Travel with Kids: 2006
How do you keep Junior happy on the long flight over? What are your favorite child-friendly attractions? How did you manage in hotels and with finding baby supplies on the road?
Favorite places for 9 year old boys
I was given a "trip to anywhere you wish" for Christmas. I want to take my 9 year old son to Europe. I would love to hear from you experienced family travelers. What were your kids favorite places and why?
St. Paul, MN USA Sat 12/30/2006
German Trains with Kids
We spent a week traveling on trains in Germany with our 2-1/2 year old and 9 month old grandkids and their parents. Be sure you get on a bicycle car if you have strollers and many bags. There was always plenty of room for us to spread out - double stroller and 9 bags! Kids under 4 are free. Many Germans stopped and talked with us and the kids. It was a real icebreaker to have them with us. We had checked into renting a car but it was soooo expensive to get one large enough for 4 adults and 2 kids. The trains were so easy to use and connections are frequent. The 2-1/2 year old loved the rides at the Christmas markets in Nuremburg and Rothenberg. Both kids were fascinated with all the lights. The hotels and B&B's were helpful with the kids - most had cribs and high chairs and also would fill bottles with warm milk. They also put us at the end of the hallways so we didn't bother other guests. We had a great trip!
Fort Worth, TX USA Tue 12/26/2006
Traveling with a 2 year old
My wife and I want to go to Spain this May, and we want to bring our daughter with us (who will be 2 1/2 years old at that time). She's traveled with us to Portugal, Florida, and small road trips to Minnesota. What kind of special tips can be offered for a child of this age. I know it won't be easy, but I'm desperate to go on an other trip. Also, if anyone knows any good websites concerning this subject, that would be appreciated.
Chicago, IL USA Mon 12/18/2006
Soccer Parks for Boys
I am taking my three sons, ages 11, 9 and 5, to France with my parents for three weeks this summer. I would like to find a hotel in Paris that is very close to a park where my older sons can play soccer/burn off steam before a day of museums and touring. I know some parks don't allow "playing ball" on the grass. Any park suggestions? We are only in Paris for four nights.
San Francisco, CA USA Sat 11/25/2006
Math on the Move
Tara: First of all, a month in Europe trumps any month of school for learning! I would suggest you do more of what you did last time; put him in charge of the budget,but make him account for it in writing at the end of the day and do the conversion to US dollars.You could also have him do a budget as if he was going to live in the country you're visiting-use a newspaper or local people to find out how much an apartment, a car, utilities, food, insurance etc, cost and perhaps compare it from one country to another or from a city location to a rural one. Call it consumer math or economics. Above all, don't stress-he's not "missing" anything and you don't need to schedule any "learning" on your big adventure. Bon voyage!
USA Thu 11/16/2006
We travel frequently and I cannot depend on my young children (ages 5&2) to be able to communicate successfully (in a foreign language)if they become lost in a crowd. My best tip is to take a few business cards from the hotel/hostel/etc. where you are staying and tuck them into your child's jacket or pants pockets. I will also write my name on the back of the card with the word "Emergency" and my cell phone number (provided you have one that works in Europe). That way if my kids get separated from me they can show the card to another adult and ask for help. This also helps if jackets are left behind, etc. My other safety tip for my kids, should they become separated from me, is to have them approach another "mommy with a stroller" and ask for help. Most moms understand the universal look of distress on the face of a child and young moms are more likely than other strangers to speak a little English. I never ask my children to locate a police officer since the uniforms here (Europe) differ from country to country and city to city. Other moms are your best bet and they are everywhere!
Bellevue, WA USA Sun 11/05/2006
Provence with young children
Would love to heartily recommend the B&B "La Gavaniole" in St. Didier, France (Provence). The hosts were very kind to our young children and really went out of their way for us. I found them on the Graffiti Wall under "heroic B&B friendliness" and they definitely fit the bill so I thought I would add their information to the "traveling with kids" section as well. Myriam and Gerard Bouscarat-Dekemel offer a private apartment with two bedrooms, one bath and a kitchen. They also have a pool and various other accomodations. If you are heading to Provence with young children definitely consider staying with them: www.lagavaniole.com St. Didier is located east of Pernes-Les-Fontaines and north of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.
Bellevue, WA USA Sun 11/05/2006
Eze, France with young children
We just returned from a trip to the French Riviera and Provence. We chose to stay in Eze because we prefer quieter villages to busy cities when traveling with our daughters (ages 5&2). We found reasonably priced accomodations with unbeatable views in Eze. This hotel would require a car rental but is well located to reach Nice, Monaco, and the rest of the coast. Walking distance to all of Eze, and a nice bakery is right next door (skip the 11 Euro/pp hotel offernings). There are multiple family friendly lunch/dinner options in the neighborhood as well but the view was so fantastic from the hotel we brought the picnic back and enjoyed the view from the balcony. Rooms include a small kitchen. Our one bedroom apartment worked fine for our small family with a comfortable fold out bed in the living room area and a separate bedroom with a king sized bed. Would highly recommend this for budget minded family travelers at 80 Euros/night (offseason). I reserved via venere.com, but you can shop the online hotel discounters for the best rate. http://www.sejoursdusud.com/eze/index.php?lang=en
Bellevue, WA USA Sun 11/05/2006
Slovenia (Lake Bled) with young children
We took our two daughters (ages 5&2) to Bled, Slovenia, for a long weekend. Must recommend the Hotel Golf. The weather was supposed to be "iffy" so we opted for this hotel because of the huge indoor wellness area. The kids were entertained for hours on the waterslides and the children's pool. There are multiple pools and lots of lounge chairs for parents to sit back and relax a bit. The hotel also offered a loosely supervised children's program. I wouldn't have been comfortable leaving mine unattended but it was nice to have the activities (including an evening show) when the weather was wet. The standard hotel room has a small couch that folds into a double bed that out kids shared and was roomy enough for the weekend. Breakfast and wellness facilities were included in our room rate. http://www.hotel-golf-bled.com/ Hotel is well located to explore the town and my kids got a kick out of the gondola to the island in the middle of the lake. Lots of hiking in the area and some well advertised caves for spelunking.
Bellevue, WA USA Sun 11/05/2006
Missing school for older children
We are heading off on another adventure and I would love some suggestions about keeping up math skills while my kiddo is missing school. He is in 5th grade and while I'm not concerned about language arts or (obviously) social studies, he will miss almost one month of math. We traveled for a month when he was in 1st grade and I had him help with budgeting ("We have 60Es a day to spend; if we spent 35 on the hostel and 12 on meals what does that leave us for sighteeing?") or planning times but four years later school is much more intense. Anyone have ideas on how to handle missed schoolwork with older kids? Thanks.
San Francisco, CA USA Sat 11/04/2006
Kids and security
Julie, we were just in London w/ our 4 year old. We brought 2 milk bottles for her and informed the airport security RIGHT AWAY that we had milk. They let us take the bottles out and put them in bins to go through the scanner. No problem. With going back, we also told them while checking in to our flight that we were carrying milk. They said security inside might let us taste the milk in front of them to make sure. Got to security, they just searched her bag and off we went. If you must have a tylenol in your carry-on bag, try asking your pediatrician to write a prescription for it with your child's name. I know it's over the counter, but they might consider it if there's an RX. I also would recommend bringing an extra tylenol for your checked baggage, just in case they dont let the first one through. Happy travels!
USA Sat 10/28/2006
We took a trip to Paris, Brugges, and then Heidelburg with our 3 yr. old. We stayed at the most amazing hotel in Heidleburg, it's called Hotel Zur Alten Bruck. They have the best service of any hotel we have ever been to. They were fabulous! And the room was perfect and big enough for all of us. Very hip and extremely clean with amazing views. We just happened to find it when we got there. What a blessing! I highly recommend you check it out, they also have an awesome restraunt downstairs.
Nashville, TN USA Tue 10/24/2006
Kids and Security
Has anyone travelled with kids with new security restricitions? Heading to Ireland and planning on bringing Tylenol for my son....but now not sure they will let it through...smallest bottle I've seen is 4 oz...
Chicago, USA Mon 10/23/2006
Florence with kids
I went to Florence and Siena last fall with my 2 kids ages 7 and 5. Florence was a challenge, but here are some suggestions to make it more interesting for the kids. In the Accademia museum in florence, I took drawing paper and pencils and they sat and drew the statue of David. They were very quiet and kept them occupied for several minutes while we gazed at the work of art. I had also bought some of the playing cards in the gift shop and we played go fish for a while too. In the Uffizi museum, we stopped at the gift shop first...out of the way, but worth the effort. Bought some post cards of some of the paintings in the museum and they we had a kind of "treasure hunt". In each room they had to look for thier paintings. Also, a note about snacks. DO NOT BRING FOOD INTO THE UFFIZI AND EXPECT TO BE ABLE TO FEED YOUR KIDS THERE. IT IS NOT ALLOWED!! The snackbar is pretty expensive, but you can bring out your food there. And find a playground where ever you go!! Strollers would be difficult to navigate on the streets...side walks are very narrow in some places.
Germnay, USA Mon 10/16/2006
Speyer...European back door for kids
We just returned from a 2 week stay in Germany. At the advice of a friend, we stayed two days in Speyer (easy to get to from Mannheim or Mainz). I had never heard of the town, yet I was very impressed with its ancient cathedral, pedestrian zone and gate--everything you go to Europe for. What was best for us, however, was the great kids activities including the Techniks museum and Sealife park. The beautiful, green park and playground areas behind the cathedral, and walking paths to the kid activities are picnic perfect. My 8 year old loved the planes, trains and automobiles, as well as the fire engines, helicopters, and motorcycles on display at the Techniks Museum. Although not too much English is spoken here, little is needed to enjoy the machinery on display. Another must is the five story slide from the base of the Lufthaunsa 747 display. The view from the plane, displayed on stilts as if in a mid-flight banking maneuver, may be breathtaking but the slide down will give your breath back and add 10 years to your life.
El Paso, Texas USA Sat 10/07/2006
Baby Equipment Rental Company
I am traveling with my 12 month old to Rome, Florence, Venice, and London in 2 weeks. I am looking for a rental company where I can rent a cot (crib) and high chair. Any recommendations?
Long Beach, CA USA Tue 09/05/2006
Looking for farmhouse in Tuscany, Umbria that is kid friendly
Ciao! We are travelling to Italy in August of 2007 with three children who will be 2,6 and 4 at that time. There are also a lot of other family members going on this trip. We are looking for a large farmhouse to rent with a pool in either Tuscany or Umbria that is relatively kid- friendly. Also, any particular sites in the area that are fun for children. Thank you so much!
CA USA Fri 09/01/2006
Highly recommend Europa Park in Germany
We just returned from a long weekend at Europa Park in Germany- It was WONDERFUL and so much better then Disneyland Paris (and cheaper too!). Our party included 7 people- a 2 year old, and boy/ girl 8 year old twins and 4 adults. We all had a blast. We bought a 2 day pass and still were not able to see everything. The park is full of wonderful rides for every age group. The park is located on the border between France and Germany in a little town called Rust. We stayed in a 2 bedroom apartment with 6 beds for 135 euro a night. We did a search in google for pensions and bed and breakfasts and found many reasonable rooms available. This is a great park- give it a try!!
Erfenbach , Germany Tue 08/29/2006
Does anyone have any advice or information regarding traveling to Belgium, specifically Brussels with kids. We will be there in Oct with a 2 year old and 6 month old. Good places to stay, things to do, places to eat that are child friendly. Do they have highchairs in most places? We went to Greece when the 2 year old was 9 months and couldn't find a high chair anywhere.
Atlanta, GA USA Tue 08/22/2006
London sites with an 8 year old
We scheduled 2 sites on opposite ends of the city center (like Brit Museum and Hyde park). We did one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Between venues, we took one of the buses that goes across town (Oxford, Euston, etc.) and sat up top, gave our son the map and told him it was his job to watch the streets for our stop. This gave everyone a nice sit down (if you packed well you could get a quick snack in too) and helped him with map reading- and he loved the double decker buses. We sometimes did the same with the tube, but the double decker bus was more fun.
