What I Learned Travelling to Europe with Leo

Jillian HarrisBaby, Fashion, Jill's Style, Life, Travel, Trends, Winter29 Comments

Jillian Harris Our Trip to Europe

Today I’m sharing ALL of the little details from our trip to Austria! As most of you know, I had this wild and crazy idea to pack up my suitcase and head to Europe with Leo to go visit Sammy, Dustin, and Hayden. I was soooo excited to finally be making my way there to catch up with Sammy and Dustin and see little Hayden once again … and to obviously explore with our little ones!! It was funny because I was getting a lot of praise and encouragement from a lot of people at first and I had no idea WHY … I mean, sure, travelling with a one-year-old was going to be a bit different than travelling by myself and it might be frustrating from time to time but it can’t be THAT hard, can it?? I mean, Leo is always with me anyway, so how different could it really be?? Welp, I’m here to tell you that traveling with a one-year-old IS A TOUGH FRICKIN JOB!!! Holy crap. It honestly didn’t take long for reality to slap me across the face!! I think I was just so used to travelling along and being on my own schedule that it was a huge reality check travelling along with Leo … because even though he can’t speak … it’s certainly up to him how our days unfolded! LOL!

Many people were wondering why I went to Austria and watched me over on my Instagram stories, eating, dancing, and drinking in Sammy’s kitchen. Welp. To be honest, I LOVED this time with Sammy, Dustin, and Hayden, it was perfect to be able to just be in the moment and hang out with them and catch up!! I wouldn’t have changed that for the world!! However, it’s funny looking at it from a bloggers perspective, let me give you a quick rundown as to why … LOL!! I thought we would be getting all of these cutesy photos while joyfully frolicking around Europe with a mug of warm Glühwein in hand, happy babies at our sides, days filled with amazing dinners out, shopping, … the whole nine yards. Yeah … that wasn’t the case. LOL. The reality was, I had all of these amazing expectations which was my first mistake. LOL! Our trip started off with lost luggage, which we all know, is never fun! The babies were cranky … on the third day we were there, Leo came down with a horrible fever, so while we planned to go to the Cinderella castle that day, instead we had to relax at home and not do anything because his health came first!

Actually, the very next day, after Leo’s fever subsided (thankfully!!) we ended up heading out to check out the Cinderella castle … they day before it was beautiful weather (nice, warm and CLEAR) but this day … it was snowing like CRAZY!!! We got the to castle, waited an hour and a half for tickets (after we trekked up a damn mountain to get there! LOL), once we got the tickets we were informed that we weren’t able to take our strollers in with us, so we were climbing tons of stairs with the kids on our hips … I was sweating BULLETS … the kids were squawking and we couldn’t take photos inside … which was one of the main reasons I wanted to go!! Well, I thought to myself, at least I could get a pretty photo of the castle outside … NOPE!! That was shut down as well because they were in the middle of construction and there were barricades set up but I wasn’t letting this keep me away. LOL!! I asked Dustin to hold Leo, I jumped the barricade (ssshhhhh … ), wiped out on the ice (karma, right??) and hiked my tired and sweaty ass up a steep trail to get a photo of the damn castle. It was worth it. LOL!

Hilarious right?? It gets better. The next day, we took a trip to Innsbruck and I was soooo excited to get there because there was a little vegan restaurant called Olive, (actually, the ONLY vegan restaurant in Austria) that I wanted to try out … so we finally get there and it’s CLOSED for a damn staff meeting. I couldn’t believe it. LOL! So, we ended up going to a dumpy little dive cafe, we were surrounded by stunning scenery which we couldn’t see because it was so foggy and gloomy!!

My last two days in Europe we decided to take a little trip to Paris … we stayed at the Shangri-La Paris and the hotel staff were nothing short of AMAZING!!! They had cribs set up for us including balloons and photos of our loved ones … it was so cute. To be honest, I have never felt so connected to staff at a hotel then the staff at the Shangri-La Paris, we only spent two days there but I left feeling as though they were family!!

The second day in Paris we had a photoshoot scheduled with Flytographer and we were soooo excited about it but that very day it was so foggy and hard to see the Eiffel tower which made it a bit challenging but we worked with it!! And then Hayden stopped eating … and puked all over Sam … things were starting to go downhill again. So, rather than going out for a nice, fancy, and wine filled dinner, we stayed in and made the most of it. LOL!!

