Being a first-time parent comes with a mix of emotions—fear, jitters, and fascination to name a few. But as Andy Cohen puts it, it’s also a “great adventure.” That’s one of the lessons the host of Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen has learned while watching his son Benjamin reach various milestones as he approaches his first birthday on February 4.
“It’s gotten really fun I have to say over the last three months,” says Cohen. “He’s really woken up and is crawling, trying to stand, and he’s pulling himself up. He’s laughing a lot and he knows how to clap now.”
Even better? Little Benjamin is quickly becoming his dad’s go-to travel buddy. Like nearly all new parents, Cohen admits he has a lot to get used to when traveling with a tot in tow. But that’s not stopping the famous dad from planning future trips. One country on his radar: Portugal, which Expedia lists as a top travel destination this new year.
Courtesy of Vrbo
Cohen, who teamed up to discuss the travel trends of 2020 with Expedia and Vrbo, is eager to use the latter to find rental places instead of staying in hotels—something he didn’t consider before having a child. But he realizes what a lifesaver a vacation rental can be for any parent.
“I never would’ve thought to rent a house somewhere, but I’m now traveling with a kid and I need a lot of gear and I will sometimes have a nanny with me,” he says. “My needs have totally changed.” (Pro tip: Vrbo lets you filter properties that are family friendly and provide things like a crib and kids highchair. There’s also the “Family Collection”—aka a list of properties other users say are perfect for families.)
And Cohen says he's not opposed to jumping on the trend of renting unconventional spaces either. (FYI, kids are loving the 727 airplane rental in the jungle of Costa Rica.)
The dad and son duo have already driven together to the Hamptons in New York, and have flown to Los Angeles, Cohen’s hometown of St. Louis, and sunny Miami. Scrolling through the famous dad’s Instagram, you can see the two of them splashing around in the water. “Benjamin loves the pool,” says Cohen. “He takes swimming lessons every week.”
Of course, being a parent in the public eye isn’t always as joyful as those adorable Instagram photos. Cohen is one of more than 50 percent of fathers who say they’ve been criticized for the way they parent—it’s often from strangers in his case. “I’ve gotten shamed on social media since my first post with him,” says Cohen. Since then he’s been dad-shamed for an array of things, including his dog sniffing Benjamin’s face, the way his son was swaddled in his crib, and for letting friend and CNN host Anderson Cooper walk in his son’s room with shoes on.
But Cohen refuses to let that take away from the joy of parenting. “I just ignore it,” he says. “I don’t care what people think about how I’m raising my child." He encourages other parents to do the same because, at the end of the day, "it’s none of their business.”