Chronic Travel Bug: 7 General Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

There are a million articles online about this topic, and I read a lot of them. Before delving in depth on what I learned about my Disney pregnancy excursion, I wanted to share a couple of things in general that reading other articles didn’t prepare me for.

  1. The plane ride is gonna suck.

Keep in mind that flying from Texas to California is a little three hour flight. That’s it. I don’t know how anyone flies long distance while pregnant. I was prepared to get up and stretch my legs every once in a while, but that just didn’t matter much. The seats looked plush enough, but for most of the flight I was extremely uncomfortable. The sciatic nerve pain is a real bitch. I know bitch isn’t a very Disney word but it belongs here. Trust me.

It didn’t help that for the flight out, I was pretty sleep-deprived. I thought I could just sleep on the plane! Silly me. I can *usually* just sleep on the plane, but it’s just not gonna happen when you’re pregnant.

I wish I had a solution to this problem. Do they make pregnancy butt pads? I’m guessing not, since getting up and walking is essential when you’re pregnant – you’re at a much higher risk for blood clots, so you need to move. Maybe that’s why nature came up with the unbearable butt pain solution.

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But what nature didn’t take into account is turbulence on air planes. If the pilot turns on the seat belt sign (like he did on the flight home), too bad for you and your butt!

I’m only flying at 19 weeks pregnant, by the way. I’ve heard that the sciatic nerve pain is more of a third trimester thing. Tell that to my second trimester butt!

So yeah. Unless you get creative, the plane ride will suck. I took a peek at first class but like I said, the normal seats looked comfy. Without a good test-sit, I can’t vouch for them. What I can say is that extra leg room might have helped a bit during the turbulence, but other than that I’m out of ideas.

  • 2. Keep Uber close at hand.

Disney is magical and has a great transportation system. HOWEVER, if you’re like us and you’re only staying for two days, you’ll want to max out your park time. And if you’re pregnant like me, you’ll be moving at a slow waddle. So when you hear that buses stop running an hour after the park closes you might think you’re in the clear, but you’d be wrong. See, while the park closes at a certain time, stores remain open. And you might want to grab food on the way out too because you’re pregnant and all. And you probably weren’t right by the gate when the park “closed” anyway. And did I mention the slow waddle?

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So we missed the buses one night. But it wasn’t too bad, because we decided to try out Uber for the first time with grand success! Unlike the shuttles, our driver went straight to our hotel. Plus they had comfy leather car seats as opposed to bus seats. It was a short drive, but after the plane ride my butt appreciated the pampering. There was, however, one down side…

  • 3. Pack something warm and something cool to wear. I don’t care where you’re going.

Alright, so we were in sunny California in the middle of August! And I was pregnant! I’m usually cold-natured. Like a lizard or small featherless bird, I usually need a sunny window to stay warm in indoors. However, since I started this pregnancy belly going, I have never been cold.

UNTIL I WAS IN CALIFORNIA.

I had friends and readers who live in Cali adorably try to warn me of how hot it’s been lately, citing a streak of 85 degree weather. I laughed from my 104 degree weather streak at how sweet and innocent they all were. I packed light summer dresses for maximum in pregnancy comfort.

Then night fell. And what the crap, it was cold. COLD cold. Like I was shivering. Like I bought a $30 sweatshirt.

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One big and smushy enough to pretty well hide my baby bump. What the actual crap, California? Anyway, all logic told me I didn’t need to pack or carry around a jacket in August in California and I was wrong. So listen to your mothers, folks. Pack for everything.

  • 4. Cheap motels aren’t always awful.

I was dismayed to find out that my husband had booked us for the Motel 6. I grew up in a well-off family with a dad who traveled all the time, so our family vacations were always spent somewhere nice. Not the Ritz or anything, but nice. And I thought the Motel 6 would be just awful, no matter how much money staying there saved us.

When we arrived, I was immediately pleasantly surprised by the staff. They were every bit as friendly and magical as the Disney staff. We arrived in costume for the convention and they immediately recognized which kind of obscure characters we were dressed as. They were so excited for us to see the parks and so friendly I just couldn’t believe it.

Then we got to our room. And yes, I did not approve of the shabby towels or the burnt out light in the bathroom (which, to be fair, the staff was more than happy to fix promptly). However the room had vinyl flooring rather than icky carpet, and the room was nice and clean. I couldn’t complain about the beds as a very weary traveler either.

