Happy Galentines & Valentines! I thought, in honor of such a romantic season, I’d finally share my travel diary from Paris, the city of love! I ended up with such a backlog of guest stories over the Christmas season that getting those up were priority over this. I almost didn’t bother with even sharing this since we went just before Christmas, but I know a lot of you guys enjoy my travel stuff and I really enjoy sharing it, too. And, is Paris ever a bad idea?
We had a wonderful holiday in Paris. We did about a week in Paris overall, with 3 days in Paris (including a trip to the Palace of Versailles) and then the rest at Disneyland Paris (and traveling) because we have a major Mickey Mouse fan on our hands. This post is just about the first half in the city, which really was romantic.
This is the last installment of “Tips for Traveling with Kids.” I hope you enjoyed this lifestyle/travel series! I just really wanted to do a travel series this summer with some of my tips for traveling with kids.
If you didn’t know, my husband is in the US Navy and we have traveled a lot to move, we have traveled a lot to visit family, and we have traveled a lot because we live in Europe and we want to take advantage of it! We’ve traveled to Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, France, Germany, Austria, and Hungary. Seven countries not counting international travel back to the states 🙂
Tips for Traveling with Kids Part 3 — Having Fun
Look up walking tours of the city you’re visiting: If you’ve got children that they will either A. sit in their stroller or B. want to walk around with you and burn off their energy, this might be a good option for you. We do both with Little O depending on his mood. I think this could work for a variety of ages depending on the type of child. O needs to get out and walk sometimes. We LOVE doing the walking tours, because we can see so much of a city!
Take time to relax at your hotel/house if needed: Don’t be afraid of “wasting” time if your kids need a break. Or you need a break! Man, sometimes I am just so tired. Sometimes O is just a little overwhelmed! So we take some time off traveling and go “home.” Just relax. Rest.
Get take out: On the note of rest, if you are done, wiped for the day, or just don’t want to deal with kids in a restaurant, get take out! Or, what about room service? That could be fun. We’ve done that before when it was surprisingly reasonably-priced. If you are traveling in a car, you could bring food along, but we’ve never done that in Europe.
Pack light: I’ll say again, like in part 1, pack as light as you can! If you’re going to be taking a lot of pictures, you might want to bring a big camera, but I still don’t. I just bring my iPhone and keep it a pocket. When you’re chasing kids, it’s just a lot easier.
Let them do their thing: We try to go with the flow with O. When we find a park, we let him go to it (unless we are really trying to get somewhere). We let him play as we walk to our next destination. We just try to make everything relaxing for him.
Since this is travel season, I thought I’d put together a travel series this summer with some of my tips for traveling with kids. Family travel is unique!
My husband is in the US Navy and so we have traveled a lot to move, we have traveled a lot to visit family, and we have traveled a lot because we live in Europe and we want to take advantage of it! We have traveled to seven different countries together – Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, France, Germany, Austria, and Hungary.
Traveling with Kids Part 2 — Accommodations for Family Travel
This post will focus on accommodations on making sure your little ones get the best sleep possible (and you, too). I know that was a major concern for us when we started doing family travel.
Call ahead to your hotel for a crib: Confirm that one will be available for you and don’t rely on your online booking!
Airbnb: We’ve used Airbnb a lot, and you kind of have to comb through the listings for ones that are kid friendly. Sometimes you get lucky and they are very kid-friendly. In Germany, they had listed a crib, but they also had a high chair available for us that was not even mentioned in the listing! Just read the descriptions and see if it mentions kids or cribs and look at the pictures of the house. Lots of stairs? Breakables? Use your best judgment if you think the house will work for you. One road trip, we stayed in an Airbnb that had a lot of stairs, and we ended up bringing our own baby gate to make things easier!
Try Kid n Coe: I haven’t tried this out yet because most of the places we want to go only have a couple listing right now. It’s so new! Kid n Coe is like Airbnb for family travel. I hope they add more houses and cities. I thought I would mention it.
