ADI’s Travel

We are a young family that loves to travel and go on adventures. When it was just the two of us — David and Iris — as college students we kept ourselves on a very tight budget. Now that we have our amazing daughter, Abigail, we've learned to go on family-friendly trips while still saving big. We love to go on all sorts of adventures, but most of all, we love cute chocolate shops, museums, and plays.

Adventures

A Concert of a Lifetime

A weekend day trip for Abby's favorite band!
April 2024

Boston Marathon with a Baby 🏃🏼‍♀️

Perfect weather, cheering the marathon runners on.
April 2024

93% Solar Eclipse in Boston

The heavens line up for something greater: a fun afternoon.
April 2024

Spring Break 2024 - A Family Adventure Through Ireland, London, and Paris

Our first time in Europe. A non-stop whirlwind tour to see all the highlights in 10 days of spring break.
March 2024

Cruise to Roatan, Cozumel, Costa Maya

8 days of pure relaxation!
January 2024

How to Plan A Trip to Europe

Hey everyone! Welcome to our blog on planning our Spring Break 2024 escapade through Ireland, London, and Paris. It’s just us, navigating the globe with our baby in tow, figuring out how to juggle flights, sights, and the unpredictable moments of parenting on the go. From the stunning Cliffs of Moher to the bustling streets of Paris, we’ve packed in a lot of adventures (and misadventures) to share with you. So, if you’re curious about traveling with a little one or just want to see how our trip unfolded, you’re in the right place!

Get our free Europe Guide

Keep in mind, all of these prices are for our family of two adults and one infant. We get a single hotel room, and on this trip we usually paid for two adult tickets for most attractions. Also, if you'd like to read more details and photos, here is our blog on how the trip went (it was amazing)!

📝 Pre-Trip Planning:

Planning this trip was a mix of excitement and "what are we getting ourselves into?" Here’s how we got everything lined up.

✈️ Flights & Transportation

Flights ($1,102.74)

We flew Aer Lingus from Boston to Shannon and then on to London, with a 13 hour layover in Shannon and a 3 hour layover in Dublin on the way back
💡 A heads-up about travel insurance: we paid $78.75 through Aer Lingus - Allianz, but you might not need to if your credit card’s got you covered.
💡Also included the Heathrow Express to and from Paddington Station to Heathrow, which was really helpful to figure out transportation to and from the airport ahead of time
💡Don’t plan on being in Dublin’s airport during Saint Patrick’s Day. It was a madhouse! Every restaurant, except for one, had completely run out of food.

Rental Car in Ireland (€213.36)

Opting for the smallest car available at Sixt, we were initially thrown by the mixed messages about age restrictions and insurance policies. Being under 25, I was on the edge about whether I could even rent a car. We chose the "pay at location" option, just in case I couldn’t, though it came at a higher cost. At the counter, we faced the expected young driver surcharge and the decision on whether to add extra insurance (we did).
💡 Familiarize yourself with your credit card's rental insurance policy to potentially save on extra costs.
💡Book the rental car only for the duration you're certain you'll need. I opted for extra time, fearing late return fees, but our concern over missing our flight led us to return the car early, resulting in us paying for an unused four hours. A lesson learned: better to align the rental period closely with your schedule to avoid unnecessary costs.

Eurostar Tickets ($386+)

So this is one place we made a mistake. I accidentally bought Eurostar tickets for the wrong dates, not once, but twice. Each time I corrected the mistake, the prices had jumped. It didn't help that our plans for Paris were a bit fluid, leading to multiple changes.
💡Nail down your dates before booking those tickets. Although it's pretty straightforward to change them, the cost tends to creep up because, well, they catch on that you're adjusting your plans.
💡Our second mistake: Get to the Eurostar check-in at least 30 minutes before departure.We learned the hard way, assuming it'd be a simple hop-on situation like a regular train station. It's actually more akin to an airport, complete with check-in and security. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to avoid any stress!

🏨 Accommodations

London (£1058.50)

We booked the Hub by Premier Inn at Westminster Abbey in London for 9 nights.
💡Skip the pre-paid breakfast gives you more freedom (and can save a few bucks if you decide to eat elsewhere).

Paris (Gifted)

Paris was not originally on our itinerary but became a highlight thanks to a generous gift of two nights—one at Hotel Du Louvre and another at Hotel Hyatt Vendome. With our London hotel booked for all 9 days (non-refundable), we decided to travel light, leaving the bulk of our gear in London and heading to Paris with just two backpacks.

🎫 Tickets

Orsay Museum Tickets (€32)

Right after we landed in Paris, we headed to the Orsay Museum. Given our tight schedule of just 3 days in France, we didn't want to cram two museum visits into one day. So, we arranged to visit Orsay the same day we arrived, with just an hour or two after landing. This plan gave us about 2 hours at the museum.

Louvre Museum Tickets (€44)

We booked the Louvre in the morning (on our first full day) because we wanted to spend as much time here as possible, and loved it!

Oxford/Stonehenge/Windsor Castle Tour ($307.46)

Absolutely worth it. Just remember, they leave on time, so don't be late! And a heads-up if you're planning to visit during a typical school holiday—expect to encounter long queues, Windsor Castle being a prime example.

Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus with River Cruise ($108)

Sounded great, but turns out, exploring on foot was more our speed. Money kinda wasted, lesson learned.

Miscellaneous

Tackling Pre-Trip Work

Try to get all your big tasks out of the way before your trip so you can truly relax. This can make the days leading up to the trip super stressful. I powered through the GMAT and all my midterms just the day before we flew out, which left me totally spent. David stepped up with the day-to-day planning since I was just too wiped to contribute much.
💡Schedule any medical appointments well ahead of travel. Our little one's 15-month checkup and surprise vaccinations were only a day before flying, making for a rough start with a feverish, cranky toddler. Better to get those shots at least a week before flying to give them time to bounce back.

Packing Strategy

We went with two carry-ons and two backpacks, prioritizing baby essentials and clothes we could rewear. Looking back, we’re not big on checking bags, but maybe one check-in bag would have been smarter than juggling two carry-ons. It definitely would have made airport navigation and plane boarding less of a circus, especially after the airline lost our stroller, leaving us short-handed.