Travel with Kids
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?
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Tips for traveling with kids
I was worried about traveling with my kids - ages 5 and 7. I wanted it to be an educational experience and fun for everyone. See my tips here at: www.theeducationaltourist.com
Dallas, Texas USA 09/27/2013
Tips to travel with kids
It is a big challenge to travel with kids, and one has to plan accordingly so that the kids won't get bored. Here are some tips for your reference:
Beaverdam, VA USA 08/28/2013
Finland and Iceland with toddler
We traveled with our two-year-old to Finland and Iceland. It was her first time on an airplane and we did not know what to expect. Although she is an easy-going child, it was a long plane ride so we were prepared with a collection of things to keep her interest: activities like small games and coloring books, stickers, small toys, special snacks, and so forth. She was so intrigued and excited about everything on the plane that she hardly used the toys we brought. Everything was new and exciting for her, and she loved the travel and new experiences. I found Scandinavia to be extremely child-friendly. We did not bring a stroller, but we used our Ergo carrier everywhere we went. Mothers breastfeed wherever they choose, and it is commonplace to see that. I suggest making sure you pack a selection of clothes like jackets and long pants/sleeves, even in the summer months, always have wet-wipes handy, and snacks and a water bottle are always good to have on hand.
Minneapolis, MN USA 07/20/2013
Traveling with teens/middle schoolers
We took our 11-year-old and 16-year-old to Europe this summer. One of the funnest things we did was to break up the sight-seeing with some fun, outdoor activities. In Haarlem (one train stop west of Amsterdam), we rented bikes at the train station and rode through the old town and then out to a national park on the North Sea! This park has beautiful, paved bike trails and has some wildlife roaming free. There is a little cafe on the North Sea where you can have a cup of coffee and a slice of cake.
In Germany, we took the kids to a terrific ropes course in the forest. South of Stuttgart, just adjacent to the Schloss Lichtenstein is a ropes course (http://www.abenteuerpark-schlosslichtenstein.de/ - the website is at this writing only in German.) We were visiting a German family who also had two kids, so all four kids participated. The staff conducted a safety briefing (in English for my kids; in German for the Deutsche Kinder), explaining how to attach themselves and their harnesses to all types of equipment they'd be encountering (zip lines, ladders, etc.). The kids had to demonstrate mastery of this material before they could play. The 11-year-old was allowed on courses 1 - 4, which were closer to the ground and less "scary". The older kids were allowed on all courses through #9. All four kids had a blast for three hours, and I had a ball taking pictures! The staff were walking around, available in case someone needed help. If you go, take either a stocking cap or ball cap with you for hygienic reasons when using the helmets. If you don't have one, they'll sell you a cotton cap for a few Euros, but if you've packed a hat, bring it. Highly recommended as a fun and different break from sight-seeing!
Boulder, CO USA 07/07/2013
Germany with a toddler
We are coming to the close of our three week vacation through Czech Republic and Germany with our 13 month old, walking toddler. I feel like I have a million things to say.
We approached this trip with much trepidation, assuming that we wouldn't get to see much, and that it would difficult to travel with our daughter. While traveling with a small child did add a few challenges, it was actually much easier to travel with her than we had thought.
I realized on this trip that everywhere you go, people have babies and small children. There are NO language barriers when it comes to children. Our daughter managed to make the toughest German guy on a train smile and make googley eyes at her. People were constantly offering to help us on and off the trains, giving our little one one bites of their food, letting her pet their dog. It has been an eye opening and amazing experience.
I have a lot more information if anyone has questions for me.
Europe is a super easy place to travel with a small child.
Seattle, Wa USA 06/09/2013
Food Halls With Children
In April of 2013, I took my two boys aged 12 and 9 to the Food Hall at Hakaniemen in Helsinki. It was a terrific experience for them as they ate with people who lived in the city and were taking their daily lunch break. They ordered their food and sat at a common table with the locals. When they sat down, an older gentleman (also dining at our table) helped them choose their bread and poured their water for them which was from pitchers placed on the table. The experience was a life changer. An unexpected bi-product is that they keep asking us to prepare the Salmon Soup they had at the market here in the United States. The pressure is on!
