financial circumstances it was more cost effective to travel during maternity leave and spend a lot of time in South East Asia. It was the difference between having a year off and not. This is due to the cost living and a mortgage in London.

    Travel during maternity leave

    9. It’s harder to spend money than you think

    So you would think it’s really expensive to travel as a small family for a long period of time but the truth is it’s harder to spend money because you just can’t fit in as much as one use to pre-baby. During our time away we had to take things nice and slowly, we didn’t do all the activities for obvious reasons and we didn’t drink our own body weight in alcohol (as we would have pre-baby).

    Travel during maternity leave

    10. Its character building

    Many people have said to me “she won’t remember any of it, what a waste”. I agree she won’t remember anything but as we all know baby’s brains are a sponge and absorb the most amount of information in the first year of life. Why not expose them to a multitude of sites, smells and sounds? Why not allow them to interact with a multitude of different people from other cultural backgrounds? Anyone that knows Esmé will surely tell you she is the most sociable baby going. I think that may be how the experience has impacted on her the most.

    Travel during maternity leave

    11. It may reduce the chances of post-natal depression

    A large claim I know and I don’t have any scientific evidence to back it up. But I think if you are leading a fun-filled lifestyle alongside becoming a new mum, it can only help with reducing the blues, not make it worse. For me, I was lucky enough to have my partner with me for the year. His constant company definitely helped. I have no idea if I would have developed post-natal depression if I stayed at home, but I certainly can see how it happens to a number of new mums.

    Travel during maternity leave

    12. You will take the most amazing photos and create special memories

    I think one reason the media went crazy on our story was because of the tonnes of amazing photos we have of Esmé as a baby in different environments. From sitting outside picturesque temples in Vietnam in her hippy Asian print dress, to enjoying the steepest cable care ride in the world, we are so lucky to have this evidence to show her when she gets older.

    Travel during maternity leave
    I would love to know if you would travel during maternity leave and if we have inspired you in any way to take the leap. Make sure to leave a comment and let us know!

See also:

 

By | 2017-07-16T17:12:33+00:00 July 26th, 2016|Travel Tips, Uncategorized|36 Comments

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36 Comments on "Twelve reasons to travel during maternity leave"

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Jenny
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Thank you!! I truly believe that baby is happiest when parents are happiest… So don’t listen to the hate, its envy…. I don’t have a baby yet, but I totally feel inspired by your story! 🙂 We also have one year of maternity leave here in Germany, so why not!
I love your blog, thank you.

Julia
Guest
Amazing story !Who said having a baby has to change your life & character and your love for travel. I don’t think it’s selfish at all,yes obviously you need to think of safety and do research and have a lot of patience but it’s a best imaginable way spending your maternity leave; it’s the same as taking a gap year from uni to what I have done the only difference it’s at a latter stage of your life and lucky enough with your family. It’s an inspiring story and for our family something we are planning to do in a… Read more »
Hannah
Guest

I love your blog, we are keen travellers too & have just had our son. I want to go back to Thailand when he’s going to be 1. I’m interested in the practicalities, such as injections: was Esme able to have all she needed before you left? What did she have?
What did you do about car seats?
And how was she on the flights?
Is there anything you wish you knew then, that you know now?

Thank you so much for your blog – you have really inspired us!

Valérie Canuel
Guest

Very inspiring! Which destinations would you recommend with a baby, considering that we like to hike? Thank you so much!

Mai2
Guest

Lovely!! I’d like to experience that too when 2nd baby comes out on April. It’ll be so handy that I’ll be breastfeeding and babywear. Hubby will be in charge of our 3yo then toddler as we go on a trip together.

I just feel sad that we only have 2-month maternity leave here in the Philippines. Or do you think it’ll be okay to travel before new babe gets 2mos?

Helen
Guest

Hello

Its looks amazing but my husband and I would be stopped at the airport by the Grandparents ! lol

Helen

Filippa
Guest

How wonderful to read your blog! It’s nice to hear someone else having the same thoughts when traveling and experiencing are such passionate parts of ones life. Me and my partner have been having the same thoughts about traveling with babies, and it’s amazing to see how people actually have fulfilled their backpacking trip with a little one. We have no baby yet, but are hoping to do the same when it’s time for us.