Houston, TX USA Tue 08/22/2006
Sleeping Tip for toddler
This may be an obvious tip, but I sure wish I would have heard it before a recent trip to Barcelona w/ our 15 mo. old. Get them use to sleeping in a Pack n Play weeks before the trip as well as adhering to a bedtime routine you can replicate while traveling. Bedtimes were the only rough times on the trip.
NewMarket, Suffol UK Mon 08/21/2006
Night train w/ toddler
We are planning on taking an overnight train from Vienna to Interlaken this winter. Can my 19 month old son and I fit on a bunk together? Or do they have cribs-I don't see how he could be on one alone.
Sacramento, ca USA Fri 08/11/2006
Travel stroller VS regular stroller for Europe & Berlin toddler tips
We've between US & Europe 3 times with a now 20 month old & also a few short flights in europe. Our experience has shown us there is almost no benefit to a light travel stroller and all the benefit to a regular stroller...
1. stroller check in at airport is the same whether travel or regular stroller 2. less time tolerance - we found our son wanted to get out of travel stroller almost immediately but he can stay comfortably in his regular stroller for hours 3. couldn't nap in travel stroller, we were prisoners to his nap schedule without the regular stroller 4. travel stroller couldn't carry as much stuff around so we had to carry another back pack when walking around for the day. 5. wouldn't sit through a meal in travel stroller - we always leave him in his stroller at resturants, he has a little tray on his stroller and he can tolerate much more time than in a child seat. The travel stroller was impossible. 6. travel strollers aren't great with cobble stones etc. 7. We use the Greco Metro Lite which works well, it's big enough where he's comfortable and seems to feel he has a little "home" while strolling around (vs the travel strollers where the child is really exposed), the wheels are sufficient to handle the cubblestones pretty good and it's narrow enough to get through tight aisles which are common in stores and wherever
Also if going to Berlin...
1. there are wonderful children's parks everywhere, and particularly in the former western area of Berlin they are really neat, much more exciting than anything we have in the states. So it's easy when out siteseeing to stop by a park and almost all of great children's areas.
2. about 60-70% of subway stations have elevators - in the larger stations it may take 3 different elevators to transfer from one train to another so it can be confusing but if it says there is w/c access on the map then there is a elevator somewhere
3. the subway system has the benefit of no turnstiles as it's on the honor system (they check frequently) but we found it much easier than say Paris where one had to find away around the turnstiles.
4. The cafes are amazingly friendly to children we found and other patrons were very friendly too in Berlin without exception. We have had worse luck in other cities.
LA, USA Wed 08/09/2006
Haarlem and Amsterdam with kids and teens
We had a fabulous stay last week in Haarlem in an apartment called Haarlem Hotel Suites (haarlem-hotelsuites.nl). We stayed in the de Lange Veer I and II suites with a family of 6. These suites are on the second and third floor of a typical Dutch building with a shop on the ground floor and an separate entrance to the upper floors. Since we rented both it was very private and we could leave the suite door open when we were relaxing in the rooms. The parent suite on the upper floor was very comfortable with a sitting area, bathroom with shower and nice tub and a killer balcony with that was private and had the best view of the St. Bavo Church. Bells, bells, bells all day. The kids suite was spacious with the fold-out bed set up and had a great view to the street where all the action was taking place. This street is very lively in the evening and very entertaining. The noise can be unexpected but if you close the windows it's not that bad. The center of town is steps away so whether it's happy hour or Saturday morning market activities, this is the only place to be. The reception at the Boulangerie is very warm and helpful. They allowed us to drop off our bags by 8am and we were given keys to one of the suites byh 9am because it was not rented the night before. This was extraordinarily helpful with four jet-lagged kids. They crashed all morning and were ready to go in the afternoon to meet Haarlem. What a GREAT town. I would definitely book there again (85 euro for 2 people and 115 for 4 = 200 euros per night for heaven) We almost stayed near the train station. That would have been a mistake, you must book near the Grote Markt to enjoy Haarlem's vibe, especially with kids. BTW...We booked a private boat in Amsterdam with Like-a-local.com (Captain Cor) and we had a blast for two hours traveling the canals. This is a must for families with kids. Try is early in the morning and you can plan your day in Amsterdam with all your new ideas you get along the way. We loved Amsterdam and Haarlem much more than we ever imagined.
Dee from Connecticut
CT USA Wed 08/02/2006
Traveling with a 16 month Old!
I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of my experiences including traveling with my young daughter. I am now 34 years old and decided to partake in a father and son trip on my first expedition to Europe back in August 2003 with my dad who is retired and who has had prior experience traveling to Europe, plus since my wife was pregnant with our first child at the time and unable to travel it presented an excellent opportunity plus I would be starting a new job upon my return. In May 2005 I decided to return to Europe repeating parts of my previous trip but this time traveling with wife and 16 month old daughter to share in some of my past experiences. This time I elected to get rail passes plus booked 2 night accommodations in a sleeper car for night travel between Munich and Vienna and Vienna to Amsterdam. I would recommend a private sleeper car room for safety and convenience. This was an incredible experience and we will definitely continue to travel by rail in the future with occasional car rentals for day excursion using (Eurail Selectpass Drive) which offers great value. However, a word of caution about the Hertz car rental office at the Brussels "Gare du Midi" train station should you be there as they insisted that the Eurail car voucher was a discount coupon and not an actual voucher for a full day rental and was charged more than $240 for my 1 day rental which was subsequently reimbursed after contacting Hertz Corporate. Hopefully this has now been rectified on there end but be attentive. Also, I found that they overcharge for child seats. Obviously traveling with a young child we were somewhat more restricted in the types of activities we could undertake and our scheduling required a little more planning around nap and snack times but other than a couple of short nights I can honestly say that traveling with my daughter was an absolute breeze and an experience I want to repeat as often as I possibly can. The key was to plan the trip carefully, making sure our hotels could accommodate our daughter's needs such as cribs and high chairs, etc. and that we were relatively close to the train stations. Also, get your child accustomed to travel as early as possible even if just on road trips at first without bringing all their toys. We brought her favorite Teddy bear, a little Fisher price cordless phone that plays music and educational games and a few compact books and her stroller. Remember, you can also buy baby food, diapers and other necessities in Europe in addition to any other product you may require or forgot, so you don't need to bring them from home except for items required for the duration of the flight and your first day. In addition to road trips and long weekend getaways, traveling to 5 European countries by rail with my wife and daughter was one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences of my life. We have since traveled to Club-Med in Mexico in January where we celebrated my daughters 2nd birthday which is the same number of stamps now on her passport. I am currently planning our next 3 week European trek for next May where once again we will be traveling by rail. Tickets are already booked.Good luck and enjoy your time together.
Montreal, Qc CANADA Wed 08/02/2006
babies and kids yes, toddlers no
in my experience (travel with 2 sons, now 11 and 6 years old), you can (fairly)easily travel with a baby who can't walk yet, and again when they are 3 or 4 or 5-- but not for that first year or so when they have just learned to walk. A child who has put all that effort into learning to walk MUST walk, and when confined (plane, car, restaurant, line) it's just unnatural and miserable. If you must, go for trains whenever possible (you can walk around) and expect that you will give your child your full attention every minute of the flight.
ny, ny USA Mon 07/24/2006
Travel with a Teen
We were in Italy for 3 weeks with our 14 year old daughter. The best things that happened/we did... We stayed in Riomaggiore at Edi's in Room 21. This gave us a view of the swimming rocks so our daughter could go out by herself while we sat on the terrace. (A great place to stay and would go back in a minute). And most importantly, we didn't always make her go with us to see the sights. Sometimes she just wanted to chill out and read at our different locations. Her view was, "I'll be back". My view was "I'm 47 and never been here and don't know if I'll be back". I chose to let my agenda go when dealing with her. So, she came back saying "it was the best trip of her entire (14 year old) life". And we had alot less stress by letting her have some room to do what she needed to do. And my husband and I got to spend time together. Finally, we did not worry about her safety and let her walk back to where we were staying in the middle of Florence/through Venice/ and even go out one evening in Venice with some older girls she met at the B and B. We discussed not drinking/peer pressure (you can drink at 16 there) etc. She had a blast! This would be kid dependant but our daughter is confident and trustworthy. My advice is give your teen some breathing room and not control the trip entirely.
Seattle, WA USA Fri 07/21/2006
travelling to Italy end of May 07 with toddler
I am planning a trip to Tuscany along with my husband and 4 year old daughter. We are planing to leave around memorial weekend.( we are using miles so I have to plan this far ahead). 1-Is the weather nice and warm enoguh to use a pool or plan some beach time for my daughter or should we go later in month of June? 2- Does anyone recommend a farm house/villa close to Florence with the pool?
Redondo Beach, CA USA Tue 07/18/2006
Rome With A 16 Months Old?
Have any of you experience traveling with a 16 months old toddler to Rome? Will you reccommend it or not reccommend it? If so, where did you stay, what restaurants did you eat at, and are there any other tips that you want to share with me?
Also, will I need to bring a carseat or booster seat for taxi rides?
Houston, TX USA Tue 07/18/2006
traveling with a baby to europe
I just returned from spain italy and greece with my 3.5 month old daughter. I would encourage anyone to travel with a baby, its a blessing. People were nice to us that I don't think would've been otherwise. In madrid on the subway it is actually a custom that you give your seat up to anyone holding a baby. In italy she was a real icebreaker, and people just went ga ga . ( bring lots of wipes because people are always pinching cheeks, and grabbing hands.) As a breastfeeding mom, my advice would be to bring a light cloth for cover and be discreet, although I don't think anyone is against it, it isn't exactly customary to nurse in public. However, i consider myself to be an advocate and I breastfed everywhere from the side steps at the prado museum to the subway, and cafe's. my experience as a traveling mom was wonderful, especially at this age. (no going to the bathroom, snacks,ect.ect) Considering what a challenge it is to travel with toddlers traveling with an infant is easy. I didn't bring any equip. besides my strap on baby carrier. I brought only enough diapers for the plane and two extra days, and bought the rest during our three weeks journey. if you are wondering whether to go or not with a baby... i say don't think twice, go for it, have a great time!
redding, ca USA Mon 07/17/2006
Kids in Europe
We just returned from Italy (+a weekend in Prague) with our 10 and 7 year old boys. It was their 4th venture into Europe. We have, in the past, taken them to Copenhagen, Ireland and France. Two of those trips were stops on our way to visit family in India. When they were little, I packed small new toys, and Mardi Gras beads for the flights. Now they're endlessly entertained by the personal screens on overseas flights. On the flight over (but not on the way back), we give them 1/4 of a dramamine to get them to sleep right after the meal...this way, they've had at least 4 or 5 hours sleep when we land and can make it till evening without too much trouble. We've found that one of the big draws for them in Europe is using the varying forms of transportation. Buses, trains, subways and boats have been major forms of entertainment. We don't schedule in too much museum time, but do one or two "musts"...in two weeks in Italy, we went to the Accademia and the Uffizi (stuck to Rick's points)in Florence one day; did the Pope's palace in Pienza another day; Pompeii another day, and Paestum another. We had lots and lots of gelato stops (in France, these were chocolate crepe stops), and lots of time for them to run among pigeons in town squares. We were very proud of them on this trip, when we found ourselves on a high-speed train in a 2nd class compartment with a broken A/C...It was about 95 degrees outside and we couldn't open windows...they wilted a bit, but never complained and I must say the Italians near us were most impressed and appreciative of the boys' gamefaces. They've learned to be patient during long travel days, as there is ALWAYS a big payoff. They love our family vacations ! Oh, a BIG help: make sure you teach your child the basic phrases: please, thank you, hello, pardon, in the local language. The Europeans will reward you with great appreciation and wonderful, warm service. As for food, we take very little with us (just a bag of granola and a few packs of crackers in case we're stranded somewhere), and expect our kids to eat whatever is local. It's never been a problem (Italy:pizza, pasta, panini; France:croque monsieurs, crepes, poulet roti, frites; Copenhagen: sausages, sandwiches; Ireland: stew, toasted special sandwiches, pub grub)and they learn to try things. They don't care for the milk there (it tastes a little different), but would have it in cereal and ate tons of cheese and yogurt so no problem there. I know I'm rambling all over but I hope this helps someone. Have no fear!
