At the beginning of this year, I announced that our family would be embarking on a 10-day journey to Europe, recreating a trip that Joanna and I took back in 2018, this time with a bit more travel experience under our belt AND our 20-month-old daughter in tow. Although our trip plans aren’t fleshed out just yet, I wanted to provide you with a sneak peak at what we have planned, including some of the travel advice I can offer so far, especially when it comes to international travel with an infant.
First, let’s talk about the flights. We booked our flights 8 months in advance, knowing that the prime time to book an international flight from the United States (to get the best price and the best seat selection) is the 6-8 month window. When we booked our flights on Delta (our preferred airline) and compared them to prices via Google Flights, we noticed that the rate was listed as slightly below average for our multi-city flight (we’re flying into London and out of Paris). Since we booked these tickets, prices have generally remained about 10% higher than what we paid, and sometimes have spiked to even higher prices. In general, I’ve found that booking an international flight early is better than waiting until the last minute (unless you can wait for last-minute deals and have complete flexibility in your travel schedule).
Since we’re traveling internationally, we also had to make sure everybody has a passport. Joanna and I have had our own for decades, but Maggie needed to get her first. The standard timeline for getting a passport is 8-12 weeks, so we didn’t hesitate in starting the process for her. If you’re planning to travel internationally (including taking a cruise), it’s worth reviewing the passport application process.
For this trip, we decided to devote the majority of our time to Paris, but we still plan on spending a few days in London. The first day will be very casual as we’re taking an overnight flight to London, so we are planning on doing very little until the second day. During our time in London, we’re planning to visit some of the sites we saw in our prior trip (Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace) along with some ones we’ve never visited before (Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Churchill War Rooms, and Hyde Park). If time allows, we have a few additional attractions we plan to see. I’m also personally hoping to enjoy at least one afternoon tea experience. Although I’m a very big fan of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we unfortunately will not have time for any day trips outside of London, so we’ll have to save this for a future trip.
One of the aspects of this vacation that I’m quite excited for is to once again enjoy a train ride from London to Paris aboard Eurostar. This 2.5-hour train journey is superior to air travel in every way. The trains are spacious, quiet, and comfortable; the station experience is pleasant; the service is wonderful; and the ability to speed through the English and French countrysides (and enjoy a pretty incredible engineering feat, gliding through the famous “Chunnel” under the English Channel) makes Eurostar a remarkable (and remarkably affordable) European experience.
Once we’re in Paris, we have several sites we want to see, including many that we saw on our previous trip. In addition to the Eiffel Tower and Louvre (we’re devoting almost a full day to the latter), we’re planning to see the Musée d’Orsay, Musée de l’Armée, Notre Dame (tours won’t begin again until 2024 but we’re planning to visit the cathedral anyway), and more. Plus, we’re devoting a full day to Disneyland Paris, although we likely will not be staying at a Disneyland Paris Resort Hotel this vacation (we’ll be utilizing the RER train system to head there for the day).
Make sure you’re tuned in to Imagination Skyway on Social Media (especially Instagram and Facebook) for more trip highlights as we approach our European summer vacation.