August 13, 2020

Our First International Trip with a Baby: London!

This post is coming to you exactly one year after we hopped on a plane with Aurora and went to London.

Better late than never, right?

Before Aurora was born, I heard a million different iterations of how we would never travel again. 

"It's so great that you've done so much traveling already, you'll never travel again once you have a baby!"

"You say you'll travel but once you realize how much you have to bring, you'll never bother again."

"Traveling with a baby is just parenting elsewhere."

Undeterred, last August, we took Aurora to London for our first trip abroad as a family of three. We chose London for a few reasons. Not only is it one of my favorite cities but it's a short flight, and we had been there so many times that we knew we wouldn't feel pressed to do or see anything and everything. We could take the trip leisurely and just enjoy ourselves for a long weekend.

I've always been a light packer and knew that with a baby, I didn't want to bring anything more than what we would need. We brought one suitcase for the three of us, a carryon, diaper bag, and travel crib. We gate checked our stroller and brought everything else on the plane with us. We also brought a baby carrier which proved to be essential for the whole trip, especially since we had to fold up our stroller on public transportation. 

Aurora was 10 months old when we went to London and crawling so I knew that we would need to give her time to roam around every day so she wouldn't get too antsy in the stroller. 

We had a pretty rough flight over to London (more on that later) but once we landed and checked into our flat, we were all able to take a long nap to refresh ourselves. We woke up, showered, and went for a walk to explore our neighborhood and then made our way to Oxford Circus to shop and get an early dinner. 

The next morning was Saturday and we took the tube to Knightsbridge to do some more shopping. Aurora was still breastfeeding at the time and one of our stops was in Harrod's which had an incredible Mother's room with a very comfortable rocking chair and cushy changing table. I was pleasantly surprised to find how many places in London had changing tables or nursing rooms - these were much easier to come across in London than I've found in the US.

For the afternoon, we made our way to the South Bank to walk around and then took the River Bus to my favorite pub for a round of Pimm's and fish and chips. I had never taken the River Bus before but loved it! It's on the same travel system as the tube and the buses so you can use your Oyster Card and it's a great way to get off your feet while still getting in some great views of the city!

On Sunday morning, we headed to Covent Garden for my favorite part of our trip - the London Transport Museum! I had always wanted to go and had heard it was great for kids and it was! There was a great kids' area with little tools that Aurora could play with. We spent maybe 30 minutes just letting her crawl around and play with the toys before we left.

Aurora was getting tired and it was close to her nap time so we took the long walk to our next stop - Buckingham Palace - so that she could take a good nap along on the way. 

I had thought we might have to take trips back to the flat we were staying at for Aurora to nap but she did really well napping in her stroller. We have the Uppababy Cruz which lays completely flat and we I could easily pop my nursing cover over it to keep it dark so she napped really well the whole trip!

I had taken a tour of Buckingham Palace on my first trip to London but The Pilot has a thing for castles and really wanted to go, so we did. They don't allow strollers inside so we popped Aurora into the baby carrier and made our way through the Palace. 

After Buckingham Palace, we went up to Camden Market and then wandered around Granary Square before calling the night on our first successful trip abroad with Aurora! It was a short weekend but we had such a good time! After what had been a busy summer of moving and stressful real estate transactions, it was so nice to get away and take Aurora some place new. 

The flight home was a breeze and overall, the trip was seamless. Honestly, the worst part of our trip was the flight over but it was pretty circumstantial. We had been upgraded to first class but when we tried to board, it took them 45 minutes to figure out that children under the age of 6 aren't allowed in first class - which meant we were now the last to board and were given the last row of the plane next to the bathrooms. Every time Aurora fell asleep, someone got up and grabbed her seat back, bumped into us, or started a conversation with the flight attendants, which kept all of us from sleeping on the flight! 

I loved being in London with Aurora. A few weeks later, we decided to go to Copenhagen and that was an even better trip! I found traveling with a baby pretty easy and you definitely don't have to bring a million things! I bought some new toys for Aurora to play with on the plane and you know what her favorite thing to play with was? The plastic cups that the flight attendants hand you with your drink. 

Everyone has been on a flight where a baby has screamed the entire time and I think that scares a lot of people from traveling but don't let it! We've had some really good flights with Aurora and some that weren't great but traveling with a baby can actually be really fun!

Have you traveled with kids? Where was there first big trip?

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