Planning baby’s first international trip

London bridge, England - Travel Photography by Lola Akinmade Åkerström
I took the easy way out on this one. While I still have Croatia and Montenegro on my radar for July and big dreams (well, plans) of dragging Emelie all over Asia, Africa, and South America before she turns two, our first trip will be somewhere I consider a fourth home (1st – Lagos, 2nd – Maryland, 3rd – Stockholm, 4th – London).

Mid June, we’re heading to England and Scotland for a few days, meeting with family and friends, and just taking it easy. This will be the hubby’s first time in Scotland so I’m looking forward to showing him a country I have a mild crush on.

Before baby, hopping on a plane with a carry-on was usually my way of traveling. But now with a breastfeeding 4-month old who requires frequent diaper changes, a place to sleep, and attention when she needs to be entertained, coupled with airline luggage restrictions and maintaining our overall sanity, I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Plane tickets

Many airlines usually charge around 10% of the parent’s ticket or even less for infants sitting in laps. Since she’s under two years old, we need to take as much advantage of the low infant rates before she requires her own seat.

We’re just a few weeks from traveling so I got us open jaw tickets on one of my favorite budget airlines, Norwegian. For those of us living up north in Scandinavia, they’re solid and an excellent way of getting around Europe relatively cheaply, even when buying one way tickets.

Local transportation

Securing baby is of utmost importance and we’ll have her car seat/stroller combo with us. Unlike our tentative Croatia/Montenegro trip where we’re looking at possibly going the rental car route, we’re sticking to public transportation in England and Scotland. London’s underground network is pretty reliable and we’ll be catching a train up to Edinburgh.

Lodging

I haven’t even touched this one yet. Ideally, I’d like to secure a few family-friendly rooms in London and Edinburgh I can review here on my blog as well as share via my social media outlets. And if I can get a good story out of a stay (please see example), I might reach out to one of my editors for a larger piece.

The three main things I’ll be looking for as I research hotels and potential short stay apartments are:

1) A crib or cot for baby – We will be bringing along a small portable carrier she can sleep in but ideally, having a cot available to her is essential.

2) A fridge – My minibar-hitting days are long over so I’ll be pushing aside tiny bottles of alcohol to store bottles of pumped milk.

3) Large sink – Or bathtub as we’ll need to bathe her every other day.

Any other amenity would be a plus at this point.

Packing

Since we’re going the budget airline route, we have to pay for luggage and paid for only one right now. After calling Norwegian to check their requirements on strollers and baby gear, we should be able to check both her carseat-stroller and one baby bag for free.

Their disclaimer? Make sure you “pack” your car seat/stroller. Words previously foreign to me.

Number one packing priority -> Transporting the stroller whilst incurring the least damage possible.

Everything else, we can technically get on the ground if needed. As we get closer to departure, I’ll probably do a special packing post. It warrants that.

Resources I’m using

There are tons of baby travel resources out there. Google took me to Bon Voyage! International travel with children, Have Baby Will Travel, and Travels with Baby. I’m also a fan of Amie’s Ciao Bambino site and will be checking it more often now that Emelie’s in our travel picture.

Do you know of any additional baby (infant) travel resources worth checking out? Please share below.

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  • http://www.lolaakinmade.com Lola

    @Emanuele – Wow! Super excited for you guys. Looking forward to following along and hearing more about your travels with Baby Diego. Hopefully we cross paths soon :)

  • http://www.thesiracusas.com Emanuele

    Nice to read this while Romana and I are about to to take our first international trip with our baby – we’ll spend the weekend in France, plus one month in Portugal. Even though our main purpose is to visit our “other” family and introduce baby Diego to them, we’re also planning a few side trips and we’re quite excited about taking the road again. We’re also thinking of moving to Thailand or Indonesia in Jan 2013 for 3 or 4 months. Curious to see how this “travel with baby” thing works out and I’m looking forward to reading more about your experience soon :)

  • http://www.lolaakinmade.com Lola

    @Kristin (Camels & Chocolate) – Thanks! I hope we cross paths one of these days. I’m 100% sure of it.

    @Kemi – Would love to see you again! Will send you a message.

    @Adeola – You’re too kind! Thanks. I’m heading to the US in August though it may be a tight trip and I may not be able to meet everyone I’d love to in person. In the timebeing, please feel free to email me to chat about anything you’d like to know.

    @Dami – Will check it out dear!

    @Essien – Long time!! Are you back living in Maryland now? I have a short trip planned in August which may be too tight but maybe in November around thanksgiving?

    @Amanda – Always love your advice and support! And absolutely lucky (well, blessed) indeed. We just took her first flight to Northern Sweden yesterday. Blog post to come for sure.

    @Andi – Thanks! The planning is unreal. I had no idea.

    @Abhijit – Hey! We may have to catch you when next you’re in Stockholm. We won’t be in the Midlands this trip unfortunately.

  • http://idrinkmyteasweet.com Abhijit

    Any chance you might be taking a pit stop in Nottingham (or anywhere in Midlands)? Would love to meet up! And have fun planning the trip! :) And Emelie’s really lucky to be get to travel so young! :)

  • http://www.mybeautifuladventures.com Andi of My Beautiful Adventures

    What a lucky and blessed baby to have travel infused in her at such a young age!!! I can’t imagine how much extra planning goes into traveling with younger children. LOVE this pic!

  • http://notaballerina.com Amanda

    It really is a totally different approach to travelling, isn’t it – it took me a while to adjust to the necessity to plan ahead more and especially to consider “safe transport” options! We took our first trip with Ruben at 4 months and it was by far the easiest (despite being the longest – Australia to Germany and back) – he slept so much back then! I squeezed in the “before he was 2″ cheap trip just to Melbourne (4 hour flight) and a lot more entertainment was required – but I think because he’s travelled quite a bit he is used to it. So you’ve got the right idea to follow through on all those planned trips, then Emilie will be the same. We have lucky kids, don’t we?!

  • Essien

    Lola, sounds like you are gonna have loads of fun traveling. If possible, reach out when you are in MD, I would love to meet your lovely family :)

  • dami

    rover gear has sturdy stuff. we have the stroller bag and car seat bag…. we even got away with packing clothes in there too so you don’t pay for or carry extra luggage.

  • http://jostwrite.blogspot.com/d AdeOla @ JostWrite

    Emelie is going to be a lucky globetrotter…she has been born into adventure already. lol.
    Seems like you are thinking about all the necessity. I hope this trip with her is WAY better than the road trip.
    I just looked at you list of published work and my jaw dropped. ;)

    I look forward to reading about this trip and when you are in the States and if not busy…I should take you to coffee just for a chance to pick your brains. I keed..more like to soak in your awesomeness. lol

  • http://kemi.blog.com Kemi O

    Sounds awesome! Please holla when you’re in London town. Would love to meet baby :)

  • http://camelsandchocolate.com Camels & Chocolate

    Beautiful photo! Can’t believe E is already going abroad–lucky lady! Think we’re headed to Scotland, as well, this summer, but not until September unfortunately.