Where to travel for babymoons and pregnancy holidays
Where to travel for babymoons and pregnancy holidays
Taking a babymoon before a new arrival joins you is becoming more and more common as parents take advantage of the calm before the storm. We’ve teamed up with best-selling author and mummy blogger Giovanna Fletcher and other top parent bloggers to bring you the best advice on planning your pre-baby holiday.
Meet Giovanna Fletcher – author, presenter, actress, blogger, and mum
Giovanna Fletcher has written four novels that have won her a huge fan base, including Billy and Me and Always With Love. She lives in London with her husband Tom Fletcher and their two sons, Buzz and Buddy. She is also often seen teaming up with her husband Tom to share their adventures into parenthood on both their blogs and social media channels, where they have a huge following.
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Giovanna’s babymoon to Disney World
When we were on honeymoon in St Lucia we met a couple who were there on babymoon – a time for the expectant parents to focus on relaxing together before their new arrival entered the world a few months later. It was the first time I’d ever heard the term, and I instantly fell in love with the idea.
Fast forward a year and it was us expecting, only I found out a few hours before we were flying to Walt Disney World for a week. That trip ended up being our last holiday as a duo, which, considering we both loved running around the place like children ourselves and had been there multiple times over the years, it was a fitting destination for our final holiday as just the two of us (well, until the children grow up and decide they don’t want to come along anymore).
We stayed at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, a hotel we’ve stayed at before and love for its location between the parks and relaxed nature. Disney hotels are usually self-catering, but we always book well in advance and get some sort of meal plan with it, which effectively means you’re getting your meals at a cheaper price – and it’s always good to be a little frugal where possible.
My expectation for the holiday changed as soon as I took that pregnancy test. Suddenly I was worried about the flight, the food, the heat . . . My focus turned to what was the best for me and the baby I was carrying. Quite simply, mum forums became my best friend. I was constantly searching the internet for answers to my obscure questions and then feeling comforted by my findings.
That being said, I had a lovely holiday. I might not have been able to go on all the rides, drink alcohol or stay in the heat too long (the sickness of the first trimester kicked in straight away), but there was something enchanting about walking hand in hand with Tom knowing we were embarking on a whole new chapter together. Plus being pregnant meant I was allowed plenty of guilt-free ice-cream to help cool me down! Major win!
Health and safety
The biggest surprise for me while being away was the restrictions health and safety put on me and my new condition. It wasn’t something I’d ever really thought about, but in reality, I was glad those guidelines were there to keep us both safe.
I don’t think many people would choose to have a babymoon in a theme park – they’re usually meant to be peaceful and on a deserted island somewhere – but the unexpected turn of events worked for us. We managed to experience a magical place we love at a completely different pace while enjoying time together and dreaming up what the future was going to have in store for us.
Slow down – just enjoy it
My advice to anyone planning a trip would be to just enjoy it. Slow down and forget any work worries. Life will resume in all its chaos when you get home, but for that little break focus on you and your partner. After all, it’s you two who started this whole thing!
In need of destination inspiration? Find out which places the bloggers recommend for a babymoon, and why.
Meet Cathy Winston from MummyTravels
Cathy Winston is the award-winning travel writer behind MummyTravels. She has visited 60 countries (so far) by plane, train, boat and camel, where she’s been climbed on by a lemur and zip-wired across an Italian mountain valley. Determined not to let a baby stop her seeing the world, she’s also now survived multiple long-haul flights with her daughter.
I’d spent all my pregnancy with people telling me that I’d have to give up travel once my baby was born (not actually true, but that’s another story). So when it came to booking a babymoon, I was determined to have one last exciting hurrah… just in case.
And with volcanoes, whale watching and pineapple plantations, the Azores were perfect. Part of Portugal, they sit in the Atlantic almost a thousand miles west of Lisbon but while it feels like you’re heading off the beaten track to this less well-known part of Europe, it’s only a four-hour flight away.
Unusual and undiscovered – but near to home
At 29 weeks pregnant, this was just what I wanted: unusual, undiscovered but still part of the EU and not actually that far from home.
With nine islands scattered across 350 miles of ocean, I stuck to the largest one, Sao Miguel. Just 40 miles long and 10 miles wide, there was still plenty to discover.
Staying in the capital Ponta Delgada felt like I’d stepped back in time. The pace of life is entirely laid-back, but as I waddled along the pretty cobbled streets spotting intricate tiles and traditional brightly coloured Portuguese architecture, I was happy to take it as slow as the donkeys that roam through some of the island’s cliff-side villages.
From the viewpoints on the cliffs, I even managed to spot dolphins frolicking in the waves. You can see whales year-round too, although the bump meant that a boat trip out to see them was sadly off the cards.
