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Author: DonnaPawl Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 20810  
Subject: Re: Europe with kids? Date: 3/1/2006 12:43 PM
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My questions:
1) Are we crazy?
2) Any tips on traveling with kids?
3) Which cities in Europe would be the most interesting for kids?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ummm, lets see; how to be kind but honest with this answer?

1) Answer: Undoubtedly, yes. My kids are grown; my grandkids range from 12 through 6 and down to 8 months. I've observed parents traveling with their kids. Yup, you've gotta be crazy.

2) Answer: My first thought - don't do it. The baby will be "okay" during the travel portion, since he/she will probably sleep through portions of it. The extra activity will totally whack out their sleep/play schedule and the airplane ride will probably not be pleasant (especially take-offs and landings). Once there, remember, kids tire easily and require naps ... thereby taking chunks out of your touring schedule.

As for the 4 and 5 year olds. They are at tough ages for this type of traveling; too young to get anything cultural out of it and just old enough to be asserting their independence and likes/dislikes about whatever it is you are doing at the moment. Kids of this age need to be taken on vacations DESIGNED around kids.

******** okay, so now I've been negative and cynical at the same time ... let me try to offer a few CONSTRUCTIVE ideas.

Since I don't know where in the country you are, I'll suggest that you take a good, close look at what you have nearby. You can start now, with this vacation, to teach your brood about traveling, how to be good travelers, by getting them involved in fun and interactive vacations. So, start by looking for "stuff" within, say 100 - 150 miles of home. Parks? Historical places? Lakes/beaches? Sports stuff? When my kids were at that age, we mostly did day trips, or easy over-nighters. We would try to keep the travel time under 3 hours and make sure we had some activity to work off pent-up energy when we arrived ... even if it was only a nature walk. Find museums geared for kids; places where there are interactive activities where they can touch, DO things, try things out. Our Children's Museum had great hands-on displays and a variety of astronomy programs geared for kids, but were entertaining for the accompanying adults as well. Good quality animal parks/zoos are fun; but may also be too biologically risky for that baby (thinking of airborne pathogens here). Take the 2 older kids to a minor league baseball game (babysitter for that baby, unless Mom doesn't like bb). They are less expensive and the ballparks are smaller so the kids can get a good view. Mechanical museums of all sorts; Have yet to see a kid who didn't like trains ... and there are literally hundreds of train museums around the country ... most of which also have a train ride on restored cars with a big ole engine.

*sigh*

One last thought ... remember to reel 'em in and head for home or motel BEFORE the kids are bored and exhausted. With kids as with puppies, I like the experience to end on an upbeat note and a happy experience ... not tired and whiney .... and leave 'em wanting to "do it again!"

DP
who loved to travel with her kidlets, once they WERE conditioned to be good travelers. (By the time mine were 14 & 10, I was able to take 'em for a week of sailing in the Caribbean and the experience was 100% for all of us and our fellow passengers!)



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