Okay so Tanner and I both agree that we’re so glad we took Rex with us to London–however, we also agree that it would have been equally as nice to have left him with the grandparents. Ha! That said, it was such a fun trip for us as a family and one for the memory books. Rex made the days all the more enjoyable we just wish we could have gone out more in the evenings, enjoyed the nightlife, and would have loved to sleep in, watch a movie on those long flights… you get the idea. Here’s everything you’ve been asking / I would have wanted to read before we flew off on a Euro trip…
First things first. 1. Get their passport early! Woah that was an annoying process. If you even think you might travel internationally at some point with your babes I recommend working on getting that passport now. Save yourself any last minute trips to the passport office to get it expedited. We were down to the wire on that one and I spent hours waiting around for a same day passport for Rex just days before our trip. Granted it was a fairly last minute trip so if we would have had more time to plan for this then it wouldn’t have been stressful.
2. About that flight… honestly it wasn’t too bad. Rex has flown a bunch now (longest before London was the flight to Hawaii) but we were most worried about our red eye flight on the way there. We booked a red eye in hopes Rex would sleep, and he did thankfully, for 6 of the 9.5 hours. That was awesome but those 3.5 hours that he was awake we were on pins and needles the whole time worried that he would make noise and annoy everyone else trying to sleep. So even though he slept for a good amount of the flight we actually preferred our flight home because we were flying during the day and were less worried about him making noise. The flight home on the other hand he slept 1.5 hours out of the 10.5 hours (the flight is longer on the way back) so that was exhausting for us entertaining him the whole time. It’s a toss up which is best really.
Everyone told me to bring lots of snacks and lots of toys but I would say bring even more snacks then you think because each flight I thought I was prepared but wish I had brought more food. It was easier to find random things on the plane or in my purse to entertain him with but when you’re out of food you’re out of food. He was most into ripping up magazines, playing peek-a-boo with other passengers, and playing with our water cups than any toys we brought anyway. We even tried pushing our iPhones on him but he’s not into electronics yet. I know that’s terrible of us but I think you’ll try anything when you have a squirming baby on you for 9+ hours. Also helped to spend as much time walking the plane, taking him to the bathroom, and bouncing him in the back. On our flight to Kauai we got the exit row so we were able to put down a blanket and let him crawl around which was really awesome.
If you can swing it I would also highly recommend buying your baby a seat so you have the whole row to yourselves. We tried to be sneaky and booked a window and aisle seat hoping no one would book the middle seat but this only worked in our favor on the flight home. Next go around we agreed definitely buy a seat for Rex. Our flight that we had the entire three seats was much more enjoyable as he had more space to play and bounce around.
Another tip–feed them a good meal before boarding and try to let them get out their wiggles as much as possible before you get on the plane. I tried to make sure Rex was a happy camper for the boarding process mainly so as not to scare everyone else boarding that there was a baby on their flight. We even laid down a blanket while we waited for our plane so that he could play and crawl around. He’s super active so this was a must for us.
Also for take-off and landing I’m sure you’ve heard it helps to nurse or give them a bottle to suck. And prolong this as much as possible… and hopefully that may put them asleep right away.
3. Bring your US carseat. You can certainly rent carseats when traveling which makes the flight less of a pain (lugging that through security) but the one time I rented a carseat it just didn’t quite fit him and he hated it. I like having our own carseat that I know he’s comfortable in. We brought the base of our stroller (and the carseat + adapter) which makes getting through the airport a breeze as you can pile everything onto the stroller. I don’t have a smaller umbrella stroller but as he gets bigger I would for sure bring that over our UPPA. That probably wasn’t even necessary but since we were already bringing the carseat I thought it would make our life at the airport easier.
4. Pre-Boarding. One major win for traveling with a baby is that you get to pre-board. So that’s awesome.
5. Buy wipes, diapers, food when you get there. Every trip with Rex I’ve packed enough diapers for a day or so but then just buy more when I get there. Saves so much room in the suitcase not having to lug diapers for an entire week.
6. Lack of changing areas. One thing that is a bummer in Europe is the lack of changing tables in public places. Just something to keep in mind! I think we got lucky as we didn’t have any crazy blowouts in a museum or have any funny stories to report back about changing him in awkward places… but it could have happened. I’m not one to carry an entire diaper bag around with me so I just carried a diaper and wipes in my purse.
7. Front pack! Rex lived in the ergo in London. Not every tube station has elevators so if we were going to be gone most of the day and taking the tube we wore him. We just made sure to give him plenty of crawling around time whenever we were back at our hotel.
8. Re: nap time. I don’t stick to a strict napping schedule with Rex so he’s used to napping on the go. This made the days easier as he just took his naps in the front pack, stroller or wherever we were.
9. Call your hotel ahead of time to make sure they have a crib. We also looked for hotels that had larger rooms because a lot of European hotel rooms are much smaller which gets cramped with a crib and all of your luggage. Worth upgrading your room size!
10. Pack: just in case essentials + meds. Randomly I thought to throw in our NoseFrida kit and we ended up using it quite a bit on the trip as Rex got a cold from the flight. We also brought some medicine just in case (that we didn’t end up needing but it was nice to know we were prepared).
I think that pretty much sums it up… if I forgot anything feel free to leave a comment! Would love to also hear any of your travel tips!