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Bringing our kids...
tarable1228@hot...
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We are planning a Eurotrip with our two children…ages almost 4 and almost 1.5. I’m looking for advice on the best countries to visit that they can also enjoy. Obviously for them that means food, and good weather. We plan to go at the end of may, early june. Here is the list of cities my husband wants to see… Brussels, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Zurich, Rome, Venice, Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, Berlin and Paris.

He thinks we could travel at night and stay one day in each of these places. I feel like we should pick half of them and spend more than one day in each city.

Has anyone else traveled with their young children here? Any advice on how often to travel, how long to spend? we plan to use the trains…

I am leaving from Boston, MA with $3000 for 12 days
Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Zürich, Venice, Salzburg, Prague, Berlin, Paris
I am leaving from boston, ma with $3000 for 12 days
Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne, Paris
I am leaving from Boston, MA with $3000 for 11 days
Paris, Venice, Vienna, Prague, Berlin
Don
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I think your idea of picking the best half of them and spending more than 1 day each place is much wiser (but don’t tell him that way!).

Your little ones must have precocious palates if they can ascertain beyond “mmm!” and “yuck!” at such young ages. Are they good with knife and fork? I’ve never seen children in nice restaurants anywhere in Europe.

I’d at least cut Brussels, Hamburg, Zurich, and Vienna. Also, look at train timetables on Bahn.de. Bru-Ams overnight just doesn’t make sense, for example. What makes better sense would be Brugge or Ghent as an afternoon or morning enroute between Paris and Amsterdam—for example.

I’d seriously consider leaving the kids at home with grandparents. They won’t remember or appreciate it, anyway. It’s about the memories—the family time together—more than the location, especially with young children. They’d have as much fun at a nearby water park, or on a forest hike and picnic in your nearest recreation area.

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I would never try to do a rushed trip with small children. I would stay at least 3 days at each stop. You still need to schedule nap time or at least afternoon quiet time with these ages so a days worth of sightseeing is a problem. Continuous overnight travel will be exhausting for the adults — you will never get even the level of sleep you get at home. Exhausted parents plus kids that are anything short of perfect spells disaster. What exactly does your husband want to see/ do in these cities? Just take a picture of the kids in front of the Eiffel tower? Even that’s going to take an hour.

Food: McDonalds is everywhere. While I’d hope to find local food and avoid American fast food, in emergency, there’s always a McDonalds near the train station. European restaurants and cafes don’t cater to children. A high chair or booster chair is almost unheard of. No crayons, crackers, etc. to keep kids occupied. Take a pop-up booster seat or one of those sling chairs that hangs from the table for your 1.5 or you will eat every single meal (except at McDonalds) with the kid on your lap.

Vienna/brastislava (I much prefer Bratislava), a day trip to Salzburg and Prague would be a decent option.

tarable1228@hot...
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I should add that we have two sets of friends in Berlin and plan to stay with them for part of the trip. That way we can do day trips once there. But, we plan to fly to paris and make our way there… so we are just trying to decide how many countries to visit on that journey and how long to spend. As far as naps go, they will do so in the stroller or in the ergo on my back… those are not issues…and the same goes for food since the baby still nurses and the older child will be happy with anyplace that has bread, potatoes or pasta.

We plan to visit the cities, take photos, eat and just people watch. We only have a few museums in mind and would probably go into them during a naptime anyway.

10 years ago when i was in germany, we took the train to several countries for day trips… i recall some trains being just seats, but others having small rooms that we could use… does anyone know what the norm is? We will bring a phil and ted stroller which seats two but takes up the space of only one…but im not sure if it will be easy or not?

I am leaving from Boston, MA with $3000 for 12 days
Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Zürich, Venice, Salzburg, Prague, Berlin, Paris
I am leaving from boston, ma with $3000 for 12 days
Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne, Paris
I am leaving from Boston, MA with $3000 for 11 days
Paris, Venice, Vienna, Prague, Berlin
oldlady
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From Berlin you’re going to have trouble doing day trips to other countries. There are reasonable day trips within eastern Germany like Leipzig, Dresden, Potsdam, but it’s not a reasonable day trip to any border but Poland. Amsterdam is over 6 hours by train, Brussels is nearly 7, Paris Or Salzburg over 8, Vienna or Zurich about 9,

