Pregnancy Travel Tips
To be honest, I didn’t think traveling while pregnant would be that different from my previous, non-pregnant travel experiences. However, the exhaustion and discomfort paired with the general indignities of air travel (sidenote: can you believe airline traveling used to be glamorous?) definitely have me rethinking that whole idea. To make things easier and gentler on yourself, here are some tips and tricks to make sure pregnancy doesn’t hinder your wanderlust (too much). I will say that it’s also okay to feel like you don’t want to travel as much even if your wandering soul used to love hopping on planes and trains to all manners of new destinations. Listen to what your body and soul call you to do right now. Perhaps it’s a time be more grounded and find stillness. That’s beautiful and an adventure all its own. If you do need to travel or choose to do so, hopefully these tips can allow you to move through it with a bit more ease.
(1) Get TSA Pre-Check. After sitting on the security conveyer belt to take off my boots because I literally cannot bend over, I decided to take some action. Since I always travel with my laptop, the ability to leave it in my bag and keep my shoes on is a huge energy saver.
(2) Wear comfortable shoes. I typically wear booties with jeans everywhere in the winter so I didn’t think anything of it on my first leg of my trip to Colorado. Let’s just say I didn’t make that mistake again. Sneakers, it is! I’m loving these right now since they look great with jeans and leggings (my current uniform).
(3) Leggings. Speaking of leggings, even with a small second trimester bump, anything too tight or constricting is a no go. Stick to stretchy, breathable fabrics. This pair from Old Navy ($14.99!) has been great since they don’t stretch out and get baggy but allow plenty of room to sit comfortably for long periods of time.
(4) Reserve an aisle seat. Make sure you can take your many, many bathroom trips without feeling like that pregnant lady when you force your row to get up again…and again.
(5) Check that bag. I know, the added expense is so annoying but not having to lug an extra weight around (especially if you have connecting flights) and not having to worry about lifting a heavy bag is worth the price. Plus, then you can pack a larger suitcase. Let’s be honest, you never know how you’re going to feel in your clothes these days so the more options the better!
(6) Pack options. With your body changing so rapidly, something that felt right a few days ago might feel awkward or accentuate something you’re feeling particularly self conscious about. I think pregnancy gives you license to overpack! Even if you love heels (this 5’2 gal does!), pack some flats that work for going out in case your feet are swollen and angry after your first night out and about. Mules work well for this!
(7) Bring snacks. Halfway through one of my flights, I was ravenous and ordered a bunch of overpriced, unhealthy chips and candy just to satiate my growling tummy. Now I carry a large bag with trail mix, almonds, Luna bars, clementines, an apple and Justin’s peanut butter cups to make sure I’m prepared with lots of protein and healthy fats to keep me full and energized.
(8) Bring a water bottle. I fill mine before I leave for the airport and make myself finish it by the time I’m at security to ensure I’m hydrated when I board. I refill it as soon as I’m through security so I have water to last through the flight.
(9) Don’t be afraid to speak up. On my last flight, overhead space was at a premium and people were aggressively trying to put their bags above them. At one point, a woman was reaching above me to place her bag a few feet in front of her. I kindly told her I was pregnant and would prefer if she waited so there was no risk of her bag falling on me. Those mama bear instincts are real and you have to watch out for that bump! Same goes for people pushing you as they get on and off the plane.
(10) Schedule rest. I’m not a napper, a rester or a slow-downer when I travel. That said, as a pregnant traveler, I find that I really need down time. Being able to lay down in between activities and scheduling dinner earlier so I can get back to unwind before bed has been crucial for me.
(11) Go with the flow. I tend to want to eat, do and see everything when I travel and it’s been a little frustrating to feel limited in how much I can do in a day or not being able to try a dish that looks so good (seriously, is ahi tuna taking over the world one menu at a time?). Be gentle with yourself and take in the parts you can enjoy. You won’t be pregnant forever so these limitations are only temporary.
(12) Boost your immune system. I tend to get sick when I travel either way but it’s been so much harder with pregnancy. Your immune system is suppressed when you’re expecting to make sure your body doesn’t reject baby so you’re so much more susceptible to all those airborne illnesses. Pack elderberry syrup, take in vitamin C from real foods, keep up with your prenatal vitamins, drink tons of water, and wash your hands often.