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Tips for family London trip with 10 month old.

Tips for family London trip with 10 month old.

Aug 20th, 2006, 04:40 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 119
Tips for family London trip with 10 month old.

Ok, it may seem crazy on our part but we are tentatively planning a trip in May-June 2006 with our son who will be 10 months old at the time. I say tentatively because we are going to make a decision by February, depending on how we think the baby will do with a bit more time with him. In the mean time I am beginning my research. Which I think is a large part of the fun!!

A little about us. My husband and I have been traveling to Europe since 2002 at least one time annually so we have a little experience abroad. We have also brought my oldest son, starting when he was 12 years old, along with us. He is now 15. But we realize that this trip will be a lot different with not as much flexibility. But we really LOVE to travel and hope to be able to share this with our children as much as possible.

So with all that said, I will be doing all the research to get ready over the next 9 months or so and will be grateful for any wisdom that any of you will be willing to share with me.

We are budget minded travelers so we do not eat out a lot or stay in 5 star hotels. We usually rent apartments or stay in B&Bís, we have also stayed in hostels when the situation is right. We usually have picnic lunches and eat in whenever possible. We usually only eat out on our farewell dinner or during lunch at times.

Our planned destinations are London and Paris. We chose London as we have never been there before and there would be no language barrier which would be easiest with a new baby. We chose Paris because we love the city and cannot get enough!! This is a familiar destination as we have been there several times and feel comfortable.

We want to fly into London and stay for 5 days, then take the train to Paris for the last 5 days and fly out from there. We want to get and apartment or something comparative in each city.

London questions:

Biggest concern, is lodging. Any suggestions for a good bargain that is safe and well located?

On that note what is the best area to stay in to be able to get to most of the sites that a family would be interested in? We will want to see all the ďtypicalĒ London sites.

Any sites that we should not bring a small child to? We donít want to make any mistakes with that.

Also any suggestions that are toddler friendly or that my 15 year old would be interested in?

How is the public transportation? We usually walk a lot around the cities to be able to actually see the city but we may be relying on it more this go around.
These are my concerns as of now. Mostly lodging and the area to be in. I really appreciate your help and sharing your experience with me!

mabern2 is offline  
Aug 20th, 2006, 05:12 PM
  #2  
BKP
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
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You're not crazy! No matter how many times you hear it don't believe it. We took our son to Paris when he was 11 months and it was one of our best trips. Although I've been to London, it wasn't with a child so I cannot comment too much on that specific city. But I can (and will) for Paris. It was a wonderful city to take an infant to. The Parisians were so kind and compassionate toward us it was unbelievable. We don't speak a whole lot of French but we understood bebe and all the smiles that followed.
You're traveling style seems ideal for an infant. We rented an apartment and that was perfect. We were able to store fruit, yogurt, milk, cheese, etc in the fridge. At night, he went down in the bedroom while my husband and I were able to unwind in the living room. I would completely reccomend going that route. A B&B seems more homey, but I would hate to have to look other patrons in the eye over the breakfast table if my son screamed all night (which he never did, but is a real possibilty).
Public transportation was nearly impossible. There were so many stairs for the metro that we ended up walking everywhere. This will work out great if you still have a couple of extra "baby pounds" at that time.
My last piece of advice is in regards to dining. None of the restaurants (mostly cafes) had highchairs. They expect you to just pull your stroller up the table. We were also advised to eat before it got dark, that way we would end up eating before the actual dinner crowd and would not have to worry about our child disturbing anyone.
If you click on my name I wrote a couple of big posts that might answer any more general questions that you might have. I hope that you get some specifically London answers as well. Good luck, and remember -- you are not crazy!

BKP is offline  
Aug 20th, 2006, 05:54 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,196
A flat is perfect for a family visit to Lodon. This is just one of many sites w/ moderately priced apartments www.scala-house.co.uk/

I assume the 15 yo is going too. If so, you will need a large 1-bdrm or a 2 bdrm. If it willl just be you and the baby - then you can use a studio or 1-bdrm.

No single location is close to more than a handful of the major sites. And London may surprise you w/ the "Tourist areas" spread over a much larger area than in Paris. But the tube is great - and the buses are really easy if you are taking a folding stroller.

So any central area will be fine because as long as you are near bus stops/tube stations you can get anywhere.

Another plus to London is all the great parks - so you will usually be close to a patch of green where you can pic nic or just relax w/ the kids.
janisj is online now  
Aug 20th, 2006, 07:03 PM
  #4  
 
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We actually stay at Scala House when we go to London so I can vouch for them. Roomy apartments, 2 bedrooms (altho the second bedroom is fairly small, but would work fine for a child). A full bath and another with just a toilet & small sink. Full kitchen including dishwaster, stove, microwave, small washing machine (it takes forever to dry tho as it is all one kind of machine). Large livingroom/diningroom combo. Elevator bldg. VERY nice staff and the owners, Ken & Anna are two of the sweetest people you could ever meet. We will be staying there again next Spring as a matter of fact. It is not luxurious living, but clean/comfortable .. perhaps a bit "ordinary tourist class furniture" but you did say you were budget travelers.