Warm regards from Sweden 🙂

Jodie
Guest
I’m 28, have travelled well over the last few years, and heading to Canada and Japan this year plus a few city breaks. My partner commented on your article and it definitely has inspired me to travel during maternity leave – whenever that may be! You have a great attitude to making the most your time with baby and enjoying yourself with your partner – rather than being sat in a house for 12 month. Also, Esme will look back at all the photos when she’s older and what a great story for her to tell to everyone she meets… Read more »
Fiona
Guest

Brilliant blog! It’s really reassuring (and an inspiration) to see how much you have travelled with Esme already. We are expecting our first in June and although we won’t be doing anything as adventurous as you guys, we defo want to introduce our little one to the experience of visiting new countries as soon as possible. We’ll find your blog a great source of useful tips when planning our first getaways as a family and look forward to seeing your continuing adventures!

Jenine
Guest

I have a 1 year old and love traveling, I never back packed before and would love advice where to start, planning and doing it on a budget any advice would be great thank you

Lucie
Guest
Hi, I’m expecting my first little one this June, and one of my concerns was about traveling with my baby. I don’t believe that what you have done is selfish at all – I know we are going to love our baby with all our hearts, but and both have promised to ourselves that life will go on as normal as possible (even though I totally understand things are going to change, and we will have to adapt). Your blog had reaffirmed that traveling with a small one is possible on any budget. I’m not a big flyer at all,… Read more »
Leah Urbasik
Guest

You rock, good on you and your family. I grew up traveling with my Mom, and now as a new Mom myself on Maternity leave I am taking every opportunity available to do the same.

As a fellow ‘Travel Mad Mom’ it’s super inspiring to read about your adventures and philosophies on traveling with children, its still a scary concept just leaving the house some days so knowing that there are other people out there still exploring this wonderful world of ours and adapting to travelling with a child, is a huge comfort.

Thank you for sharing your journey, tips and adventure.

simona
Guest

Hey Karen,
OMG! I just loved reading your story!
I am supposed to give birth soon and would love to travel with my husband and baby.
Where would you recomemend to travel for a period of 2-3 months and why?
Where would it be easiest for us as new parents?

Thanks,
Simone

Dale C Rubin
Guest

I think it’s not good to travel during pregnancy it can hurt both of the lives mother as well baby too

pnr status
Guest

I am enjoying your blog post. Thanks for sharing beautiful blog post.

Alexandria Ball
Guest
Hi Karen I am due to have my baby in September this year and I can wait for it all to happen. I love to travel and have lived and worked in a number of different countries as well as being a flight attendant for 8 years. This is the first time I have seen anything like this and I absolutely love reading your posts. How unbelievably amazing and what a wonderful finstead year to spend as a family. I think your posts are totally inspiring and I can with to see your next baby gap year. Unfortunately my partner… Read more »
jessie
Guest

yes you have!!!
my wife and i talk about doing this all the time.
Not for a year, but at least for a month-two months
I’m in love with your pictures and this idea! Will you be posting a blog of your itinerary from your year?

Mya
Guest

So lucky you are to have a so long maternity leave & the possibility to travel. Here in France we just have 8 weeks! That’s not enough to learn bein a mom and benefit from Baby !!!

Richard Shuler
Guest

travelling during maternity leave is a bit of a no-brainer for me. If you love travel it’s the perfect excuse to squeeze a whole suitcase full of adventures in. Whether your workplace offers a generous twelve months of paid maternity leave or the bare minimum statutory pay, there’s no denying it’s a unique period in your life when you can escape the office for a decent chunk of time.

Auzzi
Guest

The idea of traveling on maternity break is just sooooooo brilliant. It bugs me a lot that a mother ends up ruining her career for raising a person for our future society. This is a fantastic idea to make the most out of it for all sides. Every mother should do that. Discover the world and use this as a positive opportunity rather than a burden.
Best wishes for the second baby!

Iveta
Guest

Amazing!!! I am fed up with people saying that once you have a kid,you can’t travel as before…with all the critics of the world (and which i didn’t care at all) we visited with our little princess around 25 countries in 4 years…incredible how this made of her an independent, open minded,flexible and extremely curious little global citizen always asking when will we be flying again? 😉

ukRache
Guest

Hi karen, its sounds amazing im trying to convince my boyfriend that we should do this. How many weeks old was your baby when you set off ? Did you have to take out any specific insurance for any medical issues that could occur whilst there? Do you recommend doing it as soon as possible or waiting until the baby is about 6 months old? I think i would only travel for 6 months so that our parents didnt get too upset about their new grandchild not being around, were both of your families supportive ?

Mary
Guest

Totally inspired. Looks amazing. And as challenging as it would be with a baby, its going to be that little bit more challenging when you have two or three of them. Well done!

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