Instead I lounged in the sunshine drinking up the green hills and bright blue lakes in calderas created long ago by the volcanoes, listening to the legends which have sprung up around them. Sao Miguel’s volcanoes are dormant – though not strictly extinct – but wherever you go, you’re reminded of their power.
In some places steam hisses through vents, water bubbles in springs and mud blups between the cracks in the earth, leading to one of the island’s more unusual traditions: cozido.
At the village of Furnas, men in wellies were busy hauling pots out of the ground. Packed with food, they’d been cooking slowly in the underground heat since the early hours to create this classic local lunch.
Eating local dishes – for two
With layers of pork, spicy black pudding and chorizo, not to mention chicken, beef and vegetables galore, the smoky meat is a carnivore’s dream. And I was eating for two. Especially as I had to skip an accompanying drink made with the pineapple liqueur from the plantation nearby (although I stashed a bottle away in my suitcase to wet the baby’s head later).
The climate means the tropical fruit grows perfectly here, along with tea leaves one Europe’s only commercial tea plantation at Cha Gorreana, where machinery dating back to British India is still in use.
Only one thing remained after all that exploration: to relax… in a nice warm geothermal lake. Lying back in water heated to around 27/28C, it may have been a murky brown shade but there was simply nothing better to soothe away any stress.
Meet Karen Edwards from Travel Mad Mum
Karen is the owner of the website Travel Mad Mum and a travel enthusiast who went on several trips throughout pregnancy, including New Zealand. When Karen had her daughter Esmé, her and her partner sold their car, rented the house out and used Karen’s year of maternity leave to travel the world.
When someone says Ibiza I used to think, nightclubs, alcohol, sun, sea and friends. It’s not necessarily babymooning that pops to mind. But does the Balearic Island in the beautiful Mediterranean Sea have more to offer than just parties? Anyone that has been there and escaped the bright lights of the San Antonio or Playa Den Bossa strip will most certainly say YES! From the glorious coastline, luxury spa hotels and charming little Spanish villages, there is something for everyone in Ibiza. The flight time from the U.K is around two hours which is perfect for this kind of trip. I spent my babymoon in Ibiza at 34 weeks pregnant and had a fabulous time.
So what could you do if you choose Ibiza as your babymoon destination?
Visit one of the many incredible beaches - The variety of beaches is perfect to ensure all types of travellers are catered for. There are many hidden, off the beaten track beaches where you can go and relax for the entire day. Alternatively, if like me you like to listen to chillout Ibiza tunes, there are many beaches where music can be heard, fresh juices and old drinks are served on the beach. It is by no means party vibes but instead incredibly relaxing.
Visit Ibiza Town - This beautiful port city has a great selection of world-class restaurants dotted along its cobbled streets. Buildings are white washed and draped with fuchsia pink flowers. It really is a photographer’s haven. Sit and treat yourself to delicious Spanish cuisine and watch the buzz around you of locals playing music and dancing. There are also many boutique fashion stores within the town where you can find the cutest baby outfits if you fancy shopping.
Take a day trip to Formentera - Th e short boat journey across to the island is stunning. As it is quite small it is really easy and accessible to get around all the sites. Make sure to check out the light house and one of the best beaches in the world.
Take a yoga class – Ibiza is a hub for yoga retreats and is the ideal place to take a class. Many classes often have stunning views across the coastline or landscape. Yoga is a great way to stretch and keep healthy during pregnancy. It’s also a nice activity to do as a couple.
Book a massage - Couple massage seems like an ideal activity on a babymoon. If you are staying at a hotel do some research before booking to ensure they are happy to do pregnancy massage.
Catch a sunset - Café del Mar is renowned for one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. Sip on a mocktail whilst listening to some chillout music and ensure to have some of the yummy tapas.
Other than soaking up all Ibiza has to offer soon-to-be new parents, make sure to enjoy every minute together. Relaxing, unwinding and giving each other lots of love and attention. Mums make sure to get your feet up and be waited on with foot rubs, fresh ice cold mocktails and delicious local food.
Meet Dave from The DADventurer
Dave is a thirty-something, happily married bloke who blogs, vlogs and podcasts at The DADventurer. The DADventurer is recognised as a top UK dad and chronicles life as a stay-at-home dad to his 2-year old daughter. With appearances from the missus and sausage dog, he shares his experiences, thoughts and random musings about parenthood in an honest, light-hearted and often excessively sweary way.
Back in the summer of 2014, a pregnant missus and I decided to have a relaxing break together for our wedding anniversary – a sort of calm before the upcoming baby storm, if you will.
As the missus was well into the third trimester, this had a big say in our chosen destination. The idea of relaxing on a Jamaican beach sipping cocktails obviously appealed, but the reality would have been vastly different.