There is a large TESCO grocery store across the street, a Boots (drugstore) one block over. The Tube is one block away.

I would think it would be a little hard to manage some of the tube stops with a stroller but perhaps the 15 yr old could grab one end and you the other and carry the baby down that way.

I'd suggest eating early (one nice thing about an apt. is that you can eat in sometimes too). Not sure about going to the theater with a baby -- we've been to alot of shows and I honestly never saw a baby with any of the attendees.

Lots and Lots of parks -- great for working off steam (for all ages)

As for Paris, well we have family there and they have 3 kids - all of whom were 10 months old at one time (youngest is about 1 yr now). Again, lots of parks to play in which is a big plus. Eating early is a wise decision too. The French like kids (at least I think so) as long as they are well behaved. Can't recommend apts in Paris tho as we normally stay in a hotel (for our own privacy as well as not overwearing our welcome with relatives !!).
Lori is offline  
Aug 21st, 2006, 03:24 AM
  #5  
 
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MacPrague is offline  
Aug 21st, 2006, 04:07 AM
  #6  
 
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More London tips. May-June are my favourite times here, long daylight, usually sunny, not too hot/cold.
Attraction: Lots of children's playareas in the park. Natural Science Museum have attraction for younger kids, though 10mo old may not appreciate fully. Not sure what appeals to your 15 yr old--is he into arts or history? Some castles outside of central London eg Windsor, Heaver Castle, make good day-trips. My "goth" nephews spent nearly an entire day in London Dundgeon, but this can be too gory for a 15-yr old.

Accomodation: serviced flat would have an advantage on preparing food for the baby. Any of major areas such as South Ken/Bloomsbury/ Mayfair/ Baker St/Marble Archshould be convenient. Kings Cross/Victoria are near major terminals so could be busy/noisy.

Transportation: inevitable steps at many tube stations. Though shouldn't be a problem if you're traveling with your older child or another adult. You go through a separate, manned, wider turntill with the buggy. Bus is flat-floored so very buggy-friendly, so long as it's not occupied by another already.

As for restaurants, we didn't have much difficulty getting a highchair, but just call them ahead to ask. Most theatres do not admit "babes in arms". In this point, hotels may have an advantage if they can arrange a babysitter.

You can find basic baby stuff at Boot's (there is a very large one nr Bond St), including nappies and formula.
W9London is offline  
Aug 21st, 2006, 07:39 AM
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Another thing I forgot... Babies take much longer time to adjust to the time difference. You can either prep yours before hand to London time, or just resign to the fact you're likely to have a wide-awake baby at night.
W9London is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2006, 07:42 AM
  #8  
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BKP - Thank you so much for your reply. The dinner suggestion about eating earlier sounds like a great tip and the highchair information was something I would not have considered. It sounds like I will be "walking" in your shoes with our trip as your child was about the same age. It is nice to hear from someone that has actually been there. Thank you so much and I will definitely read your trip post! Thanks again!

Janisj - Yes, the 15 YO will be going as well. Thank you for the link, it looks like a great source. I did look over a map of London and as you said the sites seem to be spread around, your suggestion of a central location would probably be best.

Lori - Thank you for the personal view on the Scala House and also the mention of the grocery as well. I was concerned about the public transportation with the stroller and we are considering taking one of those front/back baby carriers for these situations. We could fold up the stroller and my husband will use the carrier so we can try and not be too much in people's way, which may help.

W9London - Thanks for the info on the weather and daylight for the time we want to travel there. It sounds like a perfect time to be there! Yes, my 15 YO loves history, we were also thinking of taking a day trip to Windsor. So it sounds like that would be a good consideration. Thank you so much for the mention of some areas to stay in, I will definitely research some of these for accommodations!

Thank you all for taking the time to reply to my post, you have greatly helped me in getting started with planning this trip, as well as encouraged our decision to take our 10 month old. I think with 3 of us (myself, husband and 15 YO son) we will be able to manage a baby while traveling ... at least I hope so!
Keep the tips coming!!
mabern2 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2006, 08:36 AM
  #9  
 
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I think traveling with a 10-month-old was much easier than with a toddler. The front/back carrier is a great idea. We were able to use the front carrier until our younger son was right about ten months old and the nice thing about them is that they tend to be less bulky than a back carrier, plus I was more comfortable having him right in front of me on public transportation. (Once he started holding his head up he always faced outwards, so he was still "seeing the world.") Do you have an umbrella stroller that folds up small? I never used one with our older son (we had a bigger stroller that was good for getting through airports, but not for using public transportation) but it came in handy with the younger. Last--not specific to London or Paris, but in general--if you are thinking of nursing, and can keep it up until your trip, do! There's nothing like it for a quick fix, especially while the little one is adjusting to a new schedule and might need a little extra comfort. I am not trying to open up a discussion about nursing children, just saying that my travel experience was that it was a great thing. YMMV. Happy planning and have a great trip.
Barbara_in_FL is offline  

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