Austin, TX USA Mon 07/17/2006
Availability of Family Rooms
Part of the fun, for me anyway, is to start researching places to go and stay for any of our Europe trips. You don't say where exactly you are going so it is hard to give you a specific recommendation. I can tell you that we have traveled with our 2 kids since they were 9 & 11 and we often use "family rooms". This is the correct term or "quad" if you are looking for a room that actually sleeps 4 people. Our room in Rome had 2 double beds, in Venice we had a triple (1 double, 1 twin) and they added a rollaway cot, and in the Dolomite region we 1 room that had a separate bedroom for the kids.
Get a guidebook, determine where you'd like to be and then go online and look at the websites. I am amazed that even small bed & breakfasts and hostels have websites. I avoid using the pre-written reservation form, preferring to contact each place by an email message. I usually write "can you tell me if you would have accomodations for my family of 4 - we are 2 adults and 2 children...". I have had responses that tell me about a "family apartment" or other type of accomodation that is not listed on the website.
If you are trying to be flexible and don't want to pin yourself down to a set itinerary, then leave your children at home. Many places that we have stayed have only one quad available. The few places that I did not have reservations we had to get 2 separate rooms with 1 adult/1 child per room. They were not only more expensive they were much less charming than the rooms I had pre-booked. And there is nothing "free and easy" about dragging 2 tired kids around looking for a room at the last minute.
Atlanta, GA USA Mon 07/17/2006
Kids in France, PS
My wife asked me to add a postscript to my post. The restaurants were very welcoming but this was after we observed the formalities of greeting in French or Italian and asking whether they could accomodate our group.
I would also like to add that children tend to open up an added dimension to travel. People will engage you more readily when there's a cute child involved. We even got to cut a bunch of cab and transportation lines with the kids!
Boulder , CO USA Sun 07/16/2006
Kids in France
My wife, daughter and I have travelled in Europe (Italy in 2004, France in 2005) the last two years. We are returning to France this year. I have to say that both the Italians and the French were most welcoming to us and our children. We did not encounter any trouble at restaurants. We were always welcomed but were sometimes (understandably) asked to keep our strollers outside. We asked for milk for my niece (1 year old) and later learned that the waiter went down the block to purchase some--and it didn't show up on our bill!
My daughter weaned herself off of baby food (which we foolishly packed with us) in 2004 while in Italy. She had obviously seen that we were eating far better than she. The only downside to Rome was the subway system which, with few elevators, forced us to portage the stroller down the multiple flights of stairs. We got our exercise!
France was a joy. The infrastructure tends to be better than Italy so we did a bit less carrying of strollers. My daughter loved the carousels and parks, especially Luxembourg Parc. Vive La France.
I highly reccommend taking the kids with you.
Boulder , CO USA Sun 07/16/2006
Babysitter, Todi, Umbria
We will be staying in a house near Todi, Umbria and are looking for a part-time babysitter. Does anyone know how to find one in Todi?
USA Tue 07/11/2006
Need help for trip to croatia with 20 month old
Help - we are planning to go to croatia with our 20 month old. I am totally overwhelmed with the choices and lack of clear information. We want to rent a house/apartment in Sept that is right on or near a beach. We'd prefer a beach that has a large shallow area. It's important that it not be too difficult to get to. We'll be flying from Berlin to one of the airports but from the airport to wherever we rent needs to be not too hard or long. Anyone with any suggestions?
Berlin, Sat 07/08/2006
First trip (hopefully, of many!)
We just returned from 3 weeks in Ireland, England and Paris. None of us had ever been,neither my husband nor myself, and we took our 15 yr old son and 8 yr old daughter. While we definitely had our "moments," as we would anyway spending that much time together even at home, it was definitely worth them, fender-benders and illnesses included! For Dean and others considering tours, I recommend being very careful about scheduling too much. We took our kids to one historical sight/museum a day, with travel and "off" days, and always time after for just playing. For example, we took Cynthia Harriman's advice (great book) and went to the Louvre fairly early, spent approximatly 4-5 hours there, including hitting the cafe and gift shops first to plan what each of us wanted to see (We didn't ask our kids if they wanted to go-We asked them what they wanted to see)then walked through the Tulieres Gardens where they could ride carousels, sail boats, and jump on trampolines! By that time we were all ready for dinner. Another time we toured the Tower of London, where the kids were great on the hour Beefeater tour, but then wanted time to watch and photograph the giant ravens. In my experience, the key to traveling with kids is balance, and obviously, compromise. They'll do tours and museums to a certain extent, but they also need time to do kids things, including sleeping in some mornings and watching a little European tv., giving mom and dad time to linger over coffee and croissants! So consider carefully whether a tour will mind if your kid suddenly wants to take 20 minutes to skip stones across the River Avon or stop to watch a street performer. Also, the digital camera was an added bonus on trains and waiting for food in restaurants as they had fun looking over pictures and taking shots of bent forks, etc., which can be deleted later. Finally, while traveling with two kids is harder, in some ways, than traveling with one, in other ways it's easier: while you'll put up with fights, your kid will also have someone to roll down grassy, hillsides with (besides you, of course!)
Safety Harbor, FL USA Wed 07/05/2006
Prague with a Pre-Schooler
We found a small play park in the little quarter next to the Charles Bridge. We watched the boats go by as our almost 4 year old ran off steam. Anna also liked Petrin Hill with the tower. Petrin is wooded and the shade felt good. We took the Tram (#22 or 23) to the last stop and walked the rest of the way. The Funicular was closed and was being rebuilt. We walked downhill from the tower and found another play park. It was out in the open so we didn't stay as long. We bought the 3 day metro pass and had it checked once. Children under 5 are free. It was great to be able to jump on the metro or tram and go. We have a small stroller with strap so it doesn't take up much room. Also, the people in Prague were very polite and would give up a seat for Anna and myself. One elderly lady on a tram let Anna sit on her lap. We used a lot of the waterless hand gel. I also had napkins, tp, and stick sun block. This all fit in our stroller so we didn't have any bags. The napkins come in handy when eating ice cream on the go. Anna would have liked to go to the zoo but we didn't have time. We were there from Sunday morning until Noon on Tuesday.
Landstuhl, Germany Wed 07/05/2006
Will appreciate someone posting the easiest mode of travel to Disney from the Latin Quarter.
manchester, ia USA Mon 07/03/2006
Copenhagen with Children
To the family travelling to Copenhagen with children. There are sooo many great things in Copenhagen, I'd defintely suggest spending the day in the city, if you can. We spent 5 days there with our then 8 month old daughter and it was by far our favourite city! We rented bicycles with a baby seat on mine, and that was the best thing we did on our trip. We could go anywhere quite easily (we even took them on the train with us back to our inn), our daughter loved it, and we got to feel like locals, as everyone there rides bikes. Also, there are nice, cheap boat rides that will take you all over the city and kids really enjoy that as well, plus it takes up a couple of hours. There are soo many nice, little cafes and street performers around that there will be many things to keep the kids' attention. Also, try some of the great parks around the city centre....lots of fountains and playgrounds. Copenhagen is a fabulous city with children! Enjoy!!
Seattle, WA USA Fri 06/30/2006
Italy with Son
Dean - we took our son to Italy when he was 10 and it is still top of his list of the places we've seen. We did not, however take a tour and I'm not sure if any tour offers the kind of flexibility that can be the key to a good trip with children. Talk to the tour operator if you are taking a tour or consider going on you own.
In general, I agree that he will find the sites fascinating, I don't think you have to worry about that. Keeping him fed and hydrated should be at the top of your list - this helps in all cases. Down time from the museums is also important -reading, napping, swimming - all good.
My son took his own school bookbag as well as shared a suitcase with his sister. He took 9 paperback books with him for a 2 1/2 week trip and we still had to swap books with friends and search out the English language bookstore in Florence. I didn't mind him taking this much as he carried the bag himself and read during our car or train rides. Your son could probably keep himself similary occupied if you were on a tour bus.
BTW - we are returning to Italy next year with our son who will be then be 17 - he can't wait.
Atlanta, GA USA Wed 06/28/2006
First trip with my son
I have traveled to London by myself and other locations as well. I am considering a trip to Italy. My son is 9 and quite bright. I think he would find the travel interesting. However, I am worried about how he might hold up on the trip and the scheduled tours of museums and such. I think he would find it all interesting, but I am not sure what other diversions there might be along the way without deviating from the planned tours (Globus or Avanti) which I'm considering. I can't even imagine traveling with a preschooler! My daughter is 7 and I don't think I could manage the two of them just myself. Suggestions?
Huntsville, AL USA Sat 06/24/2006
Babtsitting in Copenhagen
This is the company that advertises in the big monthly publication for tourists:
Scotland Sun 06/11/2006
Has anyone ever used a hotel or other babysitter service? We will be in Copenhagen for a few days with a 3 and 1 year old and I'm wondering about the advisability and safety of using a sitter for an evening out and what options there are.
tallahassee, FL USA Sat 06/10/2006
laundry with kids
A lot of laundromats in the US offer full wash-dry-fold service for a per-pound fee. I'm hoping that we can find the same in Europe and drop off our laundry every so often instead of spending hours at the laundromat. We're also trying to bring as much quick-drying stuff as possible so that we can do some quickie washes in the sink if needed, but we'll also be bringing a little more socks and underwear than Rick suggests, so we can go 5 days to a week or so between washes.
USA Wed 06/07/2006
I'm an expat living in Brussels and have been toting my infant and two year old everywhere (they've been to eight countries since moving here in Oct '05) - planes, trains and automobiles. I'm here for another year and a half and if anyone needs a resource for the area or other countries, I'd be happy to help.
My advice is to travel with kids as much as possible, the younger you start the better, otherwise you'll be trapped at home for years! The toddler years are tough but there's plenty of beer throughout Europe to ease the pain (for the moms and dads of course) and my oldest loves looking out the airplane and train windows. Europe has been fairly child friendly so far and it's been easy enough to buy supplies along the way (though some brands you can't find here).
*Note a good kid friendly restaurant in Brussels is Chez Leon, near the Grand Place. Kids 12 and under eat free off the kids menu with a paying adult. They also have highchairs and paper table cloths for doodlers.
Brussels, Belgium Tue 06/06/2006
Bring plastic cups for sharing drinks
Last summer we spent 3 weeks in Germany with 2 kids ages 8 & 10. Many times we wanted to share a large soda or juice instead of buying 4 (expensive) small bottles. I wish I had brought 4 different colored plastic cups to make sharing easy. About halfway through our trip we found some, but I wish I had brought from home.
Long Beach, CA USA Mon 06/05/2006
Laundry with kids
Last summer we spent 3 weeks in Germany with 2 kids ages 8 & 10. In the past when it was just me, I have washed socks & undies in the sink. This does not work very well with 4 people. The socks were taking 2 days to dry, so I washed 2 days at a time. It takes a long time to do that much laundry in a sink! And then where do you hang it all? Next time, I'd take a few extra pairs plus an extra shirt or 2 and schedule a weekly stop in a laundry mat.
Long Beach, CA USA Mon 06/05/2006
Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald with kids
I've been reading so many posts and online reviews that my head is spinning...We'll be in Switzerland this August and based on RS we're going to spend 4 days in the Berner Oberland. We originally planned on staying in Murren, but with the tram construction this year, we've thought better of it. So we're trying to decide between Grindelwald (which RS isn't wild about) or Lauterbrunnen. Our hope is to stay in a centrally located place to hike, bike and tour with out 13 and 11 y.o.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
hopedale, ma USA Mon 06/05/2006
Italy with toddler (long)
We spent three weeks of April, 2006 in Italy with our 19 month old son and it was fabulous! We survived nightly restaurant dinning, winding roads in Tuscany and even a trip to a Milan emergency room by ambulance and when it is all said and done I would do it all over in a heart beat. The locals were wonderful with our son every where we went. A few things that are a must for the trip at least for ours; a portable DVD player and lots of short cartoons, Not only was it a life saver on the plane but in the restaurants as well, I know it sounds a little ugly American like to pull out Sponge Bob at dinner, but I thought it was a lot better than my screaming child all thought dinner (no complaints or nasty looks). Bring just enough toys and book (the dollar stores are great for these little things and you won't feel bad if they get lost or broken) to get you through the plane ride and then pick up little things along the way. This also goes for snacks, no need to bring snacks for the entire trip; they have just as many wonderful snack foods available there.
