The first summer after our son was born, we decided a trip to Italy was in order. We had heard so many wonderful things about Italy in the summer, we had to take a trip there with my brother and his fiance at the time (my now sister in law). We carted way too much stuff around for this trip, but maybe it was because I knew we had 4 adults and 1 baby. This somehow managed to be one of the most difficult trips we ever took for many reasons. The itinerary was London to Pisa to the Cinque Terre to Florence. Here are some things I learned from this trip.
Pack light! Even if you feel like you need something, you probably don’t. As I mentioned in my last post, pick hotels and flats that have pack n plays already there. You do not want to be carting that around the trains and airports. It’s difficult to make it from point A to B on the trains in the smaller towns in Italy. There are less defined walkways for strollers and the trains are RARELY on time there. We found ourselves waiting hours in Pisa due to a train strike and it was HOT!!! It was the first time I ever saw Camden sweat. The poor little British babe had barely seen the sun in his lifetime so far. I’ll never forget some very sweaty nursing sessions in the train station in Pisa. We finally hopped on the last train to the Cinque Terre that night and arrived to a gorgeous 2 bedroom flat that had a pack n play. The only reason we brought ours is because we weren’t sure if they had one. 🤦🏼♀️ Sure enough, we brought it for nothing. My brother hasn’t let us live that one down (because he was the one carrying it!).
Purchase items upon arrival: Buy baby food once you arrive. Only pack enough food for your travel (+ any unexpected delay time). I mistakenly carried on all of our baby food (Ryan air///saving money on checked bags) and I proceeded to yell at the attendant that if he opened all of our food jars, we would lose all of that money because Camden couldn’t possibly finish 15 jars of food in 24 hours. OMG I can still see the embarrassing scene now with Jared slowly helping me back away. I wasn’t thinking clearly that if I was telling them not to open them, it looked like I had something to hide! They threw them all away (except for 2-3 jars for that day) and I purchased more food when we got to Florence. Mom hormones got the best of me on that one!
Bring a carrier when you set out for the day even if you don’t expect needing it. You never know when you might change plans and need a nap on the go! We had an old style baby bjorn (a crotch dangler we now call it because the legs hang straight down instead of in an M shape) that we used when we were out and about on the hiking trails between cities in the Cinque Terre. See pic below! This was one of our most favorite places to visit in all of Europe because of the beauty and small town feel. Each town in the Cinque Terre is so unique and beautiful. There’s so many different ways to explore the towns.
Extra adults never hurt while traveling abroad. There’s no such thing as too many adults when you’re traveling with children! We loved having 4 adults to navigate the needs of a baby while figuring out difficult bumps in the road with our travel plans. Figuring out how to get around Pisa on a bus in the heat with a baby and all of our belongings to find a different train station was definitely not for the faint of heart! We definitely recommend having some extra hands on board!
Have a plan B. It’s not necessary, but research ahead of time a different course of action if there happens to be a train strike or a shutdown of some kind. Have an alternate mode of transport mapped out just in case your plan A doesn’t work out!
We hope that you find these tips useful for your travels!