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So, while it was the most AMAZING and unforgettable trip, it was by no means relaxing … actually, it was probably the least relaxing trip I’ve ever been on. LOL! However, though it was chaotic and stressful, I certainly have no regrets about it and I wouldn’t have changed it for the world!! Below are a few things I learned along the way on this journey …

Travel Tips

1. Lower Your Expectations

Seriously. Above all, just do this. Lower your expectations.  So do yourself a favour and expect nothing, just go with the flow!

2. Work & Function in the Existing Time Zone

The time change definitely threw us out of whack and is one of the most challenging things to deal with as you can’t really tell a baby “Ok, it’s bedtime now” BUT the one thing I did learn (thanks to Jamie from WeeSleep!) is that as soon as you get to your destination work and function in the existing time zone. That’s right, forget about what you are used to and just adapt the best you can. I’m by no means saying this is easy, because it sure as hell wasn’t but I felt like after the 3rd or 4th day Leo started to get used to the new time zone and we became accustomed quicker than what we would have had we carried on with our previous time zone.

3. Don’t Stress About Your Luggage

I definitely overpacked for this trip but I don’t regret it … I was so worried about how much luggage I was bringing with me and how stressful it was going to be to haul it all around with me but in reality, you don’t really carry all of your luggage around with you much … you can honestly transfer it from the carousel to your cart and once you’re at your destination whether it’s at a relatives or a hotel, you are good to leave the bulk of it there until you leave! I had one big suitcase, a big duffle bag, a diaper bag, Leo’s stroller AND his car seat with us and thankfully the amount of luggage didn’t hinder our trip!

4. Re-Evaluate the Clothing You Pack

I packed all these cute outfits for Leo to wear in Europe like plaids and flannels and cozy little sweaters but I didn’t pack a snowsuit!!! I actually ended up buying him one when we were there and he wore it almost every single day. If I were to go back and repack for him, I would have brought three or four onesies, two snowsuits, and lots of touques because it was CHILLY there!!

5. Stick with the Bottle

I was contemplating taking Leo off the bottle before we left for our trip and I ended up deciding against it which I’m VERY thankful about!! His bottle was honestly my saving grace … when he was cranky, needed a nap or when he woke up in the middle of the night and was hungry, I was able to give him his bottle and he was a happy camper. This also came in super handy when I was trying not to wake Sam, Dustin, and Hayden when we were up in the middle of the night!!

6. Tylenol

I might get a bit of flack for this one but when Leo had his fever I gave him a little bit of  Tylenol to combat it. I also noticed Leo was so exhausted and was fighting sleep so I gave him a tiny amount to help him catch the rest he so desperately needed.

7. Fawn Design Diaper Bag

I could NOT have imagined doing this trip without my Fawn Design diaper bag … I was able to pack it full with everything for myself and Leo and it was easy to carry around with me everywhere we went as I just tossed it on my back and was able to be hands-free!!

8. Playtex Flip Top Snacker

This little snack container is  LIFE SAVER people … when your little one starts to get fussy or hungry, bust this baby out and turn that frown upside down! LOL!

9. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

If things aren’t going your way … just remember to breathe and don’t sweat the small stuff!

10. Just Have Fun

Whatever you do, just embrace the moment, for the ups, the downs, and the craziness because it’s worth the memories in the end!!

Jillian Harris Trip to EuropeJillian Harris Trip to EuropeJillian Harris Trip to EuropeJillian Harris What I Learned Travelling to Europe with Leo Jillian Harris What I Learned Travelling to Europe with Leo

photo credit

Pink Beret | White Beret | Pink Coat | Sherpa Coat | Jeans | Boots

Do any of you have any tips or tricks for travelling alone with your kids?? If so, we ALL want to hear them!! Share your thoughts in the comments section below!!

xo

Jilly

 

 

 

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29 Comments

  • We have taken several flights with our now 8 year old, starting when she was 6 months old. Best trick for us has been to break the trip into 20 min segments – because you can entertain a kid with anything for 20 min. So a 5 hr flight = 20 + a few for delays etc. Trip to the washroom? 20 min. Cup of ice from the dring cart? 20 min . A new colouring page? 20 min ( and there goes an hour). This has saved us from over/under packing. We pre organize snack portions in little zip locks ( sorry but reusable bags go the wayside for us usually when travelling) and then put them in a large zip lock so they are organized and easy to find. Also organize games, books, toys the same. Ziplocks are your friend travelling. Also pack a change of cloths for you kid AND yourself. If they are sick or spill something chances are they wont just hit themselves. And always remember, this too shall pass – the good and the bad so enjoy the sweet moments and dont dwell on the sour