Clothing, I way over packed on cloths for our son. I brought eight out-fits (shirt and pants), eight onesies, two sweaters, two pajamas, and one waterproof jacket. I dressed him every day in an onesie, shirt and pants. I took his shirt off during meals so his onesie got dirty, not his shirt. If at the end of the day if his cloths were clean they were re-used on another day (baby's cotton clothes do not dry as well planned out adult attire). To do it over again I would only bring one sweater, seven onesies and five outfits.
Diapers and wipes are easy, but not cheap, to come by all over Italy. You can fine both in pharmacies and grocery stores. Pharmacies are considerably more expensive. Mind your self though Italy is not a 24 hour nation like the United States, they take their holidays seriously. We ran very low on diapers on Easter Saturday and found that all stores and pharmacies, gas stations every thing was closed not only on Easter Sunday but Easer Monday as well. It was a nail biting couple of days. Their milk is radiated there and this allows them to keep it on a shelf and not in the refrigerator case. However this does not mean that you can keep it on the shelf after it is open, you will need cold storage. I found that all of the hotels we stayed at allowed us to use there refrigerators behind the counter. If you are unable to locate a grocery store for your milk need you can get it at any café. I found that most places would fill any container for one Euro, I would just hand them the sippy cup and ask for latte fredo. Bring diaper rash cream, over pack it if you have to, better to have too much than a raw butt and none at all.
Bring a good stroller with big wheels. If your child still takes naps, make sure the seat has a full recline or close to it. We all know our kids need their naps, but we found that it was nearly impossible to make it back to our room for nap time; I think it happened once due to a rain storm. We brought our peg Prego, what a life saver! When it collapses it has a handle on the side to carry it along, the Seat back reclined nearly all the way and I never had trouble with the wheels. Strollers in Venice are a hassle, but if your child weighs anything more than a sac of potatoes you'll be sorry you didn't bring yours along for the day. Two people can carry it up over the stairs there with little effort (the locals do it every day). Side or front carriers are great if your shoulders and back can handle the weight all day.
Parks and Piazzas were also a life saver. Buy balls from street venders in Siena and let your little one make new friends in the Campo de fiori while you chat it up in Italian with their parents. Let him run loose in the piazzas and chase the pidgins. Locate the nearest parks form the IT offices, and take lots of boat rides in Venice.
A few things I would of changed. We traveled with a carry on roller RS roller bag for each adult and two x small duffle bags for the baby gear that fit on top of the roller bags. We also had a messenger/diaper bag that hung off the stroller. If I were to do it all over again I would have chosen a larger roller bag and packed all our gear in that one bag saving my husband to lug around two roller bags (+) while I dealt with the diaper bag ,baby and stroller. It was just too much to carry. Electronics are nice to have and like I said I won't travel without the DVD player ever again, but we also took the digital camera and all its charging gear and my husband had to bring alone his PDA for the GPS. Although the GPS was nice at times, a complete life saver at others, we could have done with out it and all its gear. All those little electronics do add up and can weigh you down.
Richland, WA USA Sat 06/03/2006
Traveling with kids
Just do it- if your kids are good travellers and you are comfortable with it - go! Our twins have been to Mexico twice and are coming with us to Europe this summer. They are very calm and good natured- this helps. I think a lot depends on your attitude and that of your children. Some kids are hyper and hard to manage no matter where they are. This stresses out the parents and makes for a tough experience. But if your kids are good-natured- go!
Chicago, USA Sat 06/03/2006
switzerland with cihldren
I don't have experience with kids in Switzerland, but if you haven't seen the following website, it might be a decent place to start: http://travel.yahoo.com/p-travelguide-6916448-cat-Children-switzerland_things_to_do-i
If you search for "things to do" children and the name of a city you will be visiting, you should be able to find some helpful websites. Good luck and have a great trip!
USA Fri 06/02/2006
Copenhagen with children?
We are going to have 1 day (an evening, and then the next morning through early afternoon) in Copenhagen with our 3 boys, ages 5, 10 and 12. (The next day we'll be going to Legoland, so we don't need another amusement park day on our Copenhagen day.) A lot of people suggest a walking tour for adults with only a day to spend, but I think the kids would find that "boring". Is there a particular castle that is most child-friendly? Round Tower? Stroget? National Museum? Would it be better to leave early and spend time in Odense on our way over to Billund? Thanks in advance!
USA Fri 06/02/2006
Switzerland with children
My husband has a project in Switzerland this summer, and we're going to be there for six weeks with our four children, ages 2-12. I'm having difficulty finding sites and books that deal specifically with traveling with children in Switzerland. Any ideas or help with that? The children travel well and we're looking forward to taking many day trips while Dad is working. We'll be staying in the Valais region.
VA USA Wed 05/31/2006
3 Weeks in Germany with kids
We returned in April from a 3 week trip to visit my wife's family and friends (and to see some of the sites). Our kids are 6, 8 and 19 so we had a wide range of interests to satisfy. We found renting apartments the way to go for traveling with 5, in my wife's home town of Eschwege we were able to get a 3 bedroom 1.5 bath place cheaper (630 Euros for 2 weeks) than any hotel and we had a full kitchen, living room and dining room (email for contact information). We found the local pools to be a requirement for sanity. They're cheap (1.50 Euros for kids and 2 Euros for adults) and The kids remember the pools as the highlights. If you go on certain days the pools are heated to bath water temperature - it was 29 degrees (F) outside with snow on the ground and everyone was having a blast in the pool. We also hit the local pool in the Kronberg suburb of Frankfurt (our second apartment), the pool there was 3.50 for kids/5.50 for adults and comes highly recommended by every member of our family (hot water, outside and a crazy whirlpool). We had the advantage of family and friends with kids and toys of our age group, we mixed the sights of Berlin, Hannover, Cologne and the Rheine with alot of play areas along the way; everyone had fun and is ready to go back for more. One last note, the local (ask the locals!) grocery stores are the way to go for food and supplies; it was cheaper than at home and we always were able to find something for our 6 year old with 'particular' tastes.
Everett, WA USA Sun 05/28/2006
Toddler Friendly Hotels In Rome and Florence
My husband and I are traveling to Italy (Rome and Florence) with our 22 month old in October. I would love a hotel that is nice and quiet, yet toddler friendly. A kitchen of some sort would be an added bonus. Any suggestions?
Campbell, Ca USA Wed 05/24/2006
Robyn - Car Seats
Hello - We traveled to Finland and Iceland last summer with our 3 year old. We did not bring a car seat with us but rented one from the car rental agency at the Helsinki airport. The agency had many car seats in all sizes. We reserved a seat at the time we rented the car online. When we were at the agency counter, we told them our child's weight and they brought out a couple seats to choose from. The seats had different brand names than we have here, but the one we chose was basically the same style convertible seat that we had in our own car. The buckles worked differently, through, and we had to ask for help on how to fasten them. But the seat was fine and we never had a problem. The seat rental was around $8 per day, cheaper for us than buying one over there for 2 weeks of use. We did have to buy a stroller there (airline lost ours; be sure it is specifically tagged by the airline) and with the exchange rate it was pricey compared to what a comparable stroller would cost here. If you do buy one, go to one of the big hypermarkets where the prices will be the cheapest and don't buy it in Iceland, which is hideously expensive. Scandinavia is so child friendly, have a great trip!
MA USA Wed 05/24/2006
London with Toddlers
To keep our kids occupied during the long flight we used VideoNow XP (they offer a wide selection of good videos including seasame street & blues clues) instead of portable dvd players since this also plays games. This worked like a charm since they are easily portable (measuring 5" x 5.5" with a 3" screen) and were used in restaurants, etc. as well. Just have extra batteries on hand. The other key was to have the small containers of play-doh on hand with a few of their accessories (kept in a baggie).
My two sons REALLY wanted to go to a medieval banquet. It took some reasearch and here's what I found: it's held at night in the cellar of a restaurant called Ivory House. The medieval show itself it doesn't start until 8 or 9pm (so we didn't end up going) and the price is around 40 pounds per person. The address is St. Katherines Dock (nearest tube is Tower Hill - circle & district lines. The Tower Bridge (train station) is a 2 minute walk. They serve a 4 course english meal with unlimited wine & beer. There is a disco after the show until midnight. Your hotel can help you with advance tickets or more info but it was suggested that it can be a rowdy crowd.
My boys are 2 and 4 and here's a brief list of what they LOVED and really shouldn't be missed: (1) Natural History Museum (animatronic T-Rex exhibit), (2) Science Museum (everything was great but especially IMAX theatre and basement has two "hands-on" exhibits for toddlers and tweens-teenagers, (3) Docklands Museum (more interesting for us but lifelike dock street was spooky enough to delight our kids, they also had a hands-on kids exhibit on the main floor and the surrounding area was great for eating & shopping), (4) riding on top of the double decker bus, (5) Tower of London (dragged a little for the kids but they liked the gory stories and the beefeater telling them). Two spots we didn't make because it was too early in the season : LEGOLAND and DIGGER LAND are both suppose to be great! Both are reachable by train. Digger Land was recommended by a local and they have two locations (Devon closest) where kids can actually operate construction vehicles (rigged for safety).
Some places they didn't enjoy were: (1) aquarium and (2) zoo as both were underwhelming compared to what we have in NY and they were disappointed.
We stayed at the 4-star Hilton London Kensington which had a bus stop across the street and tube station 5 blocks down (we used priceline.com to name our own price - just make sure to pick a good area - and we could not have asked for better).
Overall, London was good but very expensive. We've been there a couple of times previously but before kids and felt this place wasn't too kid friendly compared to elsewhere. We still had fun and the kids enjoyed themselves but we had more fun last year in Germany.
Nw York USA Tue 05/16/2006
Baby Crib rental
We are going to Umbria with a 6 month old. The villa does not have a crib. Does anyone know where we can rent one in or near Todi?
Springboro, OH USA Tue 05/16/2006
Fun things to do with kids.
This is a great website for fun things to do with kids in many countries and also for books they can read before you go -- http://www.travelforkids.com/
Morgan Hill, CA USA Mon 05/15/2006
Go, GiGi, Go!
Go to Italy. Take your child. Enjoy.
My wife travelled solo to meet me in Italy when our 1st was 10 months old. She flew a European airline (can't remember which )which didn't allow the carseat, so she requested a bulkhead seat with a bassinet - basically a baby bed for the plane that you can use except during takeoff/landing.
One lesson from that trip - If you're going to Venice, leave the stroller at the hotel - all those bridges have steps. We got really good, however, at doing a quick-change between pushing and carrying (one on each side), and didn't have too many problems. Same setup for some cities' subway systems, if there's not an escalator at your stop, though many have elevators for the handicapped, elderly, or passengers with kids.
With a 16-mo old (especially an active one), it will be a bit tougher, and the flight may be the hardest part of the trip. But there's two of you, one of him, right? Trade off following him down the aisles to wear off energy and bring activities/books (DVD player?).
Florence is easy with kids - we did it last fall with 3 kids from 18 mo to 7 yrs. Just don't plan on doing everything at once. Most places in Florence are stroller-friendly. Plenty of plazas to let the kid run off steam, and hit the gelato stops Rick recommends.
Strollers also do a great job substituting for highchairs (uncommon at smaller restaurants). Plus, he'll probably doze off and sleep while you tour for at least some of the time - bring a light blanket that you can drape over the stroller to shade/insulate from distractions.
Strollers also work fine in most of the hill towns - one with bigger wheels will handle the cobbles better, though, and you'll get a workout pushing uphill at some of the steeper places (like Pienza).