She’d have been too sweaty, would only be able to drink mocktails and would probably go into labour on the long flight home. It’d make a great birth story, but it wasn’t quite what we were looking for from our break.
Plenty to see and do
Instead, we chose to go up to North Yorkshire and explore the expansive coastline. Not quite the Caribbean, but a pretty awesome part of the UK nonetheless. With seaside towns, rocky cliffs, sandy beaches and open countryside, there were plenty of different things for us to do and see.
As money was tight with a baby on the way, we had to sacrifice luxury for practicality. It would have been awesome to have spent a few nights in a 5* hotel, but a self-catering holiday let was all our budget could stretch to. This was absolutely fine though and the location in Filey gave us a good base for our adventures.
Over the course of our break, we visited a number of seaside towns including Scarborough, Whitby, Bridlington, Filey and Robin Hood’s Bay. We didn’t do anything too exciting, it was mainly just looking around the shops, strolling along the seafronts or wandering on the beach. Oh, and stopping pretty frequently so the missus could find a toilet.
On our actual wedding anniversary, we decided to travel a little further afield to visit the venue where we got hitched. As we hadn’t been back since getting married, having a fancy meal in our special place was a cool way to celebrate our past as we looked towards our soon to change future.
Scoring some husband points
Whilst there, I also managed to score a few husband points by surprising the missus with a pregnancy massage in the spa – with a special ‘bump’ massage table, she enjoyed being able to lie down on her front for the first time in months!
I could say that our babymoon was one final hurrah. A wild few days where we tore up the rule book, through caution to the wind and did other overused clichés. The truth though, is that we didn’t - that was never the intention. The whole point was to get away for a few days, spend some quality time together and have our last pre-baby break. It couldn’t have gone any better or been any nicer.
Meet John Adam from Dad Blog UK
John Adam is a well-known blogger, responsible for writing Dad Blog UK. He writes about his experiences as a stay at home dad from London with two young daughters: Helen, aged seven and Izzy aged three. He is married to Gill, who works full time.
My wife and I went on a short babymoon to Oxford before Helen, our first child was born. I guess you would say it was a bit of a staycation. Thankfully Gill’s pregnancy was reasonably straightforward and so we were able to continue living our lives relatively normally for the first two trimesters. This meant we were able to travel. Just as well - Gill’s family lives in Scotland while mine are 100 miles away.
Road trip to the City of Dreaming Spires
We went to visit friends and relatives in and around the City of Dreaming Spires. It was a road trip and so we stayed overnight in a couple of different locations.
On our first night, we were with friends in Oxford itself. I overlooked the fact we were supposed to bring our own bedding. This was a big mistake as we ended up sleeping on a blow-up mattress that slowly leaked air as the night went on. We also had little more than a couple of blankets to keep us warm.
It was a very uncomfortable night, especially for poor old Gill who was in the second trimester at the time. My advice: check and double check the sleeping arrangements. Pregnant women can find it hard to sleep at the best of times. Place them on a horrible blow-up mattress with minimal bedding and you make a bad situation worse.
I am sorry, but I will also have to raise the issue of toileting. If a woman is carrying a baby, all the internal organs get squeezed, including the bladder. I hardly need to outline what effect this has on the poor old mum-to-be.
I mention this because I can think of a horrendous experience we had after spending a few days away in the Cotswolds. We were driving back home on the M25 and for some reason the entire carriageway was closed. We were stuck in traffic, mostly at a standstill, for four hours.
I will not go into the precise details, but after a considerable wait my wife had to disappear into the back of the car with nothing but the Sunday newspapers covering the windows to keep her modesty. It may sound like daft advice but keeping something like a Lady Pee to hand may make your travels easier.
Keep your birth plan to hand
No matter where you are travelling or what you are doing, complete the birth plan and keep it with you at all times. Wherever we went, the birth plan went with us. Dad (or the birthing partner) also has to be familiar with the plan so they can step in and inform medical professionals what mum’s wishes are.
If you are travelling abroad, you must make sure you have travel insurance. I am a former travel journalist and I heard some horror stories of people going overseas without insurance. If you do this while pregnant, especially to a country like the United States of America, then you are taking a major risk both with your life and that of your baby.
If travelling within the European Union, you should also ensure you have a European Health Insurance Card. Although we didn’t need to make use of this while Gill was pregnant, we did when we went on holiday just a few months after the birth of our first daughter.
She fell ill with a vomiting bug and worried she may be dehydrated, took her to the local hospital. Thankfully she was given the all clear a few hours later but it rammed home the importance of having medical cover in place.
Whatever you are doing for your babymoon, go and have fun. There is no reason at all why you can’t travel and see the world and have one last child-free holiday. In fact, I encourage it. It all changes once children are on the scene!