When Brody was six months old, my husband and I took him to Portugal. Looking back, it was the easiest time we’ve ever had…traveling with a child. There is a lot to think about: do we get him his own plane seat (if you can swing it, yes!), do we bring the car seat (yes!), does he need a passport (yes!). I think we made a lot of good decisions that made the trip smooth and enjoyable.
We rented an apartment in the center of Lisbon so we didn’t need a car. I planned well, making a list of things we absolutely needed to bring and things we could get there. And with laundry facilities at our disposal, I was able to get both Brody’s and my clothing in one suitcase. He was on solid foods but I was also nursing, so feeding was on demand and convenient. And with a small baby, we were escorted to the front of the line at the airport and breezed through security.
We enjoyed restaurants, museums, long walks through the city and even a day trip to Sintra, via train and bus. We hiked the steep steps of the Castle of the Moors and toured the Pena National Palace. He seemed to enjoy (almost) every moment. When the weather turned chilly and rainy at the top of the Palace, he got a little feisty, but it was also late and we’d had a long day.
During one of our long walks through the city, we encountered a parade which Brody enjoyed immensely. The locals were completely enamored of our little guy: when he crapped his pants from absolute joy and we had to change him quickly on a park bench in the rain, a kind woman held an umbrella over us. And at one restaurant, the wait staff insisted on passing him around while Jeff and I ate our dinner. He was content being carried around, wide-eyed and wondrous. Ah yes, our trips before he started crawling were sooooo easy.
After a subsequent trip to Napa when he was a bit older and intent on crawling the aisles of the plane, we decided to hold off on plane travel for a while — at least until he’s happy remaining in his seat. We’re still a bit gun shy about a long trip, but now that he’s approaching 4, our wanderlust is getting the best of us. We’re making plans for a European trip next year. We know it will never be as easy as that first trip to Portugal, but one can hope.
Click here to see Jeff’s photographs from Portugal on Flickr.