Anyhow - go, go, go!
Always an Adventure
Living in Greece, USA Fri 05/12/2006
Carseats and Boosters in Scandinavia?
We are travelling to Scandinavia (Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland) this summer with our 3 children, ages 5, 10 and 12. They are all small, and the 5yo (39" and 30lbs) still rides in a carseat, and the 10yo in a booster.
We will be renting a car in Sweden/Denmark/Norway, and another in Iceland. We're going for a total of a month.
Neither child would use a seat in the airplane (the booster is not allowed, and the 5yo in a carseat in the plane just means he'll be kicking the back of the next seat).
So, we are trying to decide between checking them as baggage, renting then with the cars, or buying in Sweden, checking them for the one flight to Iceland, and then leaving them there.
I'm concerned that if we rent, we might find that the carseats available are not clean, safe or otherwise suitable. Also, if they charge per day, it will almost certainly be cheaper to buy than to rent.
We could schlep, but it just makes it that much harder to get everything from the car to the airport and from the airport to the car each time.
Also, I think Swedish seats are different (better) than American ones and run in different weight ranges, etc. If I just told the car rental people what my children's heights and weights are, would they probably get it right? Would they be likely to have boosters as well?
VT USA Wed 05/10/2006
Traveling with Baby can be hard on Parents
Perhaps a better way of thinking about whether or not to take your toddler/infant to Europe is to think about what kind of a traveler YOU are with baby in tow. My son & daughter in law feel pretty self-conscious when our granddaughter "screams" in public - and I mean the happy kind of screaming, not the crying kind. They feel pretty stressed taking her on a 2 hour flight north and have done a longer flight only because there were 4 other family members to help entertain a generally happy baby. Staying in a hotel, worried about waking others, sleeping with baby in the same room where you hear every little sniffle, and dealing with an East Coast/West Coast time change were all BIG challenges for them.
You have to deal with this kind of stuff when the kids are a little older as well but in general you can "bribe" a 5 year old to stay quiet if he's awake at the wrong time, and postpone a major meltdown with food, toys, and, most importantly - the ability to reason.
None of this matters if you don't have a choice - i.e. if the grandparents live in Europe or if you are traveling for an extended stay due to school/work. But if you are wondering whether or not to take a vacation and take your very young child with you and you realize that it will not be much of a "vacation" - then postpone this type of trip till they are older, or go by yourself and DON'T feel guilty. Son & Daughter-in-law enjoyed 5 days in London this past March while grandma enjoyed the baby!
USA Wed 05/10/2006
Tips on Toddler in Paris and London
My husband and I took our 2yr old son (27 months) on a 12 day trip to London and Paris. Here are a couple of helpful things I learned. 1. Don't worry about highchairs in London or Paris if you are going to stay in those cities. In only one of the many restaurants that we visited did they not have a highchair for our son. 2. Regarding flights, two things were very helpful: a VideoNow Jr, which played Blues Clues and Barney (although we did have a hard time finding it, and a DVD player would be its near equivalent) and Benadryl to help him sleep. It also helped to have an overnight flight. The flight back, during the day, was much hairier, but that was my own fault as I forgot the benadryl. 3. Take a lightweight stroller if you want to take advantage of the Metro or Tube. We bought one that folded compactly so one of us could carry it while the other would carry our son up and down the steps and to the underground trains. It was also a lifesaver while sightseeing. My son was happy to watch the new scenery and also slept in it well, as it had a reclining back (which I also highly suggest). 4. Almost all of the big sights allow strollers. The ones that did included (in London) the National Gallery, the grounds of Windsor Castle and the interior of the church, (in Paris) the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay, the Rodin Gardens, Napoleon's Tomb. The ones that did not were the state rooms of Windsor Castle, the inside of the Rodin Museum, and inside Versailles. 5. I would suggest buying your toddler a seat on the plane (which we were greatful that we did do) and on the Chunnel Eurostar train (which we did not and were sorry for). Our son had a great time. Sure, he may not remember it, but quality time with mom and dad is always appreciated by children.
Fort Wayne, IN USA Tue 05/09/2006
Gigi - PS
Gigi - ps - we took our Graco stroller that we use every day...complete with toys attached to tray - met so many other kis with those! Anyway - GODSEND! They took it from us at the door to the plane and brought up to us when we arrived...great for baby and other stuff carrying! Esp if running through airport:)
My son was never a sleeper in his stroller - but while at one of the Christmas mkts in Germany - he was out! We actually had beer and brats in Christmas mkt next to beautiful ice rink! Great time for us to chat and relax...gorgeous pix of him!!
Jet lag only a prob with him both times for 1-2 nights - early on...
Again - I say GO FOR IT!!:)
Chicago, USA Mon 05/08/2006
Gigi - GO!!
Gigi - Go for it! We took our son over the first time when he was 14 mos and the second time,this past Decdmber when he was 2 (almost 3). Dr. recommended Tylenol and/or Benadryl for the flight - but test Bendadryl 1st - some kids it makes hyper (as in mine!) but Tylenol did the trick and he did sleep for a few hours! I would also ask the Dr. about any immuniations - they pushed his Chicken pox shot ahead of our trip...apparently that can get in the air on flights...and have read here of kids who got them on way over. I would also say DVD player is key! We hadn't pulled out of O'hare and thing had already paid for itself! get the extra battery too if can! Any other little surprises he may enjoy - we gave son a small stuffed animal when we were taking off...still sleeps with him!
Our son was a little ambassador on both trips...1st trip, people actually asking us directions! He talks about Germany (December trip) almost every day he loved it...and people were sooo nice! I agree with other poster...can get most stuff over there, diapers, wipes...including a carseat with the rental car if needed!
You guys may need to trade off nap duty...but that has its advantages too!!:))
Go!!! Have fun!
Chicago, USA Mon 05/08/2006
Great places to stay in Paris with 2 boys!
We are Heading to Paris and Rothenburg, Germany in July. We are looking for a good hotel that is kid friendly and can sleep 2 adults and 2 boys, ages 6 and 10. Any help would be great!
Kennewick, WA USA Sun 05/07/2006
traveling with brand-new infants
My husband and I are insane people at times. Which is half the fun of being married to eachother. Once we went to England for the weekend (flying from the West coast of the US) for big event at his university; so that gives you an idea of our brand of crazy. We will probably be flying a few weeks after our first child is born (at Christmas-time) to England to visit his family and so all the relatives can meet the baby. (this is the very first grandchild/great grandchild) I would love to hear any advice about traveling with infants. We will be flying direct from Seattle on a night-flight which makes it a bit easier I understand. but what are the jet-lag effects upon an infant? I figure that at three weeks old, most infants have kind of crazy sleeping patterns. What is worth bringing and what should be left at home? We will be staying out in the country-side on the family estate so a lack of room isn't so much an issues as is trying to not look like sherpas when we are traveling.
Seattle, WA USA Fri 05/05/2006
Easiest with children who are older
We took our 10 and 14 year old children to France. They loved it. We read about Impressionist painters and learned about the geography before we went so they were able to better relate to what they saw. It would be harder with smaller children with strollers, etc. especially in a large city like Paris with metro staircases and more crowds. Children's menus were extremely limited (steak hachee and frites) but we often ordered an appetizer for my daughter who loves salads and then she helped me with my meal. That way they were tasting regional specialities as well. There are lots of sandwich shops and there is always pizza or some type of pasta. Plan to hit the key art works in a museum so that you see them first and then exit when the kids get antsy. Other highlights included: the Pont du Gard (south of France), Nice, climbing Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower as well as a boat ride on the Seine at night. Your children (if old enough) will learn to be more open-minded through travel.
Haverhill, MA USA Fri 05/05/2006
I say YES- Travel with your children!
Travel with your children! Don't hesitate to take them. Would you rather change diapers in Paris or at the neighborhood park... you still have to do it as a parent... so why not make it an adventure! I have traveled to Europe with my 3 children (my oldest is 6) 9 times. I think that if you start traveling with them while they are young they will be great travelers. Sure it is more work for you. If you want to make a family vacation- take your child(ren). If you want a romantic getaway- then don't. I would not trade the memories and photos of our family travels in Europe for anything.... p.s.- Italy is one of my favorite places to take children. You can buy anything you need. Don't overpack.
A citizen of the world
USA Thu 05/04/2006
Delay taking kids to Europe (if possible)
GiGi-got to agree with previous poster. My son was not a good traveller until he was 5. I can't imagine trying to contain him on a night flight - 4 hours cross country was enough. I also found it very hard to sleep with my little ones in the same room, so staying in hotels, even family friendly ones, was stressful for me. Best vacations when kids were so little was driving to the beach where we could stay in a condo with a separate room for the kids.
When my husband & I took our first Europe trip together the youngest was 3. My mom came to stay with the kids and really loved the "alone time". It was a great marriage booster for us and we did alone trips several times over the next few years. When the youngest was 9 we took our first family trip to Europe and it was great. We've done a big trip every year since then. You can certainly do this trip - I know that many (on this page) do take toddlers with them to Europe. It is just that there is nothing wrong with delaying the experience a little bit to make it easier on you!
Atlanta, GA USA Wed 05/03/2006
GiGi- We waited to take our kids to Europe until they were between 9 and 11 years old. Get a sitter or leave your child with grandparents. Learn to love Europe yourself, then when they are of an age to appreciate it more, take them. 16 months is just WAY too young.
USA Tue 05/02/2006
Travel with 16 month old in Italy
We are planning on a trip to Florence & surrounding areas in September....I am having second thoughts. I have purchased a Sit-n-Stroll, but may return it. I am concerned that there is just TOO much to pack for him, that he will 'melt-down' on the plane (even if it IS a night flight), and that there are just too many unknowns....any advice either way would be appreciated! Thank You!!
Houston, TX USA Tue 05/02/2006
I have no idea where you would rent a carseat, but for a trip of any length, buying an inexpensive (but safety tested/approved) carseat is usually cheaper than renting from a car hire agency. You can then drop it off at a church on your way out. Also, if you're hopping from Belgium, why not just toss it in a bag and check it (even if you're on RyanAir, the baggage fee will probably be less than renting/buying one). The same might go for the babycot, though most hotels and many B&Bs/Pensions have them available for free anyhow.
Depending on the age of the child, a blanket placed on the floor and surrounded by couch cushions works also.
Always an Adventure
USA Tue 05/02/2006
Hiring baby equipment in Ireland
Hello, Does anybody know where we can rent a car seat and a crib when we go to Ireland on vacation this summer with our 1 year old? We fly into Dublin ... and we are borrowing a friend's car there, so we can't hire the stuff from a car hire company. Many thanks
Brussels, Belgium Belgium Sun 04/30/2006
Europe with Infants
We have travelled with our kids at all ages with few problems.
Our oldest's first trip to Europe and back was about the same length of trip you're talking about with a 10 month old, but she was an easy baby, solo with Mom.
Since then, we've made numerous cross-country, cross-Europe, and US-Europe trips with few problems, and kids as young as 1 week.
Expect that the trip may be much less tiring for the baby than for you.
For infants, expect that you will be walking a lot, and for toddlers, expect that they will want to walk, so you will be walking with them a lot.
We have always purchased a seat for each child, and up through toddler age have brought an airline-approved carseat. We find that the kids find this more "normal" and settle down much more easily (and actually sleep).
For descents, breastfeeding (or a bottle) is the trick to keep the ears equalized.
Note on this, however: Most european carriers do not allow carseats. We have gotten around this in some, not all, instances by being firm but polite and showing the airline-approval sticker. But even then, we have had attendants insist that the baby sit on our lap with a "infant seatbelt" (the seatbelt demonstrator looped under your seatbelt and around the child) because it was "safer."
I would HIGHLY recommend trying a baby sling - kangarookorner.com makes some great ones. This is THE WAY to get a small infant around on airplanes, trains, and the hills, cobblestones and steps of European cities. We use a stroller when we can, but find that the sling is much easier. If you get one in something other than pink and blue bunnies, it draws fewer stares when your husband is wearing it. We had one in a muted plaid and would swap it back and forth to share the load.
