Lessons Learned on Day One of C’s First International Adventure

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Today Grandma Points, Little C, and myself set forth on C’s first international adventure. Not surprisingly, I can’t really post much while on the road with her. Shockingly, she doesn’t take kindly to mom ignoring her by pounding away on the computer. And frankly, who wants to spend vacation on the internet anyway! So, I will be offline a bit more than usual the next few days, but I wanted to share some brief lessons learned on day one of our adventure.

  • Premier Access/Elite status with United is fantastic (so far). This is my first trip with any airline status in a long time, and the short check-in and security lines, priority bag tags, and E+ seats were all I hoped they would be. Seriously. There was even an open first class seat on our flight, so if I would have been interested in splitting from the other two in my party, it presumably would have been mine. However, I was very happy in my E+ seat next to my traveling toddler.  I love that she can stretch her feet out and not hit the chair in front of her.  For those who are curious, yes that blanket is in her mouth a lot.  No, we don’t normally let her bring it places (just when we want to encourage sleep).  No, the volume was not on for the DVD player (she took her ear phones off so we muted it).  No other passengers were harmed in the taking of these photographs. 


  • Kids love passports (likely because their photo is in them!). C kept asking to read her “passport book”. I tried explaining the story wasn’t very good in that book, but then I gave in and just made up a good story about travel to far off places while we flipped through the pages.


  • Take a potty break before the customs line. We did this, and I am so glad we did. Once you are in the line, you can’t really get out. This was C’s first trip without at least a pull-up on the plane, so that adds a bit of “excitement” to the whole experience. Oh, and if you are in Montreal, veer to the left in the customs line unless you are a Canadian citizen. We ended up in the wrong line due to my monitoring the toddler more than the signs. Oops.
  • No matter how many times you say it costs per minute/text, family will still call and text when you take the toddler and Grandma with you. Glad I have at least some sort of international calling plan on my phone this month, but I didn’t go past that since I didn’t think I would need it. Ha ha. Silly me.
  • Leaving the country with your kid is exciting – even if it is just to Canada.
  • Don’t let Grandma and child loose in any gift shop.  Trust me.  If you do decide to do this, you do so at your own risk, but at least make sure they are using a card with no foreign transaction fees!

Can’t wait to explore Montreal tomorrow with three generations of girls before the rest of the family joins us tomorrow night.  Fun!

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  1. We travel often overseas with our kids and love it, it is such a good experience for them and has turned them, even at a really young age, into great travelers.

    Have fun!

  2. Nice, trying to convince my family to do a Montreal/Quebec trip, especially in July. Are you taking in any Just For Laughs shows?
    I hope you’re not staying at the Hyatt….nearly every comedian stays there during the festival. I hear its quite the scene at night.

  3. Try the Biodome, our little people love it. We go there all the time! Easy to get to on the metro.

  4. Have fun! Montreal’s a great city. Are you going to the Olympic Stadium? I remember there were lots of kid-friendly activities there.

  5. Have to hear the trip report. That is our trip to end summer before we head to Asia this winter. Haven’t been back to Montreal in a very long time and definitely without kids the last time. Love to hear what kid friendly stuff is available.

  6. I went to college in Montreal, and it’s definitely an amazing city! Make sure you grab some “poutine” (French fries, gravy and cheese) and smoked meat, Montreal’s two amazing foods – and try to check out “Les Feux Loto-Quebec,” the weekly fireworks shows down in Old Montreal in the Port. Great city, especially in the summer!

  7. Although Montreal is a party town and best for young and hip, there are still many things to do for family travel…Agree with the firework every Saturday night. Best view is on Jacques Cartier bridge or old port. Biodome is not to be missed for people of all ages. Also don’t forget the famous Montreal Bagels from Fairmont and St-viateur!!

  8. Hey! You’re here, nice!

    If you’re going to be near the Intercontinental Hotel, there is a square called Place Jean Paul Riopelle in which there is a small fountain with a ring of fire. Is starts after 7 pm though and the ring appears every hour for a few minutes until midnight I guess.

    The old Montreal and the Vieux Port are always nice, I like to start at Victoria Square (Victoria Square sation on the subway, orange line), walking through Rue St Jacques (St Jacques street) until Place d’Armes just watching the old buildings. If you go on a business day, take a peak inside the Royal Bank and Bank of Montreal buildings. They look like palaces! In Place d’Armes there is the Notre-Dame basilic, border it on the left side (rue St Sulpice) and it takes you down until rue St Paul, where you take left until Jacques Cartier Square. It’s an adult tour because can be a little bit too long to make it with little C. You can also start directly at Place d’Armes.

    In front of the Jacques Cartier square there is the Vieux Port where you can take a tour around the river (Bateaux Mouches)or just take a stroll.

    The Juste pour rire (Just for Laughs) festival is going on at Place des Arts (metro Place des Arts, green line on the subway).

    If you want to see the fireworks, this weekend they are going to be held friday night at 10 pm. You have to get off at Papineau station (green line) and follow the crowds. It’s about 800 m from the station and they start at 10 pm. Be advised, the place gets full. Take a stroller since on the way back the station will be probably closed and you will have to walk to the next station, Beaudry. I can assure you, it IS tiresome with a toddler but this time I am going to take the stroller 🙂

  9. If you get the chance, stop in to Marie Reine du Monde Church. It’s close to the Le Centre Sheraton and the Fairmont. It’s a smaller version of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

  10. Don’t know if you brought headphones for the girls, but I can recommend a kid-safe (volume level) model. We bought these for our daughters, ages 2 and 4, when we flew from the US to Europe in May. Although these are not noise cancelling, they do cover your child’s ear quite comfortably with soft cushions. This is important with a volume-limiting headphone because it blocks most of the outside noise and they can actually hear the content. Most of the other kid-safe headphones sit directly on the ears. Two years ago we purchased that on-ear style and our oldest (who was 2 at the time) complained that the on-ear cushions hurt and she couldn’t hear very well. So, go with these: they fit over the ear, limit the volume, and the price is right. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826275036

  11. I will not be calling or texting, but if you could respond to the most important of important messages on facebook…. that would be appreciated. 😛 Glad all the traveling went well. Glad that the blanket made an appearance. I hope Mrs. Wooten knows that her work made little C so happy.


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