Traveling with Children
For those of you who are wanting to travel with children, here are a few of our tips and trick
Jean insisted that we only get a hotel with a pool (an indoor pool in the fall and winter). He was right. Every afternoon we would return to the hotel and take a swim and relax. This turned out to be great for everyone and a priority in picking a hotel if available.
After a long discussion Zoe-Pascale settled on collecting certain things; a doll from the country and a patch (available in any tourist shop). She spent hours looking for the right doll that she could add to her collection with the budget we had given her.
Train, Plane, Boat, Bus, Car
Our main source of entertainment was a notebook to write and draw in and colored pens. Jean would draw Zoe pictures of the local buildings, castles and scenery and she would color it for hours. This way she was building her own coloring book designed especially for her.
Visiting Historic Sites
Zoe-Pascale was mesmerized with the audio tours available at most historic sites. We found that when she had her audio tour she happily walked through the cathedral or castle listening to every word and we were able to do the same. Surprisingly, this also translated to live tour guides. The key was to get up close and personal and make her feel like they were talking to her. She loved every minute and learned interesting tidbits such as; "Budapest is great, because you can live in Buda where the nicer homes are and work in Pest where the jobs are."
Finding the Petite Train in Each City You Visit
Most villages throughout Europe have a small train that takes you and your children around the village or town. It provides a wonderful adventure for them and a great view of the entire city for the adults. If a train isn't available, go for what my friends call the "old lady bus," which is the open air buses that will give you a tour of the city. Another great alternative.
Find the Parks
Your first task is to find the parks nearby and when they are open. These become necessary respites for everyone including yourself. Bring a book and relax while your children play.
Tourists Offices and Local Papers
As an adult I often avoided going into tourist offices as I wanted to explore on my own. With a child this is a must. Peruse the stacks of brochures on interesting things to do and find out about an alligator park, a water slide, a doll museum or other attractions you wouldn't think of going to visit. They often can be the best hidden treasure you find. In addition, check the local paper for the events for the week. Often there is one day a week (Friday) in which the events are scheduled. A must read and great for learning the language.