When we climbed into bed on the first night, there arose a clatter. I was very annoyed at how thin the walls were and how loud and inconsiderate our fellow guests were being. Finally, after complaining for a while, I made my husband get up and poke his head outside.

It was fireworks. Fireworks over Disneyland nary a couple of blocks away.

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So way to go, Motel 6, at 100 Disney Way. You’re secretly pretty magical.

  • 5. Super Shuttle is awful.

This was also my first time using Super Shuttle, those blue vans that take you to and from the airport. I wish we had just called an Uber instead. The shuttle was crowded and me and my husband (a party of just two) couldn’t sit together. Instead I was next to two people with an awful cough that I did NOT want to catch on my first day of vacation, ESPECIALLY carrying a baby.

But what was way worse were the drivers. Both on the way there and back we got truly awful, disgruntled, angry, and frankly rude drivers. There could not have been a less magical way to begin and end our trip. On the way in, our driver took us to the wrong address and then got angry at us for it. And by got angry, I mean actually scolded and yelled at us in front of everyone else in the van. We didn’t do anything wrong, we gave him our tickets, they had the correct info, he put it in wrong.

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Never EVER using this company again. Absolutely horrible.

  • 6. Give yourself lots of extra time.

This wasn’t my first time to Disneyland, so I felt prepared to tackle each park in one day. Normally, that wouldn’t have been a problem, and if I did get a flare of pain I could just take medicine and a quick break. But being pregnant AND going in peak season, I should have allotted myself more time. To be fair, we booked this trip before we knew we were pregnant, but I should have bit the bullet and called to extend our stay. I pushed myself way too hard. I moved slowly. And by the end of the day each day I was falling apart. There was no place too awkward and no wait too short for me to sit down.

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I don’t regret going at all, but if I had given myself two days per park, or even three days with a park-hopping extra day, I would have enjoyed the trip so much more. I enjoyed everything we did, but feeling tired saturated all of my enjoyment. I had a great time, but I was out of energy and couldn’t really get excited or emotional about things. There’s nothing wrong with quietly enjoying something, but when I’m in Disney, I want to cheer and laugh and bounce up and down!

If I had given myself extra time, I could have had a nap mid day to refresh myself for more adventures. But with such limited time, I chose to push through and in consequence enjoyed things less. There was one other thing I could have done to enjoy the trip more…

  • 7. GET SPECIAL SHOES.

I went in my trusty converse. I know they’re notorious for not having good support but I’ve spent my whole life in them. I’ve never had a problem, even marching through summers of band camps and trekking through Disney parks. But here’s the key thing about all that: I WASN’T PREGNANT.

These shoes worked for me before, but they were not working now. I needed to either buy really nice in soles or really good supportive shoes particularly for this trip. I’ve never been pregnant before and I didn’t know, but it’s true: You have a completely different body when you’re pregnant! It’s not just a belly! Your center of gravity is different, you walk different, your back is different because it’s holding up your different tummy and boobs! IT’S EVERYTHING. So just because you’ve done something before with no trouble doesn’t mean you might not have trouble when you’re pregnant.

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I love the Silly Symphony Swings in Disney’s California Adventure, but when I’m pregnant that ride apparently gives me motion sickness. Why? I rode lots of other rides that go around in circles. I don’t know. Why do my trusty converse hurt my feet now? I don’t know. I couldn’t have predicted this, BUT I could have erred on the safe side and gotten good, new, supportive shoes just in case.

Also, Disney should sell in soles. They sell sunscreen, this is just as essential. Come on Disney. Come on.

All that being said, I had an amazing time. Yes, there were times I was uncomfortable. Yes, I was not as prepared as I could have been. Yes, there were times when things were less magical because I was exhausted and my feet were dead stumps. But I would never advise not going. Just be ready! Err on the side of caution, pack more than you need, and have a wonderful time!

These were just the areas that I personally was wrong about. They were my own fault, and I’d love to go back and give it another go. When you’re in Disney, no matter how well prepared you are, there’s never really enough time is there? I’m always ready to go back, any time, in any condition.

I can’t wait to tell you about all the incredible adventures and experiences we had! But for now, I need to rest up and let more spoons accumulate in my system. I’ve been running on fumes. Stay tuned! And if you’re pregnant and heading out for vacation, have fun! Don’t worry and don’t talk yourself out of it. It’s going to be great. 🙂

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