  • It would be a better write up if you take the 110 “Lol” out of it

  • There are a couple things that I have done while travelling with my son that I found helpful. First is timing our flights so they fell over nap time or in the event of very long haul, over bedtime. He would sleep most of the flight and for the short times he was up it was manageable to keep him entertained. The second is now that he is a bit older (4 years old), I started making him what I call “Field Trip” packages. I use them even on long road trips. Just a small bag of surprises to be dispersed over the trip. The number of surprises in the bags vary on length of trip. Items that I put in the bag can include a colouring kit (dollar stores are good for these), stickers, a treat to eat, a book or two depending on how long the trip is, and/or a small toy. My son is in to LEGO so the last few I have been getting mini figure surprise bags or a super small kit to build. On the plane there’s potential for losing things but if it keeps him happy I am willing to gamble! He’s so excited for his kits he stays laser focused on getting thru the airport and on the plane (or thru the long drive). I am very lucky in that he is a very good kid but this just makes the boring part of the trip a bit more fun:-)

    PS- you are right, don’t sweat the small stuff! We once got thru a weekend away when he was only 8 months old with 1 bottle as I forgot the bag of bottles on the counter!! I was constantly washing it out all weekend but it turned out not to be the end of the world ?

  • Tammy Peel  • 

    Thank you for sharing your adventure with us ?? I really quite enjoyed reading your story and seeing your photos.

  • Why would you get flak for giving Tylenol? It’s totally fine to give to children. I was just at our pediatrician with our feverish 9 month old and she wrote out the dose of Tylenol to remind me to give it to him every six hours. She said it’s crucial to keep the fever down. An uncontrolled fever is very dangerous and can cause brain damage. You’re doing a great job! People are too critical of you!!

  • suzanne riviere  • 

    the lovely pictures left me awestruck!!! thank you for sharing this beautiful vacation. Ah Austria… like a fairyland.

  • Christa Guillemette  • 

    Hey

    I have an 11 month old baby girl. We just came back from a trip to the Dominican Republic. And same as you it a total different trip with a baby. Not relaxing at all, always something to do or watching her to make sure she’s not eating rocks or sand, or even worst falling in the pool or ocean.
    I’m super happy my parents were there to help us. But still not a relaxing trip.

    How was Leo on the flight?

    Always love your parents sharing tips or experiences.

  • I echo everything you said about travelling with a little one. It’s not easy! Here’s a blog article I wrote about why we travel with Campbell (now almost 16 months old). In his first year alone he flew the equivalent of 1.5 times around the world!

    https://alifeshift.com/2017/08/09/travel-adventures-with-campbell-part-ii/

  • Nawana Petrin  • 

    Giving your child Tylenol when they’re sick is frowned upon?!?! Then lock me up, I give my baby medicine every time she’s teething! Thanks for being so funny and real. Other bloggers could take a page out of your book and have a sense of humour about everything.

  • Hi Jillian! I have loved you for years and always appreciate all the information you include with all your posts. While reading about your trip the pink coat your wore caught my eye and I fell in love! I went on the link you included I found the coat looked quite different in your pictures compared to the online pictures (button, pockets and trim). The coat where the link went to was the AllSaints Remi Oversized Coat. Would you be able to let me know if this is in fact true before I purchase it? Thank you so much! And thank you for all the wonderful tips about traveling with kids!

  • I travel with bith my kids on my own as a Single mum by choice. They are 6 and 2 years now. Currently travelled from Canada to New Zealand for Christmas with family.
    Travel tip with little ones is gate check your stroller. Take more direct flights than a load of stop offs. Yes it may cost you a few dollars more but the sanity of one flight vs a lot of stops and hauling diaper bag, car seat, carry on and kids off amd on planes and through numerous airports will drive you to needing more than a glass of wine somewhere in that journey. Yet alone the increased chances of meltdowns.
    Snacks for kids and lots of them are a must as well as distraction toys and activities including thugs like loads which even my 2 year old can be occupied with. Not something everyday at home so it’s a novelty to have time while travelling.
    At destination. Don’t overplan. There still will be off days with kids or days where you need to nap them more or longer with time change or the excitement of everything catches up. It’s not their fault or yours so as long as you accept this then you will avoid frustration.
    Enjoy your future trips Jillian. The magic that travel brings with kids is wonderful as they grow.

