So you’re about to embark on the trip of a lifetime with the kids in tow? Well done! This is sure to be an adventure you won’t forget. With a little extra planning and preparation, you can experience Europe’s treasures as a whole family. Whether you are travelling with toddlers, tweens or anything in between, we’ve put together a few of our best tips for travelling overseas. Find out how to get ready for a European adventure with the kids below.
1. Prepare the kids
With your plane tickets in one hand and your empty suitcase on the floor, you begin your journey to the other side of the world. It’s time to prepare for your trip but it’s also time to get excited and more importantly, get the kids excited. Share with your kids the adventure that lies ahead, tell them about the destinations they are going to visit. Read books together about the special places you will see and watch movies set in the city you are going to be. Learn ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in each of the languages you will encounter and start a countdown for your big trip. Encourage the kids to keep a journal or get a scrap book to fill with mementos if they are old enough. Engage your children in the whole adventure from the very beginning.
2. Prioritise your location
When planning your Europe holiday, you will need to prioritise the location of all your accommodation. Whether you are visiting one city or multiple countries, your home base will determine the ease of your local travel. Choose accommodation that is central to your desired activities to cut down on travel time. Come the afternoon, kids are sure to become weary of traipsing all over town and a quick nap at your hotel or apartment may be life saving. Research the best transport options for your family – will you want to be close to the metro? Or can you easily hire a car to help those tired little legs?
3. Put thought into your schedule
It may be helpful to create a list of the places you want to visit and the activities you would like to do in each city. Break it up into two parts – the things you must do and the things you would like to do but are happy to forgo if needed. This will help create flexibility within your schedule as we know not every day with kids is the same. Don’t cram too much in but set aside time for breaks each day, such as long lunches, naps and afternoons in the local park. Expect jet lag in the first few days after a long flight and save the big days of sightseeing for when everybody is feeling energetic again. Think about what activities the kids may enjoy and involve them in the planning process.
4. Pack well
There shouldn’t be too much stress when packing for Europe because you know anything you left behind, you can more than likely replace when you arrive. However, it may be beneficial to take a few creature comforts on your adventure. Consider bringing your children’s favourite toys or stuffed animals to help make their new accommodation feel a little like home. Pack a medicine bag and first aid kit for those small spills, so you don’t have to find a local pharmacy in a hurry. Take everyone’s ideal snacks for the plane and pack extra in the suitcase, so you can help even the fussiest eaters stay satisfied. Bring an outlet converter for everyone’s gadgets and depending on the ages of your children, you may need to pack a stroller or ask whether your hotel will provide one for you.
5. Learn from mistakes
No doubt, travelling overseas with kids is a huge undertaking. However, the memories created and the experiences shared are sure to make all the effort more than worth it. One thing to remember is you will make mistakes, especially on your first trip. You will discover what you could have done differently and how each of your little ones travel. It will simply take trial and error to figure out what works best for your family. Learn from your mistakes and look forward to making each holiday better and better.