Expat Getaways Babymoon Destinations - Things I learned travelling when pregnant

Babymoon Destinations – What I learned travelling when pregnant

I travelled a lot while pregnant. Including to some places that probably aren’t recommended while you are expecting. Have you travelled while pregnant? Where did you go and what advice would you give to other mums-to-be?


Here’s a rundown of my babymoon destinations and how far along I was when I visited:

5 weeks – Kerala, India

7 weeks – Laos and Northern Thailand

13 weeks – Kyushu, Japan

20-22 weeks – Australia; Melbourne, Ayers Rock and Sydney

24 weeks – Milan, Italy

29 weeks – Kyoto & Tokyo, Japan


It should be obvious but just to be clear; this is not medical advice! It is my opinion based on personal experience. Before you travel talk to your doctor and get your own medical advice based on your situation.


My pregnancy travel story…

5 weeks – Kerala, India india

You can read all about my One Week in Kerala, India.


I visited Kerala very early on in my pregnancy. I’d only known about it for a few days and was still coming to grips with how my life was going to change.


Thankfully my symptoms hadn’t really kicked in at this point. By the end of the week it was a different story. Indian cuisine definitely wasn’t the best for nausea and I had an extremely heightened sense of smell. Great for the smell of jasmine that greeted me at Indian Summer House, not so great for the other India smells that you come across on the street!


5 weeks pregnant before the symptoms kicked in. Expat Getaways - Babymoon Destinations.

What I learned: pack your medication

I always have an emergency first aid kit with me when I travel, mostly so I don’t need to seek out a pharmacy in the middle of a bad case of Delhi Belly. This is even more important while pregnant given the limited drugs you can take to begin with. Paracetemol, gastrostop and rehydration powders along with your pre-natal vitamins should all be at the top of the list.


7 weeks – Laos and Northern Thailand lao people's democratic republic thailand

Check out 48 Hours in Luang Prabang.


I’ve been desperate to get back to Laos and in particular Luang Prabang since visiting in 2011. The plans were set out, bookings made and then we just happened to get pregnant a little quicker than expected.


I wasn't in the mood for street food in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Expat Getaways - Babymoon Destinations.

Food was my biggest hurdle in Laos. Mostly because I had no desire for it. That left me with little energy to get through the day. This was when I realised I should have packed snacks. The food I could stomach certainly wasn’t the fragrant, spicy Asian dishes that I’d normally make a beeline for.


The stunning and slightly odd White Temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Expat Getaways - Babymoon Destinations.


The one part of this trip (that I loved) but in hindsight shouldn’t have done and wouldn’t do again was a two-day trip up the Mekong River to Chiang Rai, Thailand. As much as I loved relaxing on board the riverboat, if something had gone wrong, we were very, very far from help. And that’s before we start thinking about the Zika/tropical disease risk.


A river boat motors along the Mekong River. Luang Prabang, Laos. Expat Getaways, 48 Hours in Luang Prabang, Laos.

What I learned: pick your babymoon destinations

There are so many Pinterest worthy babymoon ideas out there. Tropical islands, massages by the pool and endless relaxation.


Unfortunately many of those tropical destinations also come with tropical diseases. Everyone is busy checking the warnings on Zika, but be sure to check out the malaria and dengue fever situation as well.


Now you might be thinking, hang on a second, you went to India, Laos and Thailand in the first trimester. They all seem quite tropical! Indeed.


I didn’t exactly follow my own advice. I made my own decisions based on plans that had been made pre-pregnancy and my interpretation of the advice issued by the World Health Organisation. Check the advice yourself. Talk to your doctor and make the decision that is right for you.


13 weeks – Kyushu, Japan japan

Japan isn’t the best place for travelling when pregnant. And for some reason I ended up visiting twice! No sushi, no sake and it is also questionable whether you should relax in a steaming onsen.


A traditional Japanese dinner at the Kurokawa ryokan. Expat Getaways - Babymoon Destinations.


Now add two pregnant women in their nausea ridden first trimester, driving winding mountain passes, staying in a traditional ryokan, eating authentic Japanese food for breakfast and dinner at a village famed for onsen hoping.


It could have been awful… but that depends on your attitude!


Picture perfect Japanese villages in Kyushu. Expat Getaways - Babymoon Destinations.


We travelled with another couple and had a ball. There was beautiful scenery and believe it or not there is more to Japanese cuisine than sushi. Tonkatsu (crumbed pork) and yakiniku (Japanese BBQ) are great options and I found miso soup nourishing for my sensitive stomach. There may have also been a run through the McDonalds drive through to satisfy my chicken nugget craving but I maintain it was so that the husbands could enjoy their sushi lunch without hangry pregnant wives watching in envy!


