How to Travel to Europe  Comfortably with a Toddler

How to Travel to Europe Comfortably with a Toddler

July 18, 2013 0


On our recent trip to Greece so many people were amazed that we were taking an unconventional trip with our one year old. After all, an all-inclusive trip would have been much easier, right? But I rarely go for easy, and I really wanted some adventure, so Greece it was!

Here are my travel lessons I learned that can make for an easy & enjoyable European vacation with kids: 

Take a Baby Backpack

Having traveled a fair amount, and being aware that islands and smaller towns (and as it turns out Athens as well) may not be “stroller friendly”, my husband and I went to Mountain Equipment Co-op and bought a travel backpack, that sits your baby in it comfortably. Now, this may not be the coolest thing out there, but when I saw families sweating, grunting and wrestling with strollers up archeological sites and teeny tiny staircases, I was thrilled that we had spent $100 on our baby backpack. It also had a little stand at the back, so when you went to a cafe or restaurant without a highchair – which was everywhere in Madrid- Sephora could sit in the backpack and eat with us at the table. Since we’ve outgrown our Baby Bjorn, this was a MUST for our trip, and I would get one of these before taking a stroller any day if I were to do this trip again (The only downside was that it really wasn’t conducive to getting dressed up and going out to nice restaurants, so we were very casual on this whole trip).

Get Your Kids Comfortable with Adult & Exotic Food

I’m thrilled to have a daughter that will eat pretty much anything. Fruits, vegetables, Serrano ham, calamari, Parmesan cheese…pretty much everything goes. This makes our life a complete breeze, since we don’t have to load up on kids food, and we can order 2 meals for everyone to share.

Get Good at Changing Diapers with Your Kids Standing Up

We’re not in Kansas anymore, and those fancy diaper changing tables with soft music, cute baby animal designs, and disinfectant wipes nearby simply don’t exist in the tiny cubicle bathrooms of Europe. Get ready for bright fluorescent lights, loud music, and grungy bathrooms with no extra room for a baby changing stand. Before going to Amsterdam last October I started changing my daughter’s diaper while she was standing up. She liked to keep on playing with her toys, and I thought it was easier than making her lie still for 2 minutes. When we were in Amsterdam it was an absolute blessing, and again in Greece it was a godsend. Start practicing now, and reap the rewards when you are on the road.

It’s OK to Miss a Few Naps, Or Adjust Your Schedule

Taking naps at the same time everyday would have meant a total lack of flexibility for our trip, which excites me not at all. So, when we discovered that Sephora could nap in the baby backpack for about 40 minutes when needed, we kept on doing whatever we were doing before, and enjoyed our travels. Every few days I would make sure that we were in our hotel for most of the afternoon, and the baby would sleep for many hours and catch up, but otherwise we all just went with the flow! (On these catch-up days my husband and I would take turns, with one of us in the hotel room, and the other by the pool, or nap in a cabana).

Don’t Weigh Yourself Down with Lots of Toys

You want to make sure your kid is entertained on your trip, but if you pack too much, your luggage will weigh a ton. This is particularly bad in the islands, where you need to haul your luggage up and down stairways (even if you’re staying at some of the nicest places). Instead, we packed a few keys toys, like our little Ikea monkey, and a few books, and the rest were impromptu toys that Sephora found along the way, like an empty mini shampoo bottle she played with for hours, my hairclips, and plastic spoons. May seem a tad bizarre, but I think she actually liked the non-toy toys, more than the actual toys.

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