Have you ever dreamed of traveling through Europe with your children? Host of The Parent Report radio show, Joanne Wilson decided to make her dream a reality. In the second in a six part series, Joanne shares her tips on creating a family friendly itinerary when Traveling Europe with Kids!
Once you’ve decided what countries you plan to visit and the budget you’re working with, the next step is planning your trip itinerary. Granted, at this stage of the game you’re hardly going to know the specific activities you’ll undertake, the sites you’ll see, or what time you’ll be having your afternoon tea! Still, now is when you’ll need to have a general idea of how many days you’ll be in each country, as well as what cities you’ll want to visit. Hopefully you’ve included your kids on these decisions.
Once you know your general itinerary, you’ll then be able to move onto the next stage – booking flights, Euro rail passes, car rentals and accommodations.
Speaking of accommodations, if you are thinking about renting apartments or villas (we did, and it was great) keep in mind that in most cases you’ll be expected to stay a minimum of one week. In our case we booked an apartment for one week in Paris and a villa for one week in Tuscany. This helped with our trip planning because then we knew what additional time we had available to us to visit other cities or countries.
For most of us, traveling to Europe with our children is a rare treat…maybe even a once in a lifetime trip. The temptation is to fill your schedule with every “must see site”, but that can be overwhelming so resist the temptation to overload your itinerary. If you see too much, the trip will be a blur and you really won’t have a chance to witness and become a part of the people and places you’re visiting. We tried to make it a general rule to spend a minimum of 2 days at each stop, usually more. Also, you may want to keep a few “flex” days in the schedule. In our case, we had 3 flex days, which we used in Paris. This turned out to be ideal not just because we loved the city, but because illness hit and road travel would have been miserable. So leaving room for emergencies (or a little serendipity!) is a good idea.
Finally, traveling Europe with a family is intense. It requires everyone to be adaptable, dependable and patient. Facing new cities, new languages and new customs can be taxing and tiring, so if you’re traveling for several weeks, try to tack at least a few days or even a week of relaxation onto the end of your trip so you have a chance to recover and refresh. We booked our villa in Tuscany into the last week of our holiday. With its refreshing pool, slow pace and beautiful scenery, it was just the low-key break we needed after weeks of sightseeing. Remember, traveling to Europe with kids may be an adventure, but it’s also meant to be a vacation. Plan in down time.
Once you have planned your general itinerary, it’s time to book your flight to Europe and your travel within the country. Coming up, we’ll look at what options to consider when doing this when our “Traveling Europe With Kids” series continues.
Check out our other posts on “Traveling Europe with Kids”.
Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.