Yet another plug for breastfeeding - so much more convenient than finding/mixing/warming formula, and with a sling you can do it inconspicuously.
Always and Adventure
Americans in Greece, USA Sun 04/23/2006
Kids in Spain
Over Spring Break, we took our 4- and 6-year old for 9 days through Spain. It helped taking my parents and brother/sister-in-law! The more hands the better! We also took a DVD player with us that made some of the down time in the rental van so much easier to deal with. It also helped on the plane when the movies didn't match their taste.
Travelling with the kids was fantastic, and allowed us to see everything through their eyes. The favorite part (for everyone!) was staying in the paradour in Siguenza. It was absolutely incredible and the kids especially loved playing knight and princess. It also had the best breakfast of our entire trip. A huge buffet with both Spanish and American-type food. They even had the hide-a-bed couch already made up for us when we got lost and arrived well after 10pm!
Big tip: Be sure and let them just run a little every day. And it helped me just to take in some of the daily life around me.
Denton, TX USA Sun 04/23/2006
Time change and kids
How do young kids handle the time change when flying east? We'll be traveling from the US East Coast to Europe (4 days in Paris, and then off to Eastern Europe) this May with our 20-month-old daughter. Any tips? Thank you!
Newton, ma USA Tue 04/18/2006
Flight with 2 month old
We're planning on a trip with our infant to Germany and Italy. We're actually thinking of going in just 3 weeks time, when she's not quite 3 months old. We've found a non-stop flight to Frankfurt, but the "good" flight back at the good fare is no longer available, so we're looking at a flight with 19 hours of travel time (we're on the west coast) A 10 hour flight to Philadelphia, 2 hour flight to O'Hare, and 4 hour flight to PDX. This is versus a 2 hour flight to Frankfurt, and a 10 hour flight to PDX...would appreciate any comments and helpful tips. We prefer to go now versus our original plan of October becuase she's smaller and more portable now...but we are a bit concerned on the plane travel time. It's a total of 6 hours more, 4 in the air, 2 on the ground, but she's a pretty good baby, likes to be held, sleeps often, and has few really fussy times (usually only when she can't get herself to sleep-which means we have to bounce her or walk with her)
Shelton, WA USA Tue 04/18/2006
A fabulous place to stay in Tuscany with the Kids
I have been living in Germany for over 5 years and and have traveled all around Europe with our 3 children (1,3,8). While it definitely becomes more challenging, the more and younger your children are, it is definitely still doable.
If you have young children like ours, we find it much more relaxing to stay in the countryside and only do day trips into the cities.
Our favorite destination is Tuscany. Great vistas, great food & most importantly - they LOVE children! We particulary love staying at Villa Fiona (www.villafiona.it) located in the countryside at the edge of the tiny village of Vicopisano (20 mintues from Lucca & Pisa).
Kids and parents both have a good time. Maggie (she's Irish so obviously speaks English perfectly), Giaciamo & their young son, Simon, are overly accomodating. Our kids like going there because they can run off to play with Simon outside or in a makeshift play area, watch Disney cartoons (in English) when the weather is not cooperating, and eat Cheerios for breakfast.
We, the parents, like it because it is such a small place and can feel comfortable about our children running around. They have all the baby essentials (we stay in the large family room which has plenty of space). However, by far, the largest advantage for us is that we can put the children to bed, bring down the baby monitor, and our hosts will cook for us a wonderful dinner that we can enjoy in peace. It's like having a date night without the cost of the sitter.
We have stayed there 3 times and plan to go back next Month.
US Army, Germany, USA Tue 04/18/2006
Anyone know how to rent a baby crib in Italy?
I'm staying in Tuscany this summer for three weeks with my twin two year olds. The villa we rented only has one crib available & I need two. Does anyone know if there is a place where you can rent baby equipment (like at the shore)?
Kintnersville, Pa USA Wed 04/12/2006
Say NO to strollers & prams
We traveled to England and France with our three kids, also using Rick's books as well as Take Your Kids To Europe. We were stopped often in subways in both Paris and London as folks marvelled at our REI (US outdoor-product stores)purchase of a combo stroller-backpack made by Kelty. This baby backpack transforms in seconds to a stroller - we hiked up and down countless stairs, subway tunnels and the often-found park gravel path by easily switching between backpack and stroller modes. We purchased a sun-shade and a storage area (which held lots) as well.
I can say that this one item, along with long-term home swaps, made our travel experience truly perfect!
I just checked with REI online and they are no longer carrying this item - check with Kelty backpacks, I think they are located in Santa Barbara, CA.
Bay Area, CA USA Tue 04/11/2006
Amsterdam With Kids
Staying on a real houseboat in Amsterdam was one of my kids' favorite parts of Europe. They are safe and much more interesting than a plain hotel room. While in Amsterdam take your kids (all ages) to Tun Fun located under Mr. Visserplein across from the Museum of Film (tram 14). It's a huge (absolutely massive!!) underground play area with seperate areas for each age group (1-12). Chuck E. Cheese is nothing compared to this! Be prepared, once they get there, they'll never want to leave.
Ramstein, Germany Sat 04/08/2006
Fun things to do in Italy for a 11 yr. old
We will be in Italy from May 9th to June 8th. Rome, Florence,Siena,Lucca, Assisi,Cinque Terre,and cortona. I have a 11yr. old daughter. She will love all that we see, and do. She's a great traveler. I do want to do things also that are very special for an 11 yr. old. she would love to see a puppet show, or a music theater. Any ideas's??? Thank you for your help
Duncan, BC Canada Sat 04/08/2006
Dana, Take enough for the flight and the first day or two. We took our ten month old to Italy and had no trouble finding food,formula and Pampers.COOP supermarkets had everything.
Have a great trip.
Cherry Hill, NJ USA Mon 04/03/2006
Baby food in Italy
Looking for information on buying baby food while in Italy. Is it worth it for me to bring my own jar of food?
Boston, MA USA Fri 03/31/2006
London and Paris with children
My wife and I have just returned from a month in Europe, travelling with our children (ages 1 and 3). We were prepared for a few challenges, but it turned out to be a fantastic experience.
We found virtually everyone we met to be helpful, courteous and polite, especially in Paris. I don't know too much about the US, but French people to us seemed very much like Australians- polite, friendly, perhaps slightly formal. It was just a question of treating others as you would like to be treated.
Flying from Australia, we travelling for 23 hours from Sydney via Kuala Lumpur to London. Stayed in London for a week and then flew on with Easyjet (29 pounds each) for two weeks in Paris. We were fortunate to have plenty of spare seats and a baby cot for the children to sleep on. Other than that we kept them entertained by walking round the plane (the 1 year old) and watching TV (the three year old). The cabin crew (Malaysian Airlines) were fantastic. We were careful to ensure our children didn't disturb the other passengers.
We travelled with a double pram. After a few days of getting used to hauling it up and down the stairs of the Underground we got used to it, and overall we were very glad we took it. Paris was marginally easier because the Metro doesn't have as many steps. In both cities plenty of people stopped to help us, even during rush-hour. To reduce our reliance of trains, we walked a lot. Our three year old has walked from Oxford Circus, down Picadilly and Regent St to Buckingham Palace, and from Clignancourt in Paris' north-east suburbs all the way down via Montmatre to Opera. We took it slow, and stopped often for him to look at interesting things.
We also planned plenty of fun stuff for our children. We took our three year old son to St James' Palace so he could stand right next to a soldier, who stands guard on the street rather than behind a fence like they do at Buckingham Palace. We took him to the Science Museum, which has plenty of hands-on activities, to Windsor Castle (soldiers again), on country walks through fields (a little bit of snow) and to Hamley's (world's biggest toy store). In Paris he saw the world's first steam engine (he has a train obsession), a castle in a country town, went on a carousel, park play equipment and a pony ride. I would strong recommend the Jardine de Luxembourg, where we hired him a toy boat and he ran around the pond with lots of French kids pushing it with a stick.
Travelling with children we met plenty of French families, and had stacks of fund times. We were amazed at how much both children learnt and how much more confident they are.
We loved Europe so much we're planning to move to London. But that's another story.
If you're thinking about it, don't put it off - do it. Take it easy, don't try to squash too much in, and above all, have fun!
Sydney, NSW Australia Thu 03/30/2006
More on the Paris Slam
By the time our son turned one he had been to five countries. Obviously he won't be discussing his travels when he's 20, but a young child's mind is constantly forming during the early years, so it makes sense that travel will be a huge part of who he is. Also, travel makes you closer to your kids. After all, you're stuck with them in very close quarters for much of that time. Spending time with your kids is always a wonderful thing, so go for it. Your kids may not remember the details but they will love the experience of hanging out with mom and dad and in turn will be just that much happier overall. Also, I found most people very responsive to our baby and he got to see lots of smiles from many different people. How cool is that?
Genoa, NV USA Wed 03/22/2006
travel with children
The best thing that has happened to our family and our children is traveling together. All three of our children have traveled with us since infancy. They are now 8, 10 and 12 and have gone abroad somewhere every year of their life. 2 years ago we went to Europe, rented a car, and wenth through Germany, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Italy and France in 6 weeks - and they still remember every detail of this trip. We find that this has been the best educational experience they have had. We realize that they learn so much more in one month of travel than they do all year. They are involved in the country selection, where we take out maps, and then in selecting the routes we will take and reserving the places we will stay - looking at internet sites of hotels and travel guides - lessons in geography are automatic. Simultaneously, as we prepare our budgets for lodging, food, transportation, activities, etc., while figuring the exchange rates, they also learn math skills, in a very concrete way (applying all they theory they learned in school all year). They also learn about history, culture, art as we visit museums, ruins, castles, etc. and read up on the history of each. Their perspectives are expanded and their lives enriched, not to mention the added closeness it brings as they create memories with their parents. We keep our children involved in every decision and consult their opinion. Establish guidelines and stick to them, (i.e."if you do not stop fighting in the car, there will be no swimming in the pool when we arrive") and follow through. Take plenty of pictures - so that they do not forget, and have them keep a travel journal, which in addition to helping them keep their memories, reflect on their days of travel, it also provides a good down time before bedtime each night away from home. They are only young once, and our time with them on this earth is so short. Take them - absolutely!
Mims, Florida USA Mon 03/20/2006
RE: Paris with kids slam
A few years ago Frommer (himself) in his magazine made a similar comment (why take kids, they won't remember, etc). He was inundated with criticism because of it (thankfully). The grinch is alive and well, apparently. Just because an adult perceives and remembers things differently than a child does not make his perceptions and experiences (or memories) any more or less valuable. I have been taking grandchildren with me, to Ireland, UK and next year to Italy or France since they were just under 5. They do not remember the same things I do, because they were not important to them, but they do remember very specific things that mattered to them. At the very least, they will not have the tunnel vision your critic seems to have - who only appreciates his limited adult point of view. On our recent (3/06) trip to London, 5-year-old Brendan developed the charming notion of his lisp as being his personal accent, because he has now experienced that everyone "has an accent".
Pottstown, PA USA Sat 03/18/2006
Cheap public transport, good eats - London
2 transport tips - adults can get a day travelcard -all zones for under 8 pounds (less for limited zones) if you get off-peak (only means don't start traveling until 9:30, then good for the rest of the day), and each child costs just 1 pound with an adult. BUT if you take buses, since 9/05 kids under 16 travel free on all buses (and trams in areas that have them) in London. Second, it used to be awful finding places that were kid-tolerating let alone kid-friendly in London. There is a great place called Giraffe. If you can get to their website and color a downloaded page, the artist gets a free fruit smoothie. Food is great, organic, no fast burgers here, low impact international ("Modern European"). Popular with 20 and 30 somethings. This is a chain in about 9 locations throughout London, web www.giraffe.net/home.html. It can be hectic at times. There is a Giraffe on south bank near the London Eye. Head east beyond the Eye, under the bridge, waterside to a strip of shops, Giraffe is at the far end (Royal Festival Hall area). We made a day of the Big Bus to the tower, saw the jewels, took the free boat ride back to the London Eye area, had lunch at Giraffe then rode the Eye. By the time we got back to our hotel, they (age 5 and 11) were exhausted and happy.
