Surveying Scotland: Hyatt Regency London The Churchill Impressions

I know people don't care too much about hotel reviews but I still find them useful, so here are some quick impressions of the Hyatt Regency London: The Churchill (what a name). I used a Diamond Suite Upgrade and stayed as a Hyatt Diamond (thanks to the status match earlier this year). As I mentioned, we were upgraded past even the lowest level suite thanks to the great employee working the desk at the lounge. Here are my impressions. As we discussed on the last Saverocity Observation Deck podcast, I was deciding between confirmed suite in unfamiliar location (Hyde Park) and smaller room in a favorite location (Covent Garden). The Hyde Park location, while a 30 minute walk, is still fairly closely situated to the West End all things considered. [...]

Surveying Scotland: Free activities for young kids in London

One of the benefits of visiting a city repeatedly lies in familiarity. Having visited London multiple times before we had kids, we know our "favorite" places and areas to hang out. Of course, with two kids under four in the mix, a lot of things change by necessity. However, we found that having a nice baseline and knowledge of the city helped us greatly when touring our kids - especially since it was our first stop and we were still in the throes of jetlag. Despite the stroller unfriendly Tube, London actually turned out to be a great city for our preschooler and infant. Better yet, nothing we experienced had an admission fee. Here are some attractions we found worthwhile (granted we only had three days), and some reasons to consider [...]

Surveying Scotland: Getting Around London with Young Kids

One thing I neglected to research before leaving was accessibility in London and Scotland. Did you know that the majority of Tube stations in Central London, where the bulk of tourists spend their time, do not have elevator access for strollers or wheelchairs? I do now! Here are some suggestions for getting around London with young kids (the ones who can't walk far). When we went to Hong Kong with our then two year old, my mother warned us Hong Kong's subway system wasn't very stroller friendly. It turned out to be okay, though not great. Let's not sugarcoat this: the London Underground is horrible if you need to use a stroller or a wheelchair. Look at this website before planning your trip to London. When an official page detailing [...]

Surveying Scotland: Handling kid jetlag and other potential disasters

Here's the thing. When you take a redeye (or any flight) to Europe, you lose five hours that you will not get back. Not until it no longer matters at least. That means that even if everything goes perfectly to form, you have to find a minimum of five extra hours of sleep for your kids. Of course, being low on sleep means your family is more susceptible to potential catastrophes. Last time we came to Europe with M, she was 18 months old, we had a great flight in Lufthansa first class, and I still slept for 16 of the first 24 hours in Germany. Subtract two grandparents and add a one year old baby: that was our situation in London for the first three days of this trip. Here's [...]

Lazy Weekend in Lyon: British Airways First Class and the Ghost Terminal at Heathrow

Thanks to our changed flights, we departed from Boston at 7:45 PM instead of 3:00 PM, which was great because we got to spend a few extra hours with our daughter. After saying our goodbyes, we made our way to the airport by around 6:00 PM. Since we slept for most of the flight, I'll only touch upon British Airways first class in brief here (and go into some more detail for the return). The executive summary is that despite some quirky design choices it's a really nice first class product that I'd be happy flying more often if there weren't any fuel surcharges. But alas, there are. After checking in at the airport, we made our way to the British Airways First Class lounge in Terminal E. The First [...]

Lazy Weekend in Lyon: Introduction

Last week my wife and I spent a quick long weekend in Lyon, France with a nice little layover in London to boot. It wasn't the cheapest trip, but it was some much needed R&R away from the little one. I haven't seen a lot of stuff out there about Lyon, so hopefully this trip report will remedy that. I decided not to do it live because I needed the rest - hopefully it won't take me too long to finish! Before we get to the fun stuff, a little bit about how we got there. Flights: British Airways First Class Boston to Lyon Back when US Airways switched to Oneworld there was a small window of time when you could book British Airways tickets without fuel surcharges. We took advantage [...]

Some Lessons Learned from Travel in Europe

I was talking to some friends about an upcoming trip they have to Europe and got super excited for them. In talking to them, I was kinda flooded with a bunch of memories and experiences that Jess and I have had that I've never really written about on the blog. The reality is, I'd say at least 50% of our travel has been to Europe, but I've blogged very little about it because most of it was pre-blog and pre-miles obsession. But in honor of my friends' pending trip, here are some things we learned on each of our Europe trips. And of course, I know people have different views on travel, so if you disagree or have thoughts contrary to my own, I'd love to hear them! These are [...]