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I feel that these comments reflect a negative attitude toward traveling with such little kids. (No offense Don or Oldlady – you’re pro’s at what you do) But in this case they are bringing the kids no matter what so you just gotta give ‘em some positivity – if they go in negative or doubtful, it will suck, so….
I am traveling with my 3 year old and 1 year old in May. We are doing 2 nights per city, trains (no cars), we are doing a night train, we are doing a night ferry, we are doing hostels and staying with family in Finland. I am stoked! I realize that travel as I once knew it is over, its a new chapter and I just can’t wait to see things from a childs eye all over again. Different from my previous travels, I have our route figured out and our accommodation booked, with the kids I just need the security (sleeping in a train station simply isn’t an option with the babes). But what we do in each city is up in the air. If the kids are sick or fussy or tired or hungry, plans will need the room to shift. I am using a backpack carrier for my 1 year old and just a cheapo umbrella stroller for my 3 year old. Im going to hit up a supermarket and get some snack staples to keep on hand at all times.
Our route:
Regensburg Germany
Bamberg
Dresden
Night Train
Copenhagen Denmark
Stockholm
Night Ferry
Helsinki
I am glad you are taking your children, i know they wont remember but everything that happens to a child helps define who they will become. It is important, it will be hard, we cant get wasted! But its great! Bravo and have fun!!

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Its one thing to visit relatives and take the children; its entirely different to be a tourist with small children complicating what is already complicated. Almost all young children dislike a long airline trip; there is nothing for them to do but sit in their seat, and when they get bored, they start annoying other passengers. They don’t enjoy going to museums or shows or things that parents want to see. They don’t enjoy strange food. They will come home with memories of how boring and dull the trip was. They would, if you honestly asked them, rather spend the time home or at a grandparent’s. I think one should not take children until they are old enough to participate in the planning and have a voice in where you will go and what you will see.

On day trains, most have airline type seating, but with more space. Some older coaches have the compartment seating, but you don’t get the whole compartment, just the number of seats in it you have bought.

The only people I know who are enthusiastic about traveling with small kids are the ones who have not yet done it, and are trying to convince themselves that it is a good idea. When my wife was nursing our kids, we didn’t travel; it would have felt that we were putting our own interests ahead of our children’s. But in America today, that seems to be too common.

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Don
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Negative? No. Honest? Yes.

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I didn’t intend to be negative about traveling with small children, but I did intend to be negative about the specific trip planned. Traveling with small children is a whole new experience and, at least for me, everything quickly revolves 100% around the kids, but you do what you have to do. I have never taken a trip, with or without kids, where I wished I’d stayed home.

I think the original options of overnight train, day in a new city, overnight train to another city, 1 day there, etc., etc., etc., or the other option of taking day trips where you’d spend 12 hours on the train to spend 4 hours in a city should be discouraged in general and definitely discouraged with small children.

I stand by my advice that an average of 3 days per city makes for a much more comfortable trip for everyone and is doubly important when traveling with small children.

tarable1228@hot...
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Thank you to everyone for your responses. Don, i think the only issue with your “honesty” here is that its not based on my life, just yours Smile My kids actually do love good food, but i meant as long as the locations were likely to have fast food for them, and bread and french fries.
ClevelandBrown-
If leaving them with grandparents were possible, which its not, my trip would suck. I love my children, i dont feel like going to clubs in some european city…ive already done all gthat. I just want to push the stroller around with them, spend time with my overworked hbusband. So your idea of a trip to europe is just different than ours. My kids don’t mind sitting on a train or a plane…we’ve flown to Mexico many times, and we’ve driven to Canada before. We all survived. And if other passengers are annoyed by my children who might cry out from time to time…they are choosing to be annoyed, rather than understanding. Thats life. I really dont care about that aspect! And if i whip out my boob to nurse my son, they may be appalled…o well Smile

That being said, I did convince him to choose half the countries…and we plan to just fly to paris, spend two days, take a train to italy, spend 2 or 3 days, then go to germany and stay there til the end. We have friends in berlin to stay with, friends in bonn to visit, and another friend who is on the far border too. So we’ve cut down the locations a ton, and plan to go back every other year until we get to them all Smile

thanks to everyone for their advice!
Raven- we are bringing a phil and ted stroller and an ergo carrier…so if the extra seat under the main one isnt being used by a child, the bags can go there…but if they nap we get a break while they both have a seat Smile And i just bought a backpack diaper bag too so that will make things easier… im planning to bring my daughters mobigo and tons of extra batteries…she usually only uses it on long car rides so i figure its perfect for the plane and trains… any advice on something for the baby? he doesnt watch movies yet, or have any interest….id like to find something with lights etc that an almost 18month old might like…or maybe ill just stick to snacks…hes a sucker for sweets haha