  • Way to go Jill! the pictures look amazing.
    Next time you go to Europe, come to Holland. It’s usually passed up for Paris or London but it’s really beautiful.

  • Based on your IG story I love when you post about everything! I don’t have kids and am nowhere near ready for that anytime soon (grad student working full time) but I love seeing pics of Leo cause that is one seriously cute baby! I originally started following because of your fashion/ food/ travel posts. It’s the fact that your account has always been well rounded and about lots of interesting areas of life that has kept me following! I usually only unfollow accounts when they don’t post often anymore or if they ever post something that’s negative.

  • Karen Sheridan  • 

    The photos from your trip are amazing and make it look like such a gorgeous fun trip. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Just wanted to post a comment about your insta stories yesterday. This may sound funny but I got Instagram because of you! I love your decor style it’s my main inspiration so would love to see more of that. Also I have 2 kids 3ys and 1yr so I loved seeing the pregnancy, birth story and watching little Leo grow up. Looking forward to seeing you have another baby and relating to how you manage and love having 2 (if that’s what you’re wanting of course!) I haven’t eaten meat for almost 4 years now and have never given to my kids so I love how much awareness you are bringing to this! It’s definitely a challenge as I love to cook and find it more limiting now but I know it’s the right thing to do. It makes me want to do better and learn more myself. Just think you are awesome and funny and look forward to your insta stories daily! Thanks!

  • April Cave  • 

    Thanks for sharing your experience! Have you or anyone reading this ever travelled with breast milk? We are taking our little one away soon and not sure how to bring it with us? Also, Jillian have you had any trouble gate checking your stroller? We have a bugaboo buffalo. Any tips on if it would need a luggage bag for it as well? Enjoy reading your blog it’s super helpful especially the baby related stuff!

    • Stephanie  • 

      It’s not a problem to travel with breast milk. I packed it in bottles in the cooler that came with my pump. At Pearson there was a special line at security for that type of thing. Just have it accessible so they can check it. We also checked our stroller at the gate at boarding time. Bag your stroller to keep it clean. They just toss it with everything else. I also found airline/airport websites helpful with addressing any questions/concerns.
      If you need to pump at all during your travel, there isn’t really anywhere to go except the family restroom. Have batteries for your pump as there isn’t always an outlet. I learned all this the hard way when our quick flight was turned around half way to our destination due to a minor technical problem. We returned all the way to our start location and had to repeat the flight an hour later. Not easy with a 6 month old! So plan for all of those unexpected problems – delays, lost luggage..

  • I think your foggy and snowy pics look freakin amazing!! So much more interesting and pretty than another perfect sunny Eiffel Tower pic ; ) Your feet must have been freezing in those shoes !! : )

  • Literally no one would criticize giving a baby tylenol to bring down a fever. That is appropriate treatment. Not sure what you mean.

  • Good for you for doing this, it looks like you did an awesome job and saw some incredible sights!! I have been awaiting this post as I’m hoping to travel to Austria and Hungary this spring with a 1.5 year old and wondered if it was a good idea… with your tips (expect less, lol) and those that others have left below, I hope I’ll have the guts to do it 🙂

  • Don’t feel bad about anything you do as a mother!! Tylenol is safe. There is no reason not to give it if your little one needs it! Thanks for being so inspiring and sharing with us!

  • Love the post. But you say LOL like 100 times

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing that post! This is why I love you.

  • Hey Jillian! In a previous story a while back you had mentioned you had liked a specific stroller vs the high end one. Which ones would you recommend to make travelling easier?

  • Hey Jill!
    We went to Europe this past summer with our 7 month old and did 7 countries in 3 weeks..
    It was exhausting but amazing too, so I definitely understand.
    If you are ever back in Austria and end up in Vienna, there is a delicious vegan lunch restaurant called Köstlich.. Its owned by my very dear friends and it is friggin unreal!

  • Hi Jillian, we are taking my parents and our kids to Paris next month and would love to schedule a photo shoot with flytographer… would you mind sharing which photographer did your photos and the exact location you got them taken at? Thanks!