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Budget travel with a baby. No stroller. No rental cars. No checked baggage. Slightly crazy.

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My husband (30) and I (27) took our 5 month old baby to Europe in October. We were on a very tight budget. And maybe a little bit crazy. Here are some post-trip thoughts:

I spent hours and hours and hours of my life planning this trip (thank you fodorites). Some unexpected changes had to be made at the last minute, so our itinerary ended up as follows:

* 5 nights in Lucca, Italy (day trips to Pisa and Cinque Terre)
* 3 nights in Hall, Austria (daytrip to Innsbruck)
* 7 nights in Worms, Germany (needed to visit people there, day trip to Heidelberg)

Sounds simple enough, right? Yes, we'd be taking an infant. And no stroller. Or rental cars. But still, we're young. No big deal.

Then reality hit...

1 baby carried in a hotsling
2 budget-traveling parents
3 bags (backpack, small duffel, and diaper bag)
3 places of lodging over 15 nights
8 towns and cities visited
20 hours spent in airplanes over the course of 4 flights
20 hours spent on 12 different trains
23 hours spent waiting for trains and planes to depart
1100 pictures taken with our digital camera

And it was all worth it. It was an incredible trip. The baby loved it and so did we.

BUT...

We don't recommend this itinerary for those traveling with a baby! Here's what we learned.

1. Transportation connections with a baby in tow are the ultimate test of patience, agility, and strength. Minimize these as much as possible. Fly right into the city/town you'll be staying and try not to move much if you don't have to. We didn't do this (obviously). I think I lost about 5 pounds and felt as though I were running a marathon at times.

2. Sometimes you need a stroller, sometimes you don't. It depends on the trip and the baby. Our specific trip was made possible by the baby sling. There's no way we could've handled all of the train station stairs, village alleys, and cobbled streets with our cheap stroller.

3. Go on the trip before the baby starts eating solid foods and crawling. We did this. It will make your life SO much easier. I think 4-5 months old is such a great time to go. That is, if your baby likes to sleep anywhere but the crib, gets bored easily, and loves strangers (all applied in our case).

4. Be prepared to feed or change a diaper anytime, anywhere. That blowout will happen at the most inconvenient moment. Trust me.

5. Decide ahead of time that you will laugh about or at least instantly forget all of the mishaps and remember only the great times. Like when the Italians treat you and your baby like rockstars. Or when you get your two daily servings of gelato and don't feel a bit of guilt. Or when the scenery is so beautiful that even cool dads are content to just wander.

When planning this trip, I couldn't find a lot of information online about budget travel with a baby. So feel free to contact me through my blog if you have any questions. I'm happy to help!

More info on how I actually did the packing here: http://arewestillcool.blogspot.com/search/label/europe

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