Friday, May 25, 2012

The Sweet Life: London Trip and Tips for International Travel with Kids

Mark had business last week in London, so Belle and I tagged along.
Belle traveled to London and Paris when she was about 15 months old.
While that trip had some great memories, we had the best time last week with our 4 year old in London!

Get ready for picture overload....

Is the Queen home?
Buckingham Palace

Belle and Daddy

Taxi ride sitting like a big girl.

 Belle on the London Eye
Her only request was to ride the "big Ferris wheel", and it lived up to her expectations.

Belle and Mommy...excuse the tired jet lag eyes.

Playing on the playground in St James Park.

The Harrods Bear
(side note I felt a little silly taking this picture because it was in a small hallway but 10 minutes later a group of adults was taking pictures with the bear so I knew no laughs were on us"

Best lunch a girl can find...the Ice Cream Parlor at Harrods.

"All done"

After Hummingbird Bakery cupcakes and the Saturday market in Notting Hill, we needed to run wild in the park.

All that going and going makes for a beautiful, tired girl.

While taking your kids on international trips isn't for everyone, along the way, I have definitely found a few things that work well for us.
This is not an end all be all list and I am sure there are things that wouldn't work for you, but hopefully some tips will give you courage to try travelling with your kids outside the states.

Long Flights...
-Accept the fact that today is not the day for super parenting. It is the day to "get 'er done". Don't try to hyper-parent while on a plane for 8 hours. Let your kid watch as many movies as needed. Bring games (that don't make noise without headphones), coloring books and crayons, little dolls and toys that do not have lots of parts to be lost in the plane.
-Find a great set of well fitting kid's headphones. We LOVE these from Amazon.
-I say not to hyper-parent because a happy non-stressed kid and parent makes the experience for passengers around you more pleasant.
-Pack some snacks that your kid will like....raisins, granola bars, peanut butter and crackers. Some of the plane food (even the kid's meals) will not be appealing to your kid.
-Feel free to walk the aisles quietly a little making sure not to wake other passengers. It helps Belle to stretch her legs every now and then.
-Pack a full change of clothes in case of accidents.

At Your Destination....
-If possible, try to stay in a hotel that is kid-friendly. Many hotels have provided us with pack and plays or toddler cots as well as baby bath products and towels. 
-It is also nice to ask the concierge what restaurants are family friendly so you may enjoy eating "local" food while not worrying over whether your child is upsetting other patrons.
-Take the smallest stroller possible....easy for gate checking and easy for getting around towns.
-Find the best transportation option for your family. Being in a big city like London, we found that the buses were the easiest to use with B. There were no stairs and she thought it was so neat.
-Search out parks and playgrounds ahead of time. We had a playground to play on each day to help B get out her energy and get to be a normal 4 year old.
-Watch your pace. Don't try to see and do everything. Your child will be exhausted and unhappy making you irritable and unhappy. Taking your kid on a trip means you might not get to see everything there is to see or do the trendiest things to do, but you will create lasting memories.
-Think through what your options would be if your child got sick. Does the city have adequate and convenient hospitals and clinics? Do you need to buy medical evacuation insurance before hand (great and affordable for more rural, rustic destinations)? I always pack a medical kit of band-aids, antibiotic ointment, children's tylenol and motrin, and a thermometer. It gives me a little of peace of mind.

What are some questions you have for me? I would love to answer any to make you feel more courageous and comfortable to take your child on an international trip.

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  1. LOVE the pictures, especially the one of B sleeping - how precious!! Looks like you guys had a blast.

  2. What a great trip! Looks like you guys had so much fun. I absolutely love the pics.

  3. Totally jealous of the trip, although, I would be afraid we would never all survive the plane ride. Adorable pictures :)

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