This is part of my guest blog series featuring different parents roaming the world with tots in tow. I pick up a lot of useful tips interviewing people which I find so relevant and useful for my personal itineraries. I’m sure you would love to hear what homeschooling mom, Jen Mayuga-Cruz, has to share about her recent trip in Europe with her 2 children.
Name and age/s of your little globetrotters: Mateo, 8 and Daniella, 17 months
Where has your most memorable trip been? This is my first trip with Daniella but Mateo and I have been to a lot of countries together. I suppose because this is my initiation to travelling with two children, our recent trip to Europe now tops the chart. 🙂
From Manila we flew into Paris and stayed for 5 days, took the TGV Lyria train to Geneva, flew via EasyJet to Bologna where we rented a car to go around its agro-tourism area and historic center and so we could drive to Padua and to Venice. From Venice we took another flight to Amsterdam, which was our last stop for the 15-day trip. This is where we flew home to Manila from.
Tips on visiting the Louvre with kids
1.) Pre-purchase tickets online and print (kids 0-12 no charge).
2.) Choose a date when the museum
has extended night hours from 5-9pm and go after 5pm. We were able to do this and there was no crowd at all that we had front-row view of the usually overcrowded Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa.
3.) Plan your route well around this massive site so you don’t go back and forth. Two hours should be enough for an 8 year old. Be prepared to carry stroller on some steps.:)
Which hotels would you recommend as family-friendly?
I loved our hotel experiences in:
1.) Geneva at La Barcarolle Hotel
It is a small, four-star hotel in Prangins, Switzerland with a Michelin-award winning restaurant. We arrived close to 10pm and their kitchen had already closed but they still willingly whipped up pasta, soup and some Croque Monsieur for our party of 13.
Also, the hotel staff WAS very understanding towards the only (running, screaming, loitering) children in the area and there were FOUR of them — ages eight, seven, three and one!
2.) Bologna at Locanda Gli Ulivi
This family-owned bed-and-breakfast is nestled between hills of vineyards and farms. They had a pool overlooking the hills and enough of open space for the kids to play in supervised. I had my best Italian meal here: home-cooked, fresh and served with their own wine!
Tips on Travel with Kids:
- Skip Venice. Too many bridges and canals for little feet and parents who have to babywear while also carrying luggages and strollers! LOL.
- Bring your own garbage bag, water bottle and lots of snacks on the plane for long-haul flights and in your bag for those long, touristy walks. We loved having packets of nuts, dried fruit and a big bottle of Bobble Sport http://www.waterbobble.com/bobble-sport-water-bottles that we could refill with water (almost) anywhere in Europe.
- Plan your itinerary but be prepared to just scrap it. Planning allows you to pinpoint the areas you want to explore for the day so you don’ t waste time walking aimlessly or taking unnecessary train/bus/tram rides. Kids can only take so much of museums and churches so don’t expect to spend lots of time in them (boohoohoo!) and give them lots of time to run around and play in parks/fields that you might chance upon. Or, just plan to spend half the day outdoors with enough food for a picnic the way we did on our last day in Amsterdam. We took advantage of the lush, green park and the fantastic weather. 🙂
- Everyone go potty right before leaving the hotel and every chance you get without needing to pay. 😀
- If you have a baby, breastfeed. Enough said.
Jen Mayuga Cruz is one of the founders and managing partners of SESOU Nature Source, a chain of retail stores for everyday green living. She has been a homeschooling mom for five years who feels that, because she is relearning and unlearning in the process, she is as much a student as she is a teacher.