Anyone who knows me, knows I absolutely LOVE to travel! So, when Josh texted me at work one day and said he had a last minute trip planned to Italy, of course I was going to go with him! I immediately asked my boss for 10 days off, booked flights, got Eli a passport (more on that whole experience here), and packed my bags! We planned our entire trip in about 2 weeks time, which was insane for me as I’m a HUGE planner! I like to have my trips planned out in detail at least 2-3 months in advance…so this was a whole new ballgame for me!
Over the next few weeks, I wanted to share some highlights of each city we visited on our trip and some of our favorite parts, some funny stories, and tips if you’re bringing kids!
My first piece of advice if you get the chance to go to Italy (or anywhere overseas)…is to GO!! There was a good day (at least) that I second-guessed my decision to tag along on his trip. I had to fly alone with a 9-month old internationally, try to meet up with Josh with no cell phones, book international flights with a lap child (I learned that international flights are NOT the same with lap children as domestic), and book hotels, etc. Not only all of that, but Eli didn’t have a passport, so we had to pay to expedite it, and pay even more in same-day shipping to make sure it arrived before we left (it arrived Friday afternoon, and we left that Sunday…and they do not do Saturday delivery…so PERFECT timing)!
It was extremely stressful for those 2 weeks of planning, but man was it worth it! When I think back to those days in Italy, I almost tear up at the thought. We made some incredible memories, saw some beautiful places, and will never forget Eli trying his first pasta there, loving Pizza for the first time, and eating a crazy amount of gelato in Rome! They are memories I will cherish for the rest of my life!
My second piece of advice is to take your kids!
I highly recommend taking your kids when you travel overseas, especially to Italy! The Italian people we met absolutely LOVED babies! They would hold Eli, make faces at him, and just love on him! It was so special to see and although he probably won’t remember it, he experienced another culture, and that is something we want him to learn as he grows up. We want him to get outside of his small world here and see how others live and do things! That’s why we took him to Italy (even though most people thought we were completely crazy – especially on that long of a flight), and why we’re taking him to Korea with us in November.
And finally, and this is mainly for the parents who do take their kids, be flexible.
There were so many places we weren’t able to visit, or restaurants we weren’t able to eat, but that’s okay! If Eli was exhausted and needed to get to bed, we got take-out at the restaurant down the street (which turned out to be completely AMAZING) and ate in our hotel room while he slept. If he wasn’t having it, we’d rush through one part of the Vatican (more on that later) so he could eat and take a nap in his stroller outside (he napped so much better with the bumps and noise of the streets…crazy boy!). We tried to go into the trip without expectations…just that regardless of what we were able to see or do, we would all be together. It made the trip go so much smoother and we had tons of fun. It was much more relaxing than sticking to a strict schedule (other than trains we had to make to get to other parts of the country) and having time to just enjoy being together.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll share a lot more detail on the cities we were able to visit, including Napoli (Naples) & Pompeii, Florence, Manarola Cinque Terre, and Rome. I feel like I have so much advice for each city (especially if you’re bringing small children along) as well as some fun stories and a glimpse into our trip. I hope you enjoy!