Enjoying a traditional Japanese ryokan in the onsen town Kurokawa. Expat Getaways - Babymoon Destinations.


What I learned: pack your own food

My appetite was all over the place while pregnant. Some foods turned me completely off (fragrant Indian curries), others I couldn’t have (sushi in Japan) or at times I was ravenous with no snacks in sight! Pack sweet and savoury snacks and comfort food. Muesli bars, dried fruit and nuts and crackers were all easy to stash in my day bag. I also packed lemon & ginger tea and ginger nut cookies for those times when nausea got the better of me.


Sushi was off the menu for me, but the boys could enjoy! Expat Getaways - Babymoon Destinations.


20-22 weeks – Australia; Melbourne, Ayers Rock and Sydney australia


Ahh the obligatory pilgrimage home before the baby arrives. It had been almost a year since I’d been on Aussie soil and I was looking forward to catching up with friends and family as well as scheduling in some time to chill in my hometown.


How wrong I was! Trips home when you are an expat are never relaxing. NEVER! If you have mastered this art please let me know.


You never have long enough to see everyone and always end up running yourself ragged. While I had time on my side, Andrew could only squeeze three days into his Aussie adventure. We spent a day with his Mum in Melbourne, a day with his Dad in country Victoria and a day hitting the baby shops. We definitely took advantage of more reasonably priced baby products and claiming it as duty free on the way home.


Thank goodness we had a generous baggage allowance because I sent hubby home with four bags and an extra 20kg on top of what he’d arrived with!


What I learned: take advantage of duty free

You can claim the 10% GST back on purchases from ANY store if your purchases from the 60 days prior to travel are over $AU300. This doesn’t need to be in the same transaction, but it does need to be the same ABN (Australian Business Number). If you need to check your duty free items (like that newly purchased stroller), you must declare it to customs BEFORE checking into your flight. For full details check out the official Tourist Refund Scheme.


Uluru/ Ayers Rock

Every year I look forward to catching up with my former tour guiding colleagues in a different part of Australia. This year we scheduled an off road adventure through the outback. All of us had worked in the Red Centre and knew the tourist trail like the back of our hands.


We wanted to go to all the places that we couldn’t take our tour guests to! But that would mean some seriously remote, desert locations.


Uluru is amazing at sunset, especially after a storm. Expat Getaways - Babymoon Destinations.


“I’ll be fine”, I reasoned. “I’ll be 21 weeks pregnant, I’m low risk and it’s the safest time to travel”, I justified. Accompanied by my old faithful, “what could go wrong?”


After much debate, both internal and with my husband we compromised. I’d go to Yulara, otherwise known as Ayers Rock Resort, to visit my friends and see them off, but give the off-road camping adventures a miss.


There’s something magical about the outback. As the plane arrived and I got a glimpse of Uluru and waves of nostalgia (and some serious FOMO) overwhelmed me. That or I was being your typical emotional pregnant lady!


The desert knows how to do a good sunset. Kata-Tjuta, Northern Territory. Expat Getaways - Babymoon Destinations.


I spent the afternoon watching crazy outback thunderstorms roll in and took a quick drive to see the rare waterfalls running down the side of the rock.


The next morning I was sitting around the breakfast table, enjoying my orange juice and casually chatting to my friends about my plans for a gentle morning walk when things went wrong. I stood up walked towards the kitchen and promptly collapsed, face first onto their tiled floor. No warning, I just fainted. The joys of pregnancy!


While it was unfortunate, it could have been much, much worse. My friends bundled me up and took me to the local clinic. Yulara is a small town home to about 1000 people. Of course this fluctuates with the huge number of tourists who flock to visit Uluru so there are medical facilities. Not much call for an obstetrics department though…


Watching storms rolling through Uluru. Absolute magic! Expat Getaways - Babymoon Destinations.


I could have fainted anywhere. It could have happened at home in Hong Kong, on a busy Sydney street or in this case in outback Australia. I did slightly feel like the universe was slapping me in the face as a gentle reminder that I was pretty stupid to even consider heading off road. But hey, at least I got to see my friends!


Watching the storms roll through the desert between Kata-Tjuta and Uluru from the top of a sand dune. Expat Getaways - Babymoon Destinations.


What I learned: check your travel insurance

Triple check what is and isn’t covered for pregnancy in your travel insurance. The last thing you need is a medical emergency in a foreign country and the worry of the bill you are accumulating in the process.