Pottstown, PA USA Sat 03/18/2006
Paris with small children
I posted a question on the "Helpline" board a couple of months ago about traveling to Paris with two young children. I got some helpful responses via email but do you believe that someone went out of their way to send me this email:
why take kids that young to paris? it annoys other passengers/etc. and the kids won't remember the trip at all. no offense, but not a good idea.
USA Sat 03/18/2006
Traveling with large family
Though we don't have 6 kids, we did go to Italy with our 4 (ages 10-23). I'm not sure what you'll have to do for transportation as we were pretty squished into a "mini van" with the 6 of us plus luggage. This mini van was smaller than what I consider a US minivan to be. One suggestion I do have, that worked well for us, is to do at least part of your trip in a self-catering/agritourismo. Another family of 6 traveled the same time we did and did the same thing. We rented part of a "villa" in the Tuscany area that had 3 bedrooms, kitchen, living area & pool. We were a short drive from the train station and then 30 minutes to Florence. We used the car for day trips and it wasn't too bad without the luggage. The self catering on a per night basis was cheaper than multiple hotel rooms. We also liked being able to go to the market and buy breakfast items and even dinner one night and eat at home. Since we were traveling during the summer, the pool was great for everyone after an early morning start on the sightseeing. We have used self catering accomodations even when we only travel with the younger 2 children in both France and England. The kids like having their own "room" and it really made us feel like locals.
Atlanta, GA USA Thu 03/16/2006
Advice for large family in Italy (6 children, ages 8-17)
Our kids are good travelers and we've been to Europe before and know what to expect, but never all of us together. We're finding the logistics of the number and size of hotel rooms and rental car vs train/bus to be more challenging. Also, the costs add up fast when everything is multiplied by 8 (no surprise, but a fact of life). We're stumbling through this and I know it will turn out great, but would appreciate some lessons learned or resources from others that have been there and done that....
San Antonio, TX USA Wed 03/15/2006
Does anyone know of a Medieval Banquet in London?
My 4 yo is fascinated with knights and we thought a medievel banquet would be great. It was mentioned in this site but no detailed info was provided. If anyone has some info it would be greatly appreciated!
Huntington, NY USA Wed 03/15/2006
Child Friendly FRANCE!
I would recommend you bring your children to Dordogne France as a wonderful family vacation, that is educational as well! We have 2 self catering fully equipped houses to rent. It is lower in cost, and the children are happier (they can watch a movie and eat cereal at the same time!). You can take them to all the historic sites, castles, medieval villages, musuems, prehistoric sites, caves, and then relax at the pool in the countryside. Our children LOVE to have others come to play, ride bikes, swim, or pet the horses! American family can help you get the most of your vacation! www.lesgitesfleuris.com
Berkeley, CA USA Fri 03/10/2006
Not always good that toddler sleeps on flight
A different perspective on children sleeping most of the flight on overseas flights...if your child sleeps longer than a nap, he/she will arrive rested and awake and unless you too have slept a lot, you will have to take care of an awake child unless you have someone to take care of him/her on the arrival side.
We've flown between California & Germany 3 times with our baby now 15 months. We used to hope that she'd sleep the whole flight but since we can't sleep much on the flight we find that it's better that she's up too so that when we arrive we can all crash.
Sometimes she's been quiet and easy on the flight, other times she's cried a lot and been hard to entertain. But husband and I can't sleep well on planes, we are so exhausted and thankful that baby is just as ready as us to sleep.
berlin, germany Wed 03/01/2006
We actually took a limo to the airport (Cheaper than a cab for us here!) anyway - they were able to provide a carseat! In Munich, we didn't get our car for a few days...the Cab Co. we called in Munich the night before we were getting the car...also was able to provide a booster seat (our guy was almost 3).
I don't know about Paris...but maybe check with Cab/Shuttle Co's in your area ahead of time...they maybe able to provide...
Chicago, Il USA Tue 02/28/2006
taxi / shuttle without a carseat?
My husband and I will be travelling with our 4 month old... we do not plan to bring a car seat. Is it leagal in Paris (from CDG airport to city, and around city) to ride in a taxi without a car seat?
Then we're taking a train from Paris to Laussanne, Switz. Again, are taxis in Laussane, Switz ok to ride without a carseat?
... how about the US, California airport shuttles... how to get from our parked car to the terminal without the carseat? Is this legal (if not, can it be done anyway?) Flying from SFO.
Santa Cruz, CA USA Tue 02/28/2006
I would recommend NOT taking the carseat on the plane. Not only can you get one over there - at that age they are almost too big for one on the plane...ie: kicking the seat in front of them. We spent 10 days in Germany in December with our almost 3 year old- we rented the carseat with our car and it worked out GREAT! On the plane we had stuff for him to do - and he slept 3 1.2 hrs on the way there and 4 on the way home. Didn't run around too much either..which for him was rare! Will say....DVD player was a life saver! As was the case we carried only the discs in...even threw in some for us!
Spare yourself more to cart - get it over there!:)
Chicago, IL USA Tue 02/28/2006
Museums in Florence
Museums in Florence: I took my kids to Florence this past fall and I am not sure I would do it again. However, if you are going there with children, I have a couple of suggestions. #1- to see the David statue in the Academia museum. Thisis a small museum and fairly easy to do with children. I took drawing paper and pencil for each of my children and had them draw there own "David". They really liked that. I also bought some of the David playing cards and we played Go Fish while my brother studied the statue. The binoculars were a hit too...the statue is pretty large. #2. For the Uffizi, they don't like children in there...I was getting dirty looks from, what I call, the museum police. But, I did a couple of games that helped control them some that I read about in a book. Before going into the museum, I bought some postcards of 6 of the paintings that can be found inside. Then I gave each of my kids 3 and they were to go on a "Treasure Hunt" to find the paintings to match the postcard. We also played, "I Spy"...I spy a naked baby, I spy an angel...etc....then they would have to find the picture with that object. #3. Ricks picnic suggestion...we tried this in the piazze signoria and the "Food Police wouldn't let us sit down anywhere to eat our picnic...it was raining and we tried to eat in the Loggia...not allowed...so we had to eat out in the rain under our umbrella. If I were to do it again, I would rent one of those farm villas in the Tuscany countryside and do a quick day trip into Florence. Siena was a delight with children!!
Germany Tue 02/28/2006
bring yourself a shirt
One person suggested bringing spare clothing (at least shirts) for young children in case they spill. I suggest you bring a spare shirt for mommy and daddy too. Nothing more fun than having your three year old spill soda all over the front of your shirt and you have to wear it for the next 12 hours. ;-)
Vacaville, CA USA Sat 02/25/2006
traveling with teens
As a single mom, I just finished London with three teens--two girls, 17, 15, and a son, 13. They loved Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross, Abbey Road--for pictures and a line up...The London Eye, though everyone raved about it, the kids thought was ok--but then the visibility was limited. The British Museum was a plus, and as mentioned by Rick Steves book there was little interest in Westminster Abbey. We saw "Blood Brothers," and they really liked it. The "Medieval Banquet" which I thought was cheesey and expensive, the kids loved. But get there early--on time--so you get front row seats...As with Paris, they liked the ease of using the Underground. The girls loved tea--and though expensive, was worthwhile at Kensington Gardens with the Princess Diana photography exhibit. Now, 2/2006, everything is expensive, and as the tourbook says, consider the pound equal to one dollar...Their best trip yet!
mattituck, new york USA Sat 02/25/2006
Traveling with kids
My husband and I are debating if we should bring a car seat on the airplane for our 3 year old on a flight to London. We will be renting a car later and can reserve a car seat if necessary. Anyone have any ideas/experiences with this?
Shoreline, WA USA Sun 02/19/2006
TIPS / FLYING WITH YOUNG CHILDREN
we live in Europe but travel back to relatives on both coasts once/twice a year ...
BOOKING FLIGHT: If you are flying from the West Coast and can't get a direct flight - then try you're best to get the International part of the flight as far 'west' as possible (LAX, SFO and Denver have good hubs) ... this will cut down actual flight time (actual time in air - not transfer time!) down about 2 hours (say, if you fly first to Atlanta, DC, NY...) and the planes are bigger (two aisles vs. 1 aisle) better equipped (in seat DVD - Game consules / foot rests) & better service - no paying for a sack lunch!
Most Eastbound flights are night flights - kids sleep - but get a 'short' night and may be grumpy ... I don't use it but it might be good to have them get a good sleep with the cough medicine method ... try getting some sleep yourself!
the Westbound flights - they are awake and need to be kept busy - so use those consules & activity books / games for travel.
WE LOVE the SOFT LUNCHBOXES! (old navy, target - en masse at 'back to school' days)
My kids each have a roller carry on - they fill them with soft lunchboxes (one for coloring activities, one for games...) I fill one with our travel medications and used one when they were in diapers (kept 3 diapers, creams, travelsize baby wipes, and a changing table pad (Target) - it was easier to grab and handle when carry baby to the 'changing' bathroom - I kept another 5 diapers ready to replenish in a ziploc. We also fill a lunchbox with travel socks, and a an extra outfit (at least shirts - if they spill on themselves) and a hairbrush.
Have kids use the toilets before meals are served - there's usually a line forming afterwards!
Bring a sport bottle or sipper - spills are eminent if they use those wide brimmed airplane cups! (Do not fill with any carbonated drinks) Also storable in the pouch (vs. table)
Make sure they drink enough - but be sure to thin down any juice with bottled water - esp. if child is in diapers - I always apply a thicker layer of diapercream for airline travel. One of the Airbus planes - I forget which one - has a super big bathroom located in the middle - ask stewerd staff which lavatory they reccommend for parents with kids prior to take off so you know where to go when they need to go!
Enjoy your trip!
Erpel, GERMANY Sat 02/18/2006
FUN SOUVENIR FOR KIDS
If you are touring Europe with your kids consider this fun souvenir collectable:
FLOATY PENS (or whatever they are called!)
those pens with filled with liquid - that have something moving when tipped! There's at least one for every major city in Europe & depict a landmark (usually in a container next to cash registers in souvenir/post card shops) ... they are functional and fun! Back home the kids can place their pens in a penholder on their desks (maybe you can get creative and use postcards or pictures to craft something unique!).
Erpel, Germany Sat 02/18/2006
Travel With Kids I live in Europe. Most American Children behave much better than European Children. Parents, don't worry and bring your kids! Kathleen US Forces Germany, USA 02/07/2006
USA Thu 02/16/2006
DON'T treat your children like small adults in all ways. Be aware that you will need to tailor your trip slightly in order to accomdate their physical needs so they don't end up in a meltdown. This doesn't mean you need to plan to only see kiddie attractions and actually leads to some fun strategies such as: 1) plan for resting during the day - this is a must for even my teenagers - it makes us all happier to sit through a nice long dinner and to get up early the next morning to avoid crowds 2) tell yourself you will be back so it is NOT necessary to spend 4 hours at the Louvre. Scale back, hit the highspots, do only 1-2 hours of museum type touring at one time before you take a break - both with food (keep them hydrated, eat lots of gelato & good european chocolate) and outdoor breaks (the wonderful European parks are just as important a part of your trip as the indoor museums and a swim at the local beach can be a very "eye-opening" experience). 3)Let them look for and collect a cool souvenier (trolls in Norway) from each major stop. 4) Try different forms of transportation - sleeping on trains/ferries was a big hit for our 9 year old. 5) Stay a minimum of 2-3 days in each place and try to arrange a longer stay in one place where you can have an apartment or other self-catering accomodation. It is really nice to have a place for kids to call "home" so you don't have to go to a restaurant every night - it is also part of the slow down and get to know a place philosophy that works especially well with families. 6)Find out ahead of time which drugs work to put your kid to sleep - mine use Benadryl and Dramamine - NO ONE should be running up and down the aisles on a night flight.
