Family Travel to Europe
Are you thinking about a family vacation to Europe? You picked the destination, have everyone’s passports, getting excited… but then some anxiety hits. How are we going to do this with kids!? I have some great tips to help you plan and have a successful European vacation.
-Involve your kids in the planning process- pull up a map showing them where you are going. Share information about that destination and some of the activities they can do. Ask them what they might like to do and how they would like to spend their days.
-Prepare them for the airport- go over what will happen at the airport, how going through security works, how long they must wait before boarding the plane, how long the flight is and what to expect on the airplane. Help them decide what to take with them: books, coloring books, a stuffy, tablet, blanket, games, a water bottle, snacks, and a change of clothes. Going over the travel process step by step will help them know what to expect. Not all surprises are good surprises!
-Consider the speed of travel-would a 6–7-hour flight be better than a 12–13-hour flight? Especially if your kiddos are doing an international flight for the first time. Think about a destination like Ireland, Scotland, England, and Iceland. Those flights are about 6 ½ to 7 hours from the East Coast. Keep in mind the travel time. International travel is already hard enough on their little bodies, it’s best to plan a trip with minimal travel time as possible.
-Stack the day-Try doing more in the morning and leaving the afternoon for relaxing or playing at a park. We all know what it’s like to have tired, cranky kiddos. Dragging them around all day could lead to meltdowns, tantrums, and a very tired and frustrated Mom and Dad. Especially when everyone is feeling jet lagged already.
-Beware the “I’ve had it” spending! – This can happen after being out all day and the kids start getting tired and you start spending money on a pricy taxi or eating at an expensive restaurant instead of walking another block to a less expensive restaurant or your hotel. Make a plan in advance. We all know our kiddos and know what they can handle and not handle.
-Consider the terrain- consider trying to push a stroller through cobblestone streets or walking on rocky ground. Avoid those destinations with children too young to walk. Most strollers can go over the cobblestone streets but may be a bumpy ride for your little one.
-Take precautionary measures- have a just-in-case plan. What to do if someone gets sick, you get lost, one of your children gets lost, someone’s passport gets lost or stolen, your credit card will not work, the list can go on. Be prepared and have a plan in place.
-Be prepared to walk-Wear comfortable shoes (if you purchased new shoes, make sure all family members break them in before you travel), bring snacks, and tell kids in advance what the day will be like.
-Make memories! – Take lots of pictures, soak up the history and culture and enjoy watching the wonder in your children’s eyes!
Taking your kiddos abroad requires a little more planning but it’s worth the effort. We as parents will be developing true citizens of the world. While building memories that they will talk about for years to come.