New South Wales

I’d planned to have ten days at home to catch up with family and friends in Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle. However after my little episode in the outback I was now faced with needing some extra medical attention, and no idea where to get it.


Enjoying seaside walks near my home town. Returning home as an expat is never as relaxing as you think! Expat Getaways - Babymoon Destinations.


I visited the hospital who referred me to the radiologists, who referred me to a local doctor who sent me off for blood tests. I finally got the results back just in time to head back home to Hong Kong.


I’ll say it again… trips home when you are an expat are never relaxing. NEVER!


Enjoying the view from my favourite restaurant in Terrigal, NSW. Expat Getaways - Babymoon Destinations.


What I learned: pack your medical file

You never know when something is going to happen and if it does it is nice to have your pregnancy history with you. Of all the exotic places I went to, it was Australia where I needed it. Having my most recent test results and blood pressure record made it that much easier for the doctors and nurses to give me the care I needed. It also made it easier collecting information from my Australian consultations to take back to my care providers in Hong Kong.


24 weeks – Milan, Italy italy

After the stress of my little fainting incident you might be wondering what possessed me to venture far from home again.


The views over stunning Lake Como, Italy. Expat Getaways - Babymoon Destinations.


All my travel to this point had been with friends or to see family. Andrew and I had not actually had much quality time away as a couple. Queue the proper BABYMOON!


We managed to squeeze in a five-day trip to Italy, two nights in Lake Como and another two in Milan. It was just what we needed.

Travelling in the off season to Lake Como didn't take away from the stunning views. Expat Getaways - Babymoon Destinations.

It was December so well and truly the off-season and quite cold, but that meant that we were able to snap up stunning accommodation at bargain prices and the crowds were nowhere to be seen.


December meant when we did tear ourselves away from the roaring fireplace, Christmas markets were in full swing and the cities were glittering with lights and decorations.


It was romantic, relaxing and just what we needed.


It was cold and wet but that didn't stop us enjoying Milan at christmas time. Expat Getaways - Babymoon Destinations.


What I learned: flying when pregnant

Check the rules around flying while pregnant with your airline. Most will allow you to fly into your third trimester but will require a “fit to fly letter” after 28 weeks. If flying earlier than this, especially if you are showing prominently it is worth carrying proof of due date from your doctor to avoid any arguments with airline staff.


Make yourself as comfortable as you can. Pick an aisle seat so you can get up and move every hour or so (not to mention you’ll probably need the bathroom more than normal).


29 weeks – Kyoto & Tokyo, Japan japan

Italy was supposed to be my last hurrah for a while. But I couldn’t help myself when a girlfriend from Australia wanted to meet up for a few days in Japan.


Exploring the bamboo forest outside Kyoto, Japan. Expat Getaways - Babymoon Destinations.


The biggest consideration for me travelling to Japanese cities (or any cities for that matter) at this point in my pregnancy was that the objective was sight-seeing rather than relaxing. That’s fine, but you need to be aware of your limitations in terms of getting around and fatigue.


I found I was good in the mornings, but after lunch I would need a bit of time to stop and sometimes nap before heading out for dinner in the evenings. By the end of my five nights away I was sore from being so active every day and was definitely ready for a rest.


Enjoying dessert on a food tour of Tokyo while 28 weeks pregnant. Expat Getaways - Babymoon Destinations.


What I learned: best time to travel when pregnant

This is entirely down to you. Most advice will recommend travelling during the second trimester. The danger zone/ nausea of the first trimester should be done and you should be feeling pretty good and hopefully have a bit more energy and able to enjoy


By the third trimester I didn’t want to go anywhere to be honest. I was getting big and being in any one position for more than an hour just wasn’t going to happen. Not to mention aches and pains and a serious urge to start nesting.


Having said that the biggest medical drama I had was bang in the middle of the second trimester, while travelling. Bottom line is, there are no rules when it comes to this!


My Last Pregnancy Travel Advice: Pick your activities

Obviously there are some things you won’t be doing on your holiday. I had to be content with some serious Facebook envy watching my close friends on an epic ski trip and another group on their four-wheel drive adventure through the Australian outback. I haven’t been scuba diving for months and just want to blow some bubbles.


For me sitting on the sidelines for those adventures was way worse than giving up booze, smoked salmon and sushi.


But at the end of the day it is just for a few months and I’m sure that the real adventures are just beginning.


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Expat Getaways Babymoon Destinations - Things I learned travelling when pregnant.