We did it! I can officially cross Spain off my bucket list! What a trip! I’m so glad we did it, but I definitely have some new insight about traveling with a one year old that might be helpful.
What I learned:
- If a red-eye flight is available, TAKE IT! On our way to Spain our flight left at around 10pm. It was perfect. My little guy took about an hour to get settled and then he slept the ENTIRE flight. It was about 7 hours total. It also helped that there was an extra seat in our row and he could stretch out.
- Try to get family/ friends to join you on your trip. Having my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and good friend there made the traveling easier. We had people to rely on for help with the wee one. They entertained him, watched him, and shared with him.
- Bring an umbrella stroller. Ours was very simple and perfect. It wasn’t cumbersome like our jogging stroller and was a breeze to quickly fold up and take right to the gate of our plane. Our son rode in that for a good chunk of the trip. There was a lot of sight-seeing, touring, and shopping and lucky for us he enjoys riding in the stroller.
- Bring a soft carrier. We debated about bringing our large frame hiking backpack but decided it was too big and we weren’t sure we’d even use it. We casually mentioned that we should throw in the soft carrier since it didn’t take up much space, but somehow it never made it. There were a couple of times, like when went to the top of a bell tower in an old church where that might have come in handy.
- Don’t be too attached to high chairs. In Spain, most restaurants didn’t have them. We made do and worked out. With our group there were five laps and the stroller to help.
- Get over the American fear/annoyance of smoking. In Spain you can’t escape it. It seemed like EVERYONE smoked, even when they were with their own tiny tots. It seemed like we were the odd ones not lighting up. That was probably one of the toughest things to deal with.
- Use Airbnb. It worked out great for us! Our rental in Malaga had 0 reviews and we went with it. I thought we were crazy but it was the nicest rental, so spacious, in a beautiful old building. The owner’s assistant was super helpful. Our other rental in Madrid worked out great as well. It had an amazing balcony and was in THE perfect location!
- Relax and have fun! Relaxing can be tough when you’re parenting non-stop. My husband and I helped each other to appreciate the moment, the experience, and the journey. To not get caught up with the little things.