We’ve been fortunate enough to travel extensively with our children over the years. My kids have passports filled with stamps to prove it but I can remember a time when the mere thought of sightseeing with kids in tow was more than just a little intimidating. Here are a few tips I’ve acquired over the years that will help make the travel more enjoyable for both kids and parents alike.
Ask About Children’s Activities
When touring places like abbeys and cathedrals, I’ve found they usually offer some fun activities to keep kids busy. This might include a scavenger hunt, a checklist or some other activity that when completed the child can turn in and receive a prize. It’s worthwhile to inquire at the ticket counter if they offer any of these activities or you can come up with some on your own. They have always proven to be great family fun and you can even learn a few things yourself along the way.
Book Private Tours
Always try to book private tours whenever possible. Large group tours are tough on the little ones. They have a difficult time seeing and hearing what the guide is saying and can lose interest easily. When you book a private tour you can tweak the agenda to suit the age of your children and move at a pace that keeps the young ones interested.
Purchase Tickets in Advance
It’s a good idea to not only purchase your tickets in advance but to book any Fast Track or VIP packages that are offered. The cost is a bit more but you’ll save a bundle in stress and aggravation.
Limit the Walking
Little legs can only walk so long. Most major cities around the world offer some type of city bus tour. I think we’ve been on every one of these types of tours in just about every European city. They are a great way to give the kids a rest (grownups as well) and still learn some history or facts about the area. They also provide an easy, economical way to get around the city.
Treats and Rewards
A well-deserved treat is always in order after hours spent touring the sites. Gelato, a toy or the promise of a dip in the pool has always been a few of our favorites. Staying in a home exchange property with a pool is great way to travel with kids. has many luxury homes all around the world and many are available with pools. Check out the amazing pool offered at t located just outside Paris or jump into the pool located at in Siena after a full day of sightseeing in Italy. What kid wouldn’t endure a 3 hour Vatican tour if he knew he’d be doing a few cannonballs in that pool at the end of the day?
The most important thing to remember is that planning ahead is key when traveling with young children. Sadly, the days of “just winging it” on holiday are long gone but if you put the time into a well thought out and organized holiday you can enjoy a trouble free get-away and be able to show your children what most kids only get to read about in history books.