Travelling during maternity leave is a bit of a no-brainer for me. If you love travel it’s the perfect excuse to squeeze a whole suitcase full of adventures in. Whether your workplace offers a generous twelve months of paid maternity leave or the bare minimum statutory pay, there’s no denying it’s a unique period in your life when you can escape the office for a decent chunk of time.
Admittedly adjusting to life as a new mama and learning how to look after a newborn is no walk in the park. Some might even call it work – it’s certainly more commitment than your regular 9-5 job, but if you want to travel it can be done.
During my nine months’ of maternity leave Nova and I travelled to five different countries. Without slating my workplace, let’s just say that my mat leave package didn’t leave me feeling flush, but the opportunity to see some of the world with my mini-explorer was just too irresistible.
If you’re undecided or perhaps you want to close down the naysayers, here are
10 Reasons to Travel During Your Maternity Leave…
1. You’ll have the perfect backdrop
If you’re going to have a baby attached to you for the most of the day you might as well be in a pretty destination looking at a beautiful backdrop rather than your TV.
Even if you leave the adventurous stuff for another year and kick back in a pretty hotel, the views from the balcony are going to hit the spot, right? Oh and they’ll also make for a pretty picture and there’s no harm in that.
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You don’t have to ask someone else for permission to take time off and that in itself is so liberating!
You can go when you want, for however long you want. There’s no leave request form to fill in or pleading case to make to your line manager. That three week trip you’ve always wanted to take? Now’s the time.
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3. You can be reckless
Ok, hear me out. You can go on as many trips as you like during your maternity leave and you don’t have to worry about your annual leave allowance disappearing. Gone are your days of having to strategically plan holidays to ensure you have enough to look forward to throughout the year.
When you’re on mat leave any holiday allowance that you previously accrued remains and you actually accrue days off while you’re off work. Bank Holidays while you’re away? You’ll get those back too. It’s great! FYI I’m based in the UK, so I’m guessing the set up may well be different elsewhere.
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4. It’s easier
Get a big travel fix in before your little one is on the move. Nova learned to crawl when we were in Canada. Luckily he slept on the flight home, but if he’d been awake for the bulk of it I’m sure I would have had my work cut out.
What’s the best way of harnessing a skill? Practising it, of course. Once your baba learns to crawl or walk that’s allll they’ll probably want to do.
Obviously you can still travel once they’re up and about, but if you can only fit one bout in you might want to do it early on.
5. It’s cheap
When you travel in your maternity leave you can take advantage of travelling outside of peak travel times. You don’t have to ask for leave and you’re not governed by school term times.
Cash in on this prime time. Plus, while they’re under the age of two you don’t have to pay for their own seat on flights or trains.
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6. It’s helpful
Travelling overseas means staying away from home. And do you know what that means? It means there’s someone else to make the food. You’ll have your hands full with a little baby, so someone else sorting your meal out is just one less thing for you to have to think about.
There were loads of days where I just about managed to have a slice of toast for dinner. Days when I was away though? Guilt-free room service or quick visits to the onsite restaurant. If you’re away from home you just have to let someone else sort your food out. And when your sleep deprived you’ll need all the energy you can get.
7. It’s super helpful
If you stay in a hotel or serviced apartment you don’t have to bother with the cleaning because someone else does it. If you’re house proud it’s so annoying being stuck on the sofa feeding, surrounded by piles of washing, ironing and dirty dishes.
Escape the mess by escaping the country! I feel so much happier when everything is clean and neat, and even more so, when I’m travelling.
8. You can get snap happy
Some of my favourite photos of Nova are from our trips during my mat leave. It’s a combination of the best things in the world; my baby and adventures. Little ones change SO much during the first year, so you have every excuse to get snap happy.
Nova is a winter baby so going out was more of an effort and it felt like it was always dark. We spent most of our trips in warmer, sunny countries which definitely made for prettier pics. Some might say it’s superficial, but I absolutely love looking back at all the photos of the three of us exploring the world (well, a little bit of it).
9. It makes you warm
I don’t just mean warm from the lovey sunshine, though those first rays on your skin always feel amazing, almost like you can feel the vitamins whooshing through your body. I mean if travel is in your DNA and you just have to travel, going away will give you all those warm, happy, fuzzy feelings.
A happy soul makes for a happy mama. It’s tough being tired from a sleepless baby or recouping from a tough labour, but doing something that is so intricately part of who you are makes the world of difference. Travelling is good for you. At least it is for me.
10. It’s good practice
The unknown has a lot to answer for. Most people will have you thinking that travelling with a baby is near on impossible. You might be pleasantly surprised when you travel with your baby and wish you’d done it sooner. Give it a go. You have nothing to lose and everything (well, a whole host of adventures) to gain.
Read more about maternity leave rights and legislation here in the UK via the government’s official site or contact your workplace for specifics.
Did you travel during your maternity leave? Is it something that you’re planning to do in your upcoming chunk of leave? X
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