We learned a lot while traveling across the world with an infant/toddler (we’re not sure what stage he qualifies as – what is the deciding factor anyway?) and our number 1 piece of advice would be to set expectations low, and you’ll feel like you succeeded every single day.
Time change is a bitch. But only when you come back from the trip and there isn’t anything exciting and new to distract him with.
Snacks are a godsend. Do not leave home base without 5 different types of snacks for the day.
People without kids on planes will stare at you like they’ve now regretted planning their trip on the cheaper flight, because a baby is now sitting near them.
People with kids on planes congratulate you when we land.
Plan to go to museums at nap time and they’ll fall asleep out of boredom, which is a thousand times better than the alternative.
Keep them in a stroller or in another form of restraint when in museum gift shops.
That one attraction that you really want them to see; they’ll fall asleep right before you get there. And it’s not worth waking them up for. Nothing is ever worth waking them up for.
All in all though, we couldn’t have asked for a better behaved infant/toddler (inf-oddler) during this entire journey. He loved wandering the streets and people watching. There was so much to look at and do that he ended up napping almost 3 times a day. We had borrowed a travel stroller from friends, which was amazing because it packed up so small! And we brought a hiking backpack for the days we knew we had to take the underground. I really don’t know how the mamas of inf-oddlers in London travel with strollers every day though. They seemed to be almost frowned upon in the streets, on the bus, and definitely on the underground if you have a stroller. Most of the underground stations don’t even have elevators so you see strollers being propped up to go down the never-ending escalators. Travellers seemed extremely inconvenienced when they saw us board with a stroller… so some days, the backpack was just easier.
It was harder to plan our activities for the day but we set the goal to accomplish 1 major thing each day. That way we knew that if he started to meltdown, at least we saw something! It was way easier to eat dinners at the Airbnb so the amount of screaming at the witching hour was reduced dramatically – which actually saved us quite a bit of spending on food.
We had planned this trip about a year ago with our friends Sam and Steve, who live in Bermuda. We hadn’t seen them since our wedding 5 years ago so we wanted to meet somewhere in the world and be able to catch up! We chose London because it was an easy place for us all to get to, and it wasn’t too much of a change in culture in terms of baby needs. It was so great to see them, and we are extremely grateful to them for taking Harrison one night while James and I went out for dinner and a musical. Our plan is to meet somewhere else in the world, 5 years from now and start a tradition
We all went to see the Book of Mormon (on different nights, of course), and it was pretty hilarious but not for the easily offended. The four of us agreed that at some points during the play, we were thinking “did they really just go there?”. If you have a broad sense of humour, please go see it.
I think the highlight for all of us this trip was going into Buckingham Palace. There are only 8 weeks out of the year where you can actually go inside because the Queen is away on her annual vacation, and we happened to be there at the right time. We were able to see the 19 state rooms which was pretty amazing. Sadly, they take all of your belongings before you go in – including cameras. We saw all of the Queen’s gifts from countries around the world, and it was neat to see what kind of gifts were given to represent each country’s culture. There were figurines, traditional gifts, pieces of art, gifts made out of gold, and even Vancouver 2010 Olympic mittens from Canada.
One of the best fast meals we had (let’s be honest, we could only eat fast meals) was at the chain “Paul”. It was SO delicious and their coffee was amazing. It needs to come to Canada. My most exciting and nerdy meal was at Speedy’s Cafe on North Gower St. If you don’t know the BBC show Sherlock, then you won’t know that it is the cafe on “Baker Street” next to Sherlock’s 221B. Yes, I ordered the “Sherlock” wrap and yes, I enjoyed it immensely while perusing the photos of Benedict Cumberbatch on the wall. #sherlocked
However, we did spoil ourselves with several delicious meals throughout the trip and Harrison even enjoyed some out on the lawns outside Buckingham Palace. (Please see photo below, of his face covered in food, sitting on plastic ponchos in the rain, eating meatballs with his hands).
Another highlight, for me at least, was stumbling upon a very large movie set… what movie you ask? One with famous enough celebrities for them to decide to block our view by moving some trucks into the way. (*cough* Fantastic Beasts 2).
We did get perfect weather for most of the trip which in hindsight was very lucky considering we were with an inf-oddler who would have not enjoyed a lot of rain. I was actually surprised by the amount of tourists who also brought along their in-foddlers and braved travelling with them. We weren’t the only crazy ones!
We also did the walk throughs of Harrods and Hamley’s, both incredible for different reasons. We bought a cronut from Harrods that I devoured in seconds because it was one of the best things I have ever tasted in my life. We also bought Harrison a souvenir Trunki suitcase which was designed as a London bus, which is way too cute.
The most memorable thing about our trip to London was that Harrison learned to walk. He took his first real strides in the cobblestone streets of London, and he hasn’t wanted to stop since. He’s now said goodbye to the one-leg-bum-scoot and is a full on walker. So does this mean he is now a toddler?
I hope you enjoy this small glimpse of London.