Guava Lotus Travel Crib This thing folds into a backpack. You can take it on the plane. What?! Yes. You will for sure have somewhere for baby to sleep. I don’t personally own this, but have friends who do. Sometimes, when traveling in Europe especially it is tricky finding a place with a crib, so this is a good option.
Try to keep routines the same: This will help especially at bedtime. Bring a sound machine if your little one needs that at home. Bring stuffed friends. Bring books. Think about what you’ll do for breakfast, too! Cranky little ones in the morning are not fun. If you stay at an Airbnb and don’t have groceries yet, you’ll have to go find some quick!
I know many of us are traveling right now, and one question I get asked a lot is “How do you travel with a 2 year old?!” I thought I’d put together a travel series this summer with some of my tips for traveling with kids.
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My husband is in the US Navy and so we have traveled a lot to move, we have traveled a lot to visit family, and we have traveled a lot because we live in Europe and we want to take advantage of it! I probably cannot count the number of flights my 2 year old has been on because so many of them are short little ones between countries! I can tell you how many countries he has been to – Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, France, Germany, Austria, and Hungary. 7!
He hasn’t been to as many US states unless you count the cross-country road trip we took when I was pregnant!
But, he is well-travelled and my husband and I are well-seasoned travellin’ parents. We’ve gone back to the states twice now to visit and let me tell you, preparation is needed to get a toddler through a 10-hour flight.
But you will get through it!
Tips for Traveling with Kids Part 1 – Getting There
Bassinet: If your child is small enough (under 22 lbs or 10 kg) and you have a long flight, try to book a bassinet! These are only available on certain airlines and certain planes (big ones for the long haul flights), but it was awesome for our first trip back to the states with little O. You need to call to book these, and there are only a few per plane. Beware that if there is a lot of turbulence or your pilot is extra careful about putting on the “fasten seatbelt” light, the flight attendants will make you take your child out.
Travel with a backpack carry on: A lot of flights I travel alone. I did the last international flight alone and my only carry-on was a big backpack. I baby-wore little O in my Lillebaby* (affiliate link, thank you for your support!) carrier in the airport and wore my backpack. I do this most flights to be hands-free.
Instead of a car seat, try Kids Fly Safe Harness: In the same vein of traveling light, I bought this Kids Fly Safe harness (not sponsored or an affiliate link, seriously just wanted to travel light and I wanted to provide the link) for little O on the most recent international flight in March. He was not sure about it. He sat in it kind of sometimes? And then wriggled out of it other times. He fell asleep in it once but was woken up by the captain. Then couldn’t fall asleep in it again. It wasn’t his normal car seat seatbelts, it was a strange place, he wasn’t happy. I may have to try it again when we go back to Europe though. I know many people have had success with it, but O wasn’t
entirely sure. But it helps you travel light, and for take off and landing it’s very safe.
Bring little packets of powdered Toddler Drink to help them sleep: Some kids like to have milk to go to sleep, but on long haul flights, how will you have milk for them? (I couldn’t find a reliable link for these, sorry.) Flight attendants aren’t always able or willing to give it. I discovered small packets of Toddler drink for our first long haul flight last year, and it seemed to relax O and help him sleep. It was kind of a treat. If you have a child that still needs that, or even if they don’t, Toddler drink might be a good option. If you need real formula, I know they sell little packets of formula too, just not everywhere. This is good, too, because if you’re on a plane, when it takes off and lands it helps with their ears popping.
In a car or plane — a variety of small toys: Try to look through their toys and bring a variety of different ones, that do different things. Bring a stuffed friend, bring something that their little hands need to work on, bring something that lights up, bring something to chew on (if teething).
For road trips — Get out of the car for a little while: We do drive with O a lot, actually. He does pretty well. We set him up with a movie usually and have toys back there for him. We try to drive for a while and then get out of the car at a gas station for a bit for some food. European gas stations usually have pretty good restaurants in them! A break seems to reinvigorate O if he is getting restless.
Bring as many snacks as you can regardless of your travel method. Always have them. One little pretzel stick may just do the trick!
