Travelling with the family is all about embracing a slower pace. Children need more time to absorb the important historical sites and attractions you are introducing them to, as well as time to burn off some of their extra energy with free play. While you won’t be able to pack as much into your itinerary with your kids in tow, you’ll probably end up appreciating the cities and sites you do see a whole lot more. Here are our top tips for making your European holiday with the family a success:
Family Friendly Transport
The best mode of transport for your multi-city European itinerary isn’t a plane. After all, trying to corral the kids through airport security or keep them quiet during the flight can be a real nightmare. Give yourself some peace of mind by taking the train. You’ll have plenty of space for extra luggage—strollers, diaper bags, and toys—and your kids will be able to roam about the car to stretch their legs and get a snack. And train travel is faster than you think: the trip from London to Paris, for example, only takes two and a half hours.
For even greater flexibility, consider renting a car for your family holiday in Europe. You’ll be able to pack up and go from city to city whenever you fancy, and take as many breaks as you want along the way.
Itineraries: Finding the Right Balance
Choose activities where your kids can be interactive so they can absorb the importance of the site you’re visiting. In London, take your kids to the Natural History Museum to watch history come alive, or head to Covent Garden to keep them entertained with street performers, fire eaters, and mimes. When you travel to Paris, take them to see the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles or the fountains at the Centre Pompidou. In Copenhagen, Rosenborg Castle and the Little Mermaid statue are hits with the kids.
Whatever your itinerary entails, make sure to leave plenty of time for free play in a local park so your younger kids can burn off that extra energy while you unwind. Plan a picnic while you’re there, or head to self-service cafeterias to make meals quick and painless with the kids.
If you’re planning to stay in the same city for a week, consider renting a house or condominium: you’ll have plenty of space for your family and your luggage, and the added benefit of being able to cook some of your own meals to reduce your overall travel budget. For cheap on-the-go travel, book a family room in a hostel or spread out at one of Europe’s holiday camps, most of which include full amenities to help ease the burden of travelling with the entire family. Don’t be afraid to get creative with the lodging: renting an apartment inside a windmill or castle for a week may be more memorable to your kids than any attraction they visit during the trip!