How to travel to Europe with a toddler
Updated: Feb 16, 2019
I would say that Mia has been close to 25 flights and trust me while I would consider Mia as a pretty chill kid, not all is rainbows and sunshine. One thing we have done best is we try to not get too stressed out and realize that travel with a kid is a total different ballgame than travelling alone or as a couple.
I booked our ticket using my British Airways point and since I knew it was still a few months away, I let time pass by.
A few days before the trip, we were busy with work, I asked Oli if we should still go or rebook it, he said lets just go.
A week before, we have a flight to London with 3 days hotel, one way ticket to Barcelona, a cruise to Barcelona nothing in between, and a flight back on June 7. Should I panic? a little, I guess but we try to keep it chill, after all a holiday is meant to be relaxing.
I don't do extensive research before going to a place, I mostly rely on online bookings, and reviews on trip advisor, no must brings, and I pretty much go with the flow. a lot of parents would raise their brows but it is what works for us. We also have a few routines and I also read a lot of travel blogs that help us as well.
Personally here are some things I found helpful:
1. A travel stroller
I had the Uppa vista and its so heavy, we brought it on our trip to French Polynesia and I would say, that was not the smartest idea so I told myself I will buy those lightweight travel stroller.
I checked travel strollers prior but the selection is poor and prices I find were about $400-500 CAD so I decided why not buy it on our first stop.
When we arrived in London, we checked in to our hotel took the tube and went to Mayfair Mall and Voila found a travel stroller for 150 pounds. its light enough and the best part we saved lugging it on our first flight.
2. Roaming plan or a local SIM card
I have a business plan with fido and we were able to roam like home for about $10 CAD a day. You can also get a local sim card and Wind mobile in Europe have a great coverage across Europe.
it was helpful for us as we used google map navigation everywhere and was able to book hotels, restaurants, and tours while on the bus, cab, or train.
3. Never miss breakfast and bring snack everywhere
We never left the hotel without having breakfast as we know we have a long day ahead of us, and with a toddler in tow, a full tummy means a happy kid.
we also brought left over pastries, and fruits like banana and apples, plus drinks like water to keep us all hydrated.
4. Try to book a hotel close to the city centre
if your kid is one of those that can't nap in the stroller, you have to plan the places you want to visit and work around the times as to when your kid would be having their nap. A helpful tip is to stay close to the city centre, in that way, you can always go back to the hotel whether for your kid to nap, have lunch, freshen up, and simply rest.
5. Try to be flexible
when you travel with a kid/kids, try to keep your itinerary open especially since toddlers have short attention span. Don't pack your day with too much sightseeing. Pick an activity that your kid would enjoy maybe skip the museums until your kid understands the concept of it. A great idea is going to parks where the children can run around. Try a scavenger hunt or play hide and seek. We also look for playgrounds where our toddler can play where we can relax and plan our next stop.
6. Take advantage of the jet lag
We went from North America to Europe and we all are jet lagged for the first 10 days I would say (they say its an hour a day so 10 hours flight means 10 days jet lag). So the first few days we are waking up from 2 am and gets later as the days progresses.
when we wake up at 2 am, we already started getting ready and already had breakfast (either we buy pastries the night before or room service), after breakfast we already got ready and by the time it hits 5:30 am, were already on our way to our first destination stop. it worked perfectly especially when were in Rome, Italy where we get to see the famous sights like the Trevi fountain, Colosseum, and Spanish steps with less people.
7. Don't forget to have fun
It is so easy to be annoyed, upset, when things does not happen the way you envision it and could potentially cause arguments between the couple but do not forget why you are on vacation. You are on a holiday to relax and have fun. What if you have not seen "all" of it, or things might deviate "from your normal routine", the key is to enjoy the moment and have fun along the way.
We were able to plan the next destination stops by going with the flow. If we like a particular place, we then spend a few days there and move along.
for the four week duration of our trip, we were able to visit friends in London, a western mediterranean cruise with Mia's grandparents (Barcelona round trip), 5 days in seville, 1 day in Cordoba, 2 nights in Zurich, Switzerland visiting a friend for his 40th birthday, 4 days in Florence doing pizza making class and enjoying the country side, 3 days in Milan with a business partner, 2 days in Venice, 3 days in Rome with a day trip to Positano, and 3 days in Paris .... and that concludes our Europe trip 2018 with our then 2 yr old toddler.