Catching Up With The World Wide Webers: Traveling The World With Young Children
Catching Up With The World Wide Webers: Traveling The World With Young Children – The globe trotting Weber Family is doing what most of us could only dream of doing! Traveling the world as a family is so exciting, adventurous and full of surprises. The Weber Family shared with The Baby Spot some of their experiences on their travels and a sneak peak of where they will be going next!
How did you go from being young parents living in the city to a family who travels the world?
Like many aspects of our life, traveling to over 30 countries before our baby’s 1st birthday wasn’t planned. My husband and I met in New York City where we both lived and worked at the time. After a few years and the addition of a puppy, we decided our time in the city had come to an end. Luckily, we both worked for global companies and were offered the chance to move to Singapore. While there, we spent nearly every weekend traveling, eating and sweating our way through as much of Southeast Asia as possible.
Before we knew it, a work opportunity in South Africa presented itself that was too good to pass up, so we packed our bags and booked a one-way flight to Johannesburg. While my original plan of singing Hakuna Matata everyday wasn’t realized (it was sung on more of a weekly basis), we did explore 11 amazing African countries, safari’d our butts off, added another pup to the traveling circus and picked up a little cub of our own in September of 2015 named Rae.
Fast forward just a few months into parenthood and a new opportunity arose, this time in Switzerland. While our two miniature schnauzers are in love with the recent influx of baguettes and gruyere in their diet, I have come to realize that no amount of breastfeeding will work off the calories of Swiss chocolate and fondue! And yet again, we found ourselves in a precariously convenient location for our travel obsession, so the weekend travels began with the baby…and kind of never stopped!
Which was your first country you’ve visited?
I didn’t grow up in a family that traveled all that often. We had our yearly beach week on the shores of Maryland and Delaware, which, at 3 hours of driving each way was more than enough family car time for the rest of the year! But when I was 14 years old, my grandfather, a renaissance man and world traveler in his own right, took me and my cousin on a month long road trip around France. He seamlessly switched between speaking French to people we met to yelling at us in English to stop giggling in the back seat. My husband’s grandfather, a true globetrotter, travelled to almost every country in the world before some health issues in Madagascar slowed him down. So it’s safe to say that Chris and I both come from a long line of explorers. Our daughter’s names also honor both of those traveling grandfathers.
How did you overcome the fear that many parents have of traveling with little ones?
As a new parent, there’s very little I DON’T fear, from “is she going to choke on that piece of food” to “did that sneeze from seat 3F come from someone who was in contact with an infectious disease”? But the reality is I worry the same amount whether we’re at home or traveling, so we’ve adopted the mentality of “Why not?”
One of the ways I muddle through the anxiety and fear (if you can’t beat it join it right?) is to be over-prepared through research and arrange as much as possible ahead of time. Flight days aren’t anyone’s favorite, but with a few tried and true tricks up our sleeves we generally make it through unscathed and can show our face in the airport again. After you travel for the first time with a baby you realize with enough diapers and snacks you can get basically anywhere.
What would be your advice to parents who are afraid to travel abroad with young children?
Plan ahead, don’t just wing it. For us, this means:
- Staying at centrally located hotels that are well known and highly ranked across multiple sites.
- Booking airport transportation through the hotel, which might cost a bit more but is faster and easier with a baby after a flight than public transportation or lengthy taxi queues.
- Working with highly ranked guides for private city tours so we see as much as possible in a short amount of time.
- Scheduling our days to include baby breaks where necessary, which might mean a tour in the morning and an afternoon nap in the hotel, or vice versa.
- Combining our iPhone baby monitor app with our laptop to put the baby to sleep in the room and have nice, baby-free dinners in the hotel that keep everyone sane.
You had a child abroad! Tell us more. What was it like?
I gave birth in Johannesburg, South Africa in September 2015 to my daughter. Initially, I had “Circle of Life” playing in my head and thought for sure my birth would involve some kind of tribal drum circle and Rafiki as my midwife. Instead, I quickly learned that South Africa has a very high cesarean rate percentage, which was not what we wanted. So instead of an OBGYN and hospital combination, we found our way to a birthing center with an amazing midwife and doula to coach me through.
