My family is traveling across the Pond for a much-anticipated trip to England! Our “holiday”, as our British family would call it, will include a stay in London and a tour of Northern England– think castles, ancient Roman ruins, Abbeys, watching puffins play in the North Sea, walks on the moors, tea shops, boat rides on the Thames, and a chance to spot Her Majesty the Queen! Oh, and let’s not forget a visit to the Harry Potter studios (butter beer, anyone?).
As I’ve been preparing my family of seven for this adventure, I thought it might be fun to share the process with you. The logistics of traveling with five young children (our girls are 9, 7.5, 5, 3.5, and 22 months), the ways I’ve been building anticipation here at home, and the packing….oh, the packing… it’s fun to share tips and I’d love to have this documented in case we are blessed with another international trip in the future!
To begin: The oldest 4 visited London over two years ago for a family wedding, so this is our second trans-Atlantic family holiday. Steve and I actually LOVE taking trips with our quintet of girls, and experiencing the new sights and sounds through their eyes really adds a sweet and exciting element to the whole experience.
We also have more adult help to count on; my parents, sister, and two adult friends are coming along for the trip. We’ll meet up with my ex-pat brother and his lovely British bride, so the kids will be outnumbered. This helps. A lot! Maybe I shouldn’t even bother sharing travel tips, I should just say “find enough willing adults to outnumber your kids” and leave it at that. Well, anyway…
Without further ado, let’s start with a really fun part of holiday prep for families with little kids:
| Building Anticipation |
Books. We’ll be riding on big airplanes, the London Underground trains, and an overground train to the countryside. To familiarize the kids–especially the three-year-old–to travel, I stocked up on books about planes, airports, and trains. My preschoolers can tell you exactly what happens at an airport, and I can’t wait to watch them experience the process in person! My family also has a growing collection of books about London, England, and castles. They will recognize landmarks and have so much fun seeing their favorite books come to life.
Our favorite books about planes, trains, airports, castles, and London come from Usborne.
A Vacation Jar. The girls have been collecting spare change, birthday cash, and chore money to spend on special English treats and gifts for friends back at home. Here they’re selling home-grown strawberries and clover flower chains to raise funds!
Paper Chain. What’s a good count-down without a paper chain? My three year old had fun making this one with me, and we displayed it on the china cabinet so that her little sister wouldn’t end the count-down in a single paper-tearing spree while our backs are turned, hehe!
Next up… creating packing lists and organizing suit cases for a large-ish family!