I was very blessed to get a clear day and got excellent pictures (if I’ll toot my own horn) of the outside of St. Stephen’s. I thought it was very impressive, and loved the courtyard! So did little O.
Also in Budapest, we visited the Dohany Street Synagogue. Although not a church, this is still a place of worship and I thought would fit well into this series. This is a stunning Gothic Synagogue — we were just able to fit a visit in before dinner. I definitely recommend a visit to this historical and gorgeous place! Here is more info for visiting Dohany Street.
Traipsing around Europe has given my husband and I plenty of opportunity to see churches — and so far, this is my husband’s favorite one!
St. Stephen’s Cathedral — Vienna, Austria
We didn’t get the chance to go in, but honestly, the best pictures of most Cathedrals are taken outside. The architecture is just astounding.
My husband also took a midnight stroll while I was at the hotel with O and checked it out at night, which was apparently very cool. He reported that the Cathedral looked like “a ghost church.”
I really liked the gothic feel of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, too. It was very different from any church we’d seen anywhere else to date. There were a few other Vienna churches we walked by, but this was by far the best (and the one I was most interested in seeing). If you’re in ever in Vienna, try to make a trip over there! Here’s a link to more info on St. Stephen’s.
This spring, I am in the US spending time with my family. (It’s just me and little O for this trip). We are here to be in another wedding and for my brother’s graduation at the end of May.
Living in Italy is a great opportunity and at times a lot of fun, but there’s just nothing like being at home in the states. There’s things I can do here that I just can’t overseas. Like, obviously, throw a birthday party for O with all of our family. This brings me to my first spring to-do I wanted to share:
1.Plan the best Thomas the Tank Engine party I can!
Like I said before, there’s no way I would be able to have a bunch of our family come to a birthday party in Italy, so I’m taking advantage of the fact that we will be here for O’s birthday. I want his party to be special. This little guy loves Thomas so much. Plus, I really love planning parties. If throwing parties was a love language, it would be mine.
I borrowed this book via the Amazon Prime Lending Library (love that) when I saw it pop up about a week ago. I had heard so much good buzz about it! It is a book that, for me, isn’t an easy breezy read. When I’m reading it I am trying to take it in and so I am like, thinking about it at the same time because I feel it makes a lot of sense. At the same time, I do feel it gets repetitive with the points it’s trying to make.
So far, it has been about not setting yourself free from the constant chatter in your head, which I desperately need!
Last week, I shared all about part one of my birthday trip: Vienna. Today, it’s all about Budapest, Hungary!
We did what we do in all of our travels since we have a tiny tot and that is to walk around as much as we can. O sits in his stroller or holds our hands (he likes to walk, actually) and we can soak up the city. We’ve found that this is the best way for us to see many places in Europe.
In Budapest, I was able to see many places of worship which is a real treat for me. I’m going to do a Churches around the world post later on (and also one for Vienna…my husband found his favorite Cathedral yet there!) but I’ve included a photo of a church we happened upon in this post as well.
Budapest is very cool. That’s the word I would use to describe the vibe. There’s a lot of interesting shops and restaurants. It was an interesting juxtaposition to Vienna, which I would describe as opulent.
I’m finally settled and ready to share about my my recent travels! If you follow the Devotional Diva IG, @Devotional_Diva, you’ll know I’m now visiting family back in the states (again). It’s been a lot of traveling!
But before that, while I was still overseas with my husband, we took a long weekend to celebrate my birthday. We visited Vienna, Austria and Budapest, Hungary since they are actually only 2.5 hours apart from each other (if you’re driving, that is!).
We did Vienna first, so this post is dedicated solely to Vienna. And to be honest, Vienna was my favorite. I thought I would like Budapest more, but it ended up being the other way around.
I love German and Austrian food (sausages = bomb) and I was surprised at how much I loved the architecture. It was truly amazing how well-preserved and clean it was. Vienna in general was very clean and kid-friendly. We didn’t have a whole lot of time there, but someday I hope to go back and see more.