If you’re like most families with kids, summer is a chaotic time where all the fun gets jam-packed into two months, schedules and routines are out the window, and most importantly, it’s one of the easiest times to travel with little rascals. Interested in traveling to Europe with kids? Planning an international trip to Europe with kiddos is no small feat, but these tips will help make it a smoother journey. Bon voyage!
Stay up to date on health guidelines.
It’s wise to bring or make sure you have access to at least two rapid antigen COVID-19 tests per person wherever you’re going. In case guidelines change, you want to be prepared so you don’t get stuck in another country. Check with the embassy or the country’s health authority a few weeks before travel, a couple days before, the day of, and a few days before you plan on departing.
Public restrooms aren’t necessarily a *thing*.
Yep. This is one Americans take for granted. In some European countries, public bathrooms aren’t very accessible, and when they are, sometimes you have to pay for them (if you’re not a patron). Have everyone use the bathroom before leaving your accommodations, and if there’s a bathroom available somewhere, use it.
Note: Two funky things you’ll find in European bathrooms: a bidet and an emergency fall cord (typically in showers).
Plan your meals and pack all the snacks.
Places around the world simply aren’t as regimented with meals as we are in the U.S. In Europe, people typically eat dinner LATE. Some restaurants don’t open until 7 p.m. or later. If you have littles, adjusting to this schedule can make for many hangry hours, so pack snacks and plan ahead to find restaurants that open earlier in the evening. Hit the grocery store early in your trip so you can eat where you’re staying.
Pro tip: Order *still* water at restaurants. Otherwise you’ll be served sparkling water—it’s the default for most places. Notably, Europeans don’t necessarily take ice in their drinks, so if you want it, you’ll need to ask.
Ditch the heels, fashionista.
Europe is full of thousand-year-old cobblestone streets, paths, and buildings. There isn’t the ADA to enforce accessibility, so if you have a physical disability or are traveling with a kiddo who has one, plan your transportation ahead. So you’ve been saving your heels and summer dress for this dreamy trip? You may want to leave them at home and bring your comfy sneakers or flats instead (re: cobblestone). If you insist on wearing heels, these are personally tried and true, blister-free (even while babywearing) all around Europe.
Save on transportation when you plan ahead.
One of the coolest things about Europe is how quickly and easily you can get to most major cities by train.This is especially nice when you’ve got antsy kids. Check out the train routes beforehand, download the train apps, and see if they have weekly or weekend passes available. These passes save you from having to plan each day to a T (and they save money!).
Don’t worry about blending in. Do be respectful.
Europe is different than the U.S., and you’ll quickly realize many of our cultural comforts simply don’t exist there in the ways they do here (*cough cough* ice cold water and AC). Don’t worry about not coming off “too American,” and focus on respectfully embracing the culture. Ask for the local dish or wine when you’re out to eat. Bring shoulder and knee coverings if you plan on visiting places of worship. And most importantly, keep handy a few phrases in the local language. Locals appreciate you trying and not just assuming everyone there speaks English.
Traveling to Europe with kids (or without)? It’s my favorite place to travel and I have plenty of European destination travel guides here on my blog.
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