How to Travel Through Europe With Kids

How to Travel Through Europe With Kids
Planning is the key to successful travel in Europe with kids. Teach your children what to expect in terms of language, food and activities. Share some history of the locations you will visit. You want them to be excited to visit the palace, cathedral or museum, and look for some of the features you've shared with them. You also want to include some exercise in your travel; for example, biking in the Netherlands or finding your way out of a maze in a garden in England.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Map of Europe Guidebooks DVDs on Travel to Europe Calendar Pencil Computer with internet access Language books or computer-aided language training software Books or movies with the countries you will visit as the location.
  • Map of Europe
  • Guidebooks
  • DVDs on Travel to Europe
  • Calendar
  • Pencil
  • Computer with internet access
  • Language books or computer-aided language training software
  • Books or movies with the countries you will visit as the location.
Step 1
Plan the trip allowing everyone's input. Provide guidebooks or DVDs of the countries you are planning to visit. Use the internet for research. Require everyone to make a list of the places they want to visit and the actives they would like to do. Then work out a schedule that will accommodate at least something on everyone's list. Mix up the activities a little. If you have spent a day visiting churches or museums, add a picnic in a park or visit a ski slope or a beach the following day.
Step 2
Teach the children a few polite phrases for the countries you will be visiting. Being able to say hello, goodbye, thank you, please and you're welcome go a long way in building confidence in your children and ingratiating you and your children to the people in the country you are visiting. Depending on the time available beforehand, even more vocabulary can be incorporated.
Step 3
Find books and movies that have as a backdrop the country and cities you plan to visit. For example: if you are visiting Spain, the story of El Cid, or Man of La Mancha might make good viewing. If you are visiting Italy there is a wealth of books and movies