Early this spring, Jay and I were feeling the travel bug. The bug was more of an elephant, hard to ignore, and difficult to scoot. We had just had Anouk in October, and with the advent of her first half birthday, we felt that it could be a good time to go abroad with her.
For about a month ahead, we were talking to friends, other moms, and family, and everyone was looking at us like we were absolutely nuts. “You are taking a 6 month old to a third world country?” “What about Zika?” “What responsible mom takes a baby on a 12 hour trip?” (URUGUAY IS NOT THIRD WORLD, BY THE WAY)
I am not going to lie… i felt a little pressure to “just go to the Caribbean.” But Jay and I had wanted to go off the beaten path, and Uruguay was our(my) destination of choice. It was hard to resist, and so we went.
Because Jay is a pilot, we have sort of a funny travel arrangement. Any pilot’s wife can probably attest to the difficulties of non-revving (flying standby) with children, but I was not going to let that get in the way of what could be the trip of a lifetime.
And so the experiment began… how do you get 2 parents and a newborn baby from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Montevideo, Uruguay without loosing their minds…
Tip 1- Research
Because we are not able to plan our trips in the classic sense of an itinerary, we have to be willing to work within the grey. We went online to see what airlines flew to Montevideo, and how often (www.flightconnections.com). We checked the time of the flights (red eyes out of Miami) and thought to ourselves, “What are the chances that people are going to buy a last minute ticket from the USA to Uruguay?” Probably pretty slim. So our thought was… if there are still a handful of available seats to sell on the night before we want to go on the trip, we are probably going to make the flight…
Tip 2- Positive thinking
The night before we were hoping to depart, we knew that we were going to be taking a gamble getting across the globe to our destination. But we thought positively. I went online, looking for restaurants that could be good, learned some cultural yes’s and no-no’s (YOU NEVER TURN RIGHT ON RED) and looked up some history. I searched www.Airbnb.com to see what kinds of accommodations were available, checked the weather, and the currency exchange rate. And I considered what a time zone change might do to a baby that is just learning day from night.
Tip 3- Dive in
We woke up at 3 am to catch a flight out of O HARE. With TWA’s notoriety in that airport, we knew we had to be up early. We caught a flight from Chicago->Miami. Waited there for a few hours, then took the overnight from MIA-> MVD. When we landed, we knew we were really onto something.
Uruguay is full incredibly nice people. While we were staying in the capital city, we stayed in a hotel in the Centro neighborhood. There was a delicious breakfast every morning. Each day that we went down to eat, a group of fellow travelers could come and tickle Anouk’s toes, smile, and her, and eventually take her from our arms. They would treat her like their own grandchild! We were so surprised, and a little shocked. BUT WE WERE ON BOARD! Uruguayans love babies! They can go anywhere… and people are happy to see them! She came with us to a wonderful winery, to steak dinners, to museums, and traveling with her was an absolute blast.
I’d love to meet you on twitter here.
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