I am leaving from Boston, MA with $3000 for 12 days
Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Zürich, Venice, Salzburg, Prague, Berlin, Paris
I am leaving from boston, ma with $3000 for 12 days
Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne, Paris
I am leaving from Boston, MA with $3000 for 11 days
Paris, Venice, Vienna, Prague, Berlin
Don
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O.k. Good luck with all of that.

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A DVD player (or if you’re taking a laptop for other reasons) and “Baby Einstein” for your little one? One of my niece’s kids would stare at those videos for hours when he was tiny. The other two were less enthralled but would still watch for awhile.

Batteries are readily available, but a small recharger (one that accepts 220 volts as input so you’ll only need an adapter plug) might be worthwhile.

Take empty water bottles and fill up at the drinking fountain, or buy a couple of bottles of water AFTER you go through airport security. This doesn’t always work in Europe as sometimes they screen you at the gate when you’re boarding as opposed to a mass screening area like US airports. If you can’t manage to carry some water or juice on the plane, ask the flight attendant for some as you’re boarding so you’ll have some liquids available for the kids before in-flight service begins.

While I avoided this philosophy like the plague at home…. when traveling with kids, if throwing money at the problem will solve it, then throw money at the problem.

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Before we had children, my husband and I decided that we would always travel with our children – the good and the bad. We were both raised in several countries throughout the world and traveled extensively as babies/kids/teens. Even though we can’t recall many of those adventures while so young, it still shaped us and gave us such an appreciation for travel, cultures, food, etc and we hope to instill that into our boys. We’ve taken them to Australia – and they were marvelous on that long flight. So the flight is the least of my worries. Yes, I have cringed when a child is crying or kicking my chair, but I have been more offended/annoyed by “adult” travelers who have stunk! or spilled their wine on me or bi*ch the whole time or too strong perfume…yaddy yaddy yaddy…

Oldlady – I do agree that with kids you can’t jump from place to place after just 1 nt or a few hours. I am hoping my 2 nts per city (until Helsinki) will be sufficient?? I’ll let you all know if I switch to a 3 day minimum rule Smile

Sometimes, Grandparents or anyone else to babysit, is simply not an option and taking kids becomes the name of the game and its all about doing the best you can and having the best experience as possible with kids.

Tarable – we are debating bringing our Mobigo too! My husband doesn’t want him to bring it but Im undecided. He is utterly fascinated with planes, trains and boats so I don’t think he will be bored! He is a good eater too and loves brats! For the baby…ya, there isn’t much for them. I have a Deuter Kangakid that I will be using for him that he LOVES and I am bringing my MobyWrap for times when he is tired, as he will sleep in that like a charm. Like Oldlady said, I’ll bring water bottles to fill up along the way and buy snacks once I’m there as needed. My baby finds random things better for toys than actual toys so I don’t think I’ll be bringing any toys. I will bring a book or two to maintain our bedtime rituals. But like you, we’ve been to these places before so we don’t need to see everything. We are happy just to slowly walk around, taste food, have a cold beer, maybe hit up some zoo’s, check out their libraries if its raining, just go with the flow and try not to stress out.

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Raven11 wrote:
I have a Deuter Kangakid that I will be using for him that he LOVES and I am bringing my MobyWrap for times when he is tired, as he will sleep in that like a charm.

We have a Kangakid too. I have a bad disk in my back and can only carry our 16 month old in our soft structured carrier for about 15 minutes before my back starts having warning spasms, but I carried her for about two hours in the Kangakid with no problems. She’s never liked the wrap or our other carrier for long periods anyway, so it works out well all around.

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tarable I am glad you are bringing your children. I love this that you wrote: “If leaving them with grandparents were possible, which it’s not, my trip would suck.” We love traveling with our daughter, and we could leave her with family, but that is not for us. I absolutely cannot wait to see Paris, for example, through the eyes of my child. It will be so different from my previous visits. But she will be 8 when we go, which is a lot different than 2. We would have gone when she was a baby but I gave up travel for a long time to work less. She is so exited, I’ve been talking about Europe for as long as she can remember.

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