Berthoud, CO USA 04/22/2013
Traveling with kids
We have always traveled with our children (now 23, 13, 12) When our daughter was little we lived in Germany and took her all over. When she got older I took her back to London, Germany, Austria and Slovakia. I showed her how to read the airport/train/underground boards and let her figure out how we got around. This summer the younger ones are getting their first taste of Europe in a trip to Germany, France and side trip to Iceland. Don't expect your kids will hate museums (mine don't!) sometimes they report the favorite thing we did on a trip was go to a museum. My 13 old boy can't wait to go to the Louvre and Eiffel Tower, and my 12 year old can't wait to see Neuschwanstein. I know they may get art museum'd out so I've included a trip to the Musee d'Armee in there. Being in locations and 'seeing' places in history is a real education for kids. When my boys are studying something in school they can often pipe up with "oh yeah, I've been there" and having seen it first hand makes it much more interesting for them to study.
Every time we fly, I make them each a paper bag 'snack bag', so they won't "Mom can I buy a snack" the entire time. I put gum, some sweet and salty snacks. I print out a few puzzles for them to do or some brochures where we are going to get them excited. They will have their kindle fires this year so I am excited they can load some books and movies on there.
This will be the first 'real' train ride the boys have been on, having only been on tourist trains. I love that Germany offers family passes so make it fun and affordable.
I appreciate the suggestions on the allergy and lost cards. My 12 year old has tree nut allergies and this is a concern.
Bainbridge Island, WA USA 04/18/2013
Travel with kids
It was many years ago now, but we took our boys to Spain, France and the UK when they were 2 and 4 and then again when they were 4 and 6. We used many of the tips already posted here, but I have one more. If your children have good imaginations, they may enjoy recorded books. Audible has several good options. Disney has some really good recordings of favorite movies and often include songs from the movie. This is another way to break up lengthy journeys and maybe get a few moments to yourself to read or nap. Audible has a great app for smartphones - you do have to plan ahead and maybe pre-load a few. Happy traveling!
Seattle, WA USA 03/22/2013
We are curently on our third trip to Montpellier, France with our 7 year old and 4 year old. First of all, the south of France is a wonderful place to bring your family! We've been here during the Christmas season, with it's ice-skating rinks and Christmas markets in just about every town center. We've been here during the summer and enjoyed bignets on the beach (who knew they were a such agreat beach food?).There is so much to do, between exploring Roman ruins and combing the beach, your little ones need never be bored. There is a great aquarium, easily reached by light-rail. Also, a free zoo with nooks and crannies for picnic lunches is nearby. One thing to remember is the importance of ettiquette, even for toddlers. When an adult speaks to a child, they expect a reply; a oui or non will do, along with bonjur or merci. It might not always be the right answer - but the effort will be appriciated! We've stayed in both holiday homes and hotels. The main advantage of a holiday home is the control over mealtimes. Even in France, one gets tired of eating out all the time, especially with a cranky 4 year old who is used to eating dinner at 5, not 7. Plus, it's just plain fun to go to the Monoprix and shop for groceries. Just remember, if you need first aid supplies, pain relievers, ect., you need to go to a pharmacie, not the corner store.
Medina, OH USA 03/14/2013
Traveling with an 11 year old and 15 month old in Scandanavia
We traveled for 2 1/2 weeks in Denmark and Norway during the summer of 2011. We had my 11 year old niece and our 15 month son. We found that for my niece, it was helpful to have a small travel bag for her, much like a purse. We filled it with a 2-pack highlighters and word find book, which she used daily, a 5-pack of mechanical crayons and small coloring book, a hangman book, 2 fun pens, a small writing journal, her digital camera, a sleep mask, motion sickness bracelets (must have for her), and chapstick. She also brought along her DS and small MP3 player. We encouraged her to write in her journal every night before bed to capture the trip on paper.