Having said all this I have to add this caveat - we did not take the kids to Europe till the youngest was 9 and traveling North America was difficult unitl he was 5. Unless you have a compelling reason to go (i.e. family in Europe) put off major travel of any sort with a child too young to reason with. Much as I love my 18 mo old graddaughter I would dread being on the night flight with her to London - we'll see how she does when she is about 4 and consider taking her then.
USA Mon 02/13/2006
Kids to Egypt?
Anyone here ever travel with kids to Egypt? We're looking at a week (leaving from Greece) in Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan, using the train between (overnight compartment Cairo-Luxor and Aswan-Cairo).
- Greece Sat 02/11/2006
More of a question here for those who have gone before - My family is very interested in an extended trip to Ireland. One of the key attractions for this trip is traditional music in local pubs. We've heard information that seems to conflict with this objective: music doesn't start in the pub until about 10 p.m. and children aren't allowed in pubs after 9 p.m. What's the reality? My kids are well behaved travellers and we have taken them to diverse nighttime activities in places such as San Francisco and "Gambols" at Colonial Williamsburg; so I'm sure they're up for the experience. Is it unaccompanied children who must vacate pubs? Is it a rules which is even observed at all? OR should we put off this trip until they are no longer "children"? If so what age would allow them to experience this activity? Thanks in advance for your responses.
Boiling Springs, PA, 17007 USA Tue 02/07/2006
Travel With Kids
I live in Europe. Most American Children behave much better than European Children. Parents, don't worry and bring your kids!
US Forces Germany, USA Tue 02/07/2006
Travel with little ones
I think that it's terrific when children can experience and appreciate Europe or any travel experience with their parents. I really believe that it boils down to the parents and how the parents set expectations, set boundaries, and manage the travel process. I also have been in the situation where unmannered children...er, children spawned from parents who have no clue about appropriate social behavior...have ruined the meal, flight, trip to the store, or site. In fact, my first reaction to the previous poster's post was "Amen, Brother!" However, when I really stopped to consider it..I've traveled hundreds of thousands of miles and I can count on one hand the number of child-meltdown situations that were really above and beyond the normal "child meltdown". . In fact, my husband and I love to entertain fellow traveler's children on planes and in lines. We're not parents *yet*, but we have 29 nieces and nephews.so we're pros!
So, ultimately, I can understand the sentiment behind the previous poster's frustration, although it was written in a pretty inflammatory manner.
I guess my advice to dealing with a situation where a child - or really, let's be honest, an adult - has really reached the end of what you are able to deal with is to talk to the flight attendant, manager, etc. It's really their job to deal with the comfort of the passenger/guest and if it's really that bad, they've already noticed. A pointed glance or sympathetic smile to the parent is usually all that it takes.
Everyone's a little off kilter when they are traveling - I know that I have much less patience because I'm worried about missing my connection, forgetting something on the plane, watching potential terrorists, being tired, being nervous, etc. Maybe this discussion would really be better served by a dialogue between parents and non-parents about how to make travel more WONDERFUL (if possible) for others?
Columbus, oh USA Mon 02/06/2006
Cut me a break
First of all my children are very well behaved. I actually receive numerous comments about how well they behave in public. I have been a parent for 13 years and received positive comments, over and over, about how well behaved they are so we are not talking about MY children. WE are talking about children n general. I agree, as I stated earlier, that children should be monitiored by adults, but they also should be able to get a bit of slack from grown-ups if they are crying on airplane(ears hurt possibly?) or skip down the concourse after a 7 hour flight. Goodness!
My children are very welcome in europe by europeans by my childrens family and their friends in various countries. They have been there a few times and we get phone calls and letters from these same family and friends asking us when we can come back and STAY with THEM. So if anything, I think my little ol'family is giving Americans a GOOD name.
The tone of your first post was extremely nasty...read it again. Who mentioned "brats"?
Kids travel. Kids travel to europe for a variety of reasons. All just important as your 20th annivesary. Adjust your expectations to something more realistic and maybe you won't be so disappointed next time.
Newtown, PA USA Mon 02/06/2006
While I don't like when kids run around without any adult supervision, give kids and their parents a break. Traveling is tiring for everyone, especially children who don't always fully comprehend what is going on. After a 7 or 8 hour flight to Europe who doesn't want to run around and scream in the airport? It would be great if we could all get our kids to let off some steam in a adult appropriate manor it is not always possible...so please give the kids and their parents a bit of a break and try to remember what it was like when you were raising your own children or when YOU were a child. and don't forget Europe is full of european children so there won't be a break there.
My 3 children and my husband and I are going to Europe in April to visit our family and friends. We will NOT be leaving our kids behind nor are we staying home....perhaps you should vacation next time in an adult community?
Newtown, PA USA Mon 02/06/2006
Leave Attitude At Home
Not everyone travels to Europe for the same reasons. Maybe you need a kid-free resort for your next trip.
Our best places to stay were pensions or chambre d'hotes. One even had two young girls and a dog. Our toddler was in heaven! It's a great time to explore the countryside instead of the big cities.
SANTA CRUZ , ca USA Sat 02/04/2006
Ken - are you referring to rooms listed as a "quad"? This means it will sleep 4 people - either 2 double beds or 1 double and 2 singles. The 1 double/2 single is also sometimes referred to as a "family room" becaue it is suitable for a family to stay without having kids in the same bed. Be aware - when you book a "double" this is not usually the same as in the States where you can have 2 double beds (thereby sleeping 4 people). A double is usually that - a room with one double bed (not even a queen!). When I email b & b's, I always describe my family i.e. "we are a family of 4 - 2 adults and 2 children" and ask what accomodations they have that would suit us. Sometimes they offer me a "family room" that wasn't listed on their website. If they are able to roll in another bed or two they just charge a little extra and we can all stay together. Otherwise they will tell me if there are 2 double beds in the room or if there is a room with an adjoining room, etc.
USA Wed 01/25/2006
4 bed-rooms or 4 bedrooms?
My family is planning a trip to Germany and Italy this summer. We have two boys, ages 7 & 10. Does anyone have experience to share that would tell me if a "4 bed room" room is actually just 4 beds in a room or 4 bedrooms? I'm trying to figure out if I can bet by with 3 beds or if I have to find a place that has 4.
Woodridge, IL USA Wed 01/25/2006
ideas for toddlers and older
We have also travelled with our 3 year old since she was a couple months old. One of my favorites are the little pots (party favor size) of play dough. I was lucky enough to find mini cookie cutters in a dollar store's toy section, they are about the size of my thumb nail. This can keep her busy for an hour at least, whether in a restaurant, on the plane etc. I also travel with an "art kit" that I put together. It fits into a zippered pencil pouch. I have mini everything in it: markers, pencils, paper, glue stick, colored pencils, water color paints and a tape dispenser. Target carried alot of these items in their dollar bins awhile back. I am always on the lookout for tiny duplicates of my daughters favorite art supplies. Hope this helps.
Minneapolis, MN USA Mon 01/23/2006
kids are great -give them a chance
I have been traveling with my 4 children since they were infants. Yes, it is challenging, would I change it, not a chance. tips of advise for parents traveling with small children (mine are teenagers now). #1- buy something new for them on the plane ride going and something new returning. I used to do coloring books or even a different game. Keeps them occupied on the flights. #2- Reward them at either your destination or layover with a treat or something for good behavior on the plane. We like ice cream. #3 - Something I learned accidentally when my oldest daughter was a toddler and was sick while flying. I had given her cough medicine one hour before departure and she slept the entire flight. Some kids are bothered by the noise of the plane, It helped alot. #4 - Get the kids up extra early before a flight. They can fall asleep on the plane. #5- Let the kids run around on your layovers. Play games whatever, but something or they will be antsy on your next flight. #6 Traveling with infants.If you can, buy an electric kettle. I boiled water for formula and drinks. Even for instant oatmeal in the mornings. It saved me when I traveled with my infant son(3weeks old). I bought it when I arrived and left it when I left. Worth every penny. #7-No matter the age, each child carries a small bakpack for travel. all toys and items they want on the plane are in there. Only rule, they have to be able to carry it. #8 - Extra pair of socks for the planes, so kids can take off their shoes and be warm.
Hope my tips are helpful. Happy Travels.
San Clemente, USA Mon 01/23/2006
Our nephew has severe peanut allergies, and he's done quite a bit of traveling overseas. Notify the airline of his needs, take Benadryl, the epi pen, etc., as well as a copy of the prescription in case you get stopped at security. Then read labels and give lots of fresh fruit for snacks. It's also a good idea to take some snacks of your own.
NC USA Sun 01/22/2006
Travel with children - general
Our (now) seven year-old daughter has accompanied us on all our travel adventures since she was just days old, and has become quite the hardy little inter-continental traveler. Last year, she managed a 17 hour flight, including layovers and no sleep to the Dutch West Indies and did absolutely fine. No complaining on the plane, no crying and no meltdowns thankfully. Just remember as parents, it's our responsibility to try and plan ahead as much as we can for activities and things to interest our children, but there will always be people around, no matter what country, who simply do not like being around kids and their "behaviours." I can't offer advice or apologies to any such people, other than to say that my child knows what is expected of her while in public. Despite that, even the best behaved child might have a "moment," despite parents' best efforts, so please be patient...it won't last forever. In a few months, we will all travel to Greece for three weeks, and she is anxiously awaiting the next adventure. Happy travels to all.
Bakersfield, CA USA Mon 01/09/2006
Italy--Car Seats and Strollers
Hertz in Perugia was able to get us 2 car seats (on 2 days notice) for our 2-year-old and newborn when we spent 2 weeks in Umbria this fall. Also, an umbrella stroller worked great in all the hill towns we visited, including the one we stayed in. (Todi has a playground.) Great workout, for sure! Other tips: we did Baby Bjorn with both kids when babies; breastfeeding infants is the way to go; we brought instant oatmeal and Lipton's instant soup packets for meals; our DVD player kept our 2 1/2 year old generally content; and you can find cheap toys.
Chicago, IL USA Sat 01/07/2006
Perspectives on Strollers
In response to the discussion on types of strollers... I recommend the umbrella stroller over the heavier stroller types. I found that the relative advantage of light weight more than mitigates any disadvantage caused by small wheels.
To give you my perspective, I travelled to Germany and Austria this past summer with my wife, 3 year old daughter, and 6 month old son for a couple of weeks. We limited our belongings to two adult-sized backpacks, two car seats, and one umbrella stroller. In retrospect, and given the ages and sizes of our children, I am glad we took the lightweight stroller. Where it was somewhat time-consuming to push my daughter (or son, sometimes) over cobblestones in Salzburg and Reutte or through pea gravel in Dachau, the lightweight stroller was easy to maneuver on public transportation or even to fold up, tie to a backback, and carry when it came time to switch between trains and subways in places like Munich or Garmisch.
Fort Leavenworth, KS USA Fri 01/06/2006
Booster Seats in Florence
Booster seats will be easy to find - I'm not sure if they'll be quite as cheap as you're looking for, but not bad either.
Lots of baby stores in Florence you could walk to. Prices might be higher. Best place to look for a no-nonsense seat would be one of the huge Iper-COOPs (Think amazingly huge super-Target) outside the city center.
Greece Thu 01/05/2006
sleeping for little ones
We took our 18 month old from Bavarian Alps to Rome and Florence. The best advise I have is overnight trains. We took one from Innsbruck to Rome and then back to Munich. Each way, the rocking train put our son right to sleep. With the whole family well-rested, we enjoyed our destinations that much more.
El Paso, TX USA Tue 01/03/2006
Food allergy and travel
Does anyone have any place they have visited with a peanut/tree nut allergic toddler? We love to travel internationally, but are reluctant to stray far from a very "western" environment because of the allergy.
Washington, DC USA Tue 01/03/2006
With regard to your double-stroller question, if you have two adults (or even a responsible 15-year-old), you'll probably be happier with two lightweight, quick-collapsing umbrella strollers (just the $10 version available at any major retailer) than a double-stroller. I live in Heidelberg, Germany, and it can be quite tough to maneuver a double stroller on and off public transit and through tight passageways and doors. I have two little ones myself and a double stroller--which we often leave at home! :-)
Heidelberg, Germany Mon 01/02/2006