After 30hrs of natural labor I gave birth sitting in the water of a big bathtub, surrounded by candles, in a birthing center in South Africa, with my husband, doula and midwife at 4 in the morning welcoming our little lion cub into the world. It was a scene that I never could have pictured in a million years when I was younger. Africa is rich with a culture that’s connected to the earth, and at that moment I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be. For more on our birth experience check out our story on What it’s like to Give Birth Abroad on Babycenter.com.
What made you decide to share your epic life journey with the world by starting the Worldwide Webers?
My husband and I have both traveled to over 75 countries and lived abroad on 4 different continents. We’ve always loved sharing knowledge we’ve gained with friends and family in humorous write-ups. About 6 months ago, the circle started to get bigger and friends of friends began to ask for our recommendations and itineraries. So I figured it was time to put it all in a central location for anyone to access and enjoy our comical tales and tips on traveling. Now with the baby as our mascot it’s taken on a life of it’s own. We’re hoping to help other couples get over the fear of traveling with their cute carry-ons and travel the world leaving a trail of duty-free catalogs and diapers as they go.
What is it like to raise global citizens?
As if having a baby isn’t confusing enough, raising them abroad brings a whole other set of obstacles – just learning the baby product lingo in each country makes my head spin. Is it a stroller, buggy, pushchair or pousset? Who knows! Nappies or diapers? No clue. I’ll take whatever barrier you have that keeps their poop in their zone. Hopefully we’ll continue to raise her in a world where the kids she plays with come from all cultures and countries. Only time will tell what language she’ll speak her first word in!
Does each member of your family have a favorite country?
My husband loves Botswana for the best wildlife in the world, Chile for exploring Patagonia and New Zealand for its untamed beauty. I’m a total sucker for everything Italy has to offer, the food of Thailand and the beautiful beaches of Mozambique. The baby had her first pizza and gelato in Italy recently, so that might be her pick; I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the Italian food tree! And the dogs would definitely choose South Africa for the large garden they got to play in all day.
How do you entertain little ones in transit?
We love traveling with our baby, but this is not to be confused with loving to fly with her. We may be crazy but we’re not sadistic! After 50+ flights in Rae’s first year, ranging from 30min-16hrs long, we’ve come up with a variety of methods to survive plane rides, from the easy early bassinet days to the constantly crawling and mobile moments.
Here’s a few tricks for surviving flights with a baby:
- Forget #SquadGoals, we’re all about #SleepGoals – we do everything we can before the flight to get the baby ready for a nap as soon as we sit down. This includes, but is not limited to, cutting out a morning nap pre-travel, stretching times between nursing, flying in jammies and creating a little sleep cave with a nursing cover.
- Like the cereal says, “tricks are for kids!” – forget schlepping a bag of toys with you, all you need is your funny face and an airplane magazine to entertain a baby. They say the in-flight magazine is free to take and no other rules were provided, therefore we assume creative control and RIP THAT THING TO SHREDS!
- Snacks, like O’Doyle, Rules – Boob, bananas, biscuits, basically anything that’s edible is a win. They can’t scream if they’re too busy chewing!
Tell us about some of your most memorable moments…
- Hiking the 1,000 monastery steps in the ancient city of Petra, Jordan with a 5-month-old baby attached to me was quite an experience. Even a group of army men applauded me as I hiked down!
- Surviving a well-intentioned day trip gone awry to Montenegro, which turned into 5 hours of a screaming child in the car. We quickly learned that while she loves to travel on all other modes of transportation, the car is her nemesis.
- Watching the baby crawl up her first set of stairs in a 13th century castle in Ireland.
- Taking a 7-minute helicopter ride from Nice to Monaco to avoid sitting in the car with her for an hour and get to the hotel for naptime.
- My husband attempting unsuccessfully to push the stroller through snow around the alpine ski town of Zermatt, Switzerland with the Matterhorn in the background.
What country is next on the list?
We’re super excited to sleep in glass igloos in the Laplands of Finland to see the Northern Lights this winter! Who says you can’t put a baby on a dog sled in the arctic?
When will you go to Antarctica?
We ask ourselves this question often, actually. My husband and I have been to 6 out of 7 continents and the baby has conquered 4, so I think we’ll explore the easier remaining 2 with her before we bundle up for some family glacier climbing!