We took a trip from southern Denmark to central Norway, which meant that we were in the car a lot for two days up and two days down. We spent one week in Norway. I had my Kindle, so I read books to them in the car and at night. She also used it at times to play games. We stayed in homes or apartments in both countries, which was a much better experience than hotels. She made friends with other kids whereever we went, even though she couldn't speak the language. She joined soccer games. We went for walks and did some hiking. She also loved spending time at the beach.
As for the 15 month old, it was helpful to have an 11-year old playmate. He wasn't interested in sleeping on the plane, so we walked a lot. He liked coloring and playing with his small plastic cars. I highly recommend ordering a kid's meal for toddlers instead of the "baby" meal. Our son wouldn't eat the baby meal on the way over, so we had to contact he airline to switch for the flight home. We took along an umbrella stroller, which was used daily, but we also took our Ergo baby carrier. This was a must, since one of the airports wouldn't let us take our stroller through security. It was also easier to use when we were hiking. Scandanavia is great for children. Many of the airports have children play areas. We visited plenty of parks, beaches, and nature trails. My son and niece loved the waterfalls and fjords of Norway, and they loved playing on the beaches of Denmark. We visited a few big cities and historic areas. My niece was more interested than our son, because of the age, but she would take nature over the big city any day.
Small toys are good for toddlers, since they have short attention spans. We would like to look into some type of tablet for the future, since the only movie they had for kids during the ride home lasted 90 minutes. Our son didn't want to nap, so he watched it about 5 times. :( Overall, he was easy to take on the trip. The only real bad thing about taking toddlers this far away is the jet lag. It took my son 1 week to get used to the time difference.
IL USA 12/30/2012
Pre- Kindergartner tips
The tips on this thread are fantastic! I spent a month in France with my 4 1/2 year old daughter this past summer and it was wonderful! I now use some of the tips when exploring our hometown. Here are more: 1. Brought a very small backpack for her to carry her own water, snacks, light jacket (and cheap digital camera!) because I had enough responsibilities 2. Bought a small set of pencil crayons and notepad for her to spend waiting/quiet time 3. Expected her to walk e.g. Trocodero to Louvre 4. When she said she was tired, I found a playground or trampoline - miraculously, she revived 5. Made sure I had healthy snacks and lunchy food to eat in lineups and playgrounds. 6. We attended a children's atelier at the Louvre - basic French was helpful and it was a fun and informative experience. 7. Staying in apartments and making simple fare for her dinner. Mostly it boiled down to eating well, exercising lots, seeing beautiful things, taking lots of photos and being crazy (jumping into the fountains at Trocodero fully clothed at the end of July and climbing Sacre Coeur and Arc de Triomphe on the same day!) - it was everything I could have hoped for. I didn't miss eating out as a baguette, butter, cheese, salad, etc was perfect for me. I ate a pound of butter, lost weight and reduced my appetite even 5 months later. Vive la France! We had such a great time we are going back in the spring!
Vancouver, BC Canada 12/17/2012
Vercelli with a 5 year old
While I posted about traveling with my then-5 year old son to Vercelli, Italy on the kids with allergy thread, I realized that I forgot to generally talk about our fantastic long-weekend experience in Vercelli.
We visited my close Italian friend and her family, including her 6-yr-old daughter and 4-yr-old son. Because their flat is rather small, we stay in a rentable pensionne flat right in the middle of Vercelli. It's very clean, safe, comfy and pefect! Our own courtyard, bathroom, bedroom, family room and kitchen that was stocked with breakfast foods. My son looked at the bidet and first said "look mommy my own little sink to brush my teeth." ;-)
Vercelli is SOOO beautiful and quaint and everyone is so friendly. You get a true Italian town experience. The Art Museum - Peggy Guggenheim Collection ARCA - had an exhibit with Mondrian. I think they have an big annual exhibit annually in Feb or March. We left the boys at home to watch spiderman and play spiderman.
One day, we took the children to ride bikes and scooters in the town square - without helmets, oh my ;-) I naively thought that the square was closed to traffic. However, I learned that there was just less traffic as all the mommies jumped up when the weekend town tour bus rolled through... we were all sitting enjoying cafes and other drinks.
Which brings me to another point - Vercelli offers a free hourly tour bus of the town as well.
Also met the little girl in the town Opera/Theater after her ballet class as the symphony was practicing which alludes to great cultural ambiance there, although we were more concerned about keeping the boys quiet. Then my son's eyes were big as saucers as all the little girls changed in front of all their little brothers.
Another day, we took the kids to a local Italian Safari zoo park about two hours north and my son lovvvveddd it. He didn't understand a word but he had blast!
Another day, we visited the kindergarten and my son tried to teach some English, including the hookey pokey, "chill out dude" and the fist bump. A big hit especially!
It was fantastic to see all the parents and the children interact. I was a bit worried about him being a picky eater but then we went to a resto and all the parents were ordering noodles with olive oil or butter for thier picky kids. And nobody was having relaxing meal as we were all catering to the kids and of course one of the dads brought a soccer ball into the resto. We almost got kicked out.
It was a fantastic experience for not only my son but for me as well. Even if you don't have kids, GO TO VERCELLI!!!
My 5 year old son is allergic to peanuts/nuts, dairy/eggs/cheese and shellfish. When I went to Italy, besides explaining this all to my close native Italian friend who speaks fluent English, I had three sheets of paper each containing his three allergy topics on them. On each sheet, in Italian, on the top, I had written "Allergies - Cannot Eat - Danger!" Then I put a red crossed out circle. I glued pictures of "danger" foods with its corresponding Italian words next to it and put an X on the food picture. I used some common Italian dishes/desserts that would contain his allergans but that might not be apparent (ie marscarpone (sp)). I researched (on the Internet) regional dishes and the ingredients before I left and printed out some of those photos and names. That way I was also familiar myself of what I may encounter over there, including candies and treats that many well-meaning adults (outside of restuarants) may try to give my son that would contain nuts and other allergans. I made copies of the sheets of papers and always kept one set with son and me so I could always show anyone, even if my Italian friend was not around.
Northern, VA USA 09/26/2012
Second the idea of kids "I'm Lost" cards
I want to second Melidna's suggestion below of an I'm Lost card. For our 7 year old I've made cards for each place where we'll be. On one side it has, in French, his name, that he doesn't speak French, that he's lost and needs help, and to call his parent's cell phone (provided) or his hotel. On the other side is the name, address and phone of the hotel. I got four of them (for the four places in France where we're visiting) alongside four of my business cards for in-suitase ID tags, laminated for under $1.50 at a local office supply store. I cut them out with rounded corners and our son can carry one in his pocket in case he gets lost.
Durham, NC USA 06/13/2012
Travel with Kids
Bring an activity book like brainquest and a few crayons or pencils. Bring individually wrapped snacks. Select places the whole family will enjoy. If going to an "adult" attraction like a history museum, balance it with a kid-friendly attraction like a zoo or castle or swimming pool/beach the next day. Beaches are fun for everyone to relax.
Sebring, Fl. USA 04/08/2012
Toddlers on air planes
I always take little suckers (dum dums) on the plane for my toddlers. They love them and it keeps thier jaws busy for ear clearning on take off and landing. I bring extras for the other kids on the plane too
dubai, UAE 03/05/2012
Traveling with Kids in Austria
Thinking about taking your kids to Austria? We loved it and are planning a return trip. We reflect on our 6-mo stay in Vienna here: http://www.familyontheloose.com/tag/austria/
These aren't "how to travel" ideas as much as "what did we learn about Austria by living there with kids?" We hope it helps you get the most out of a visit.
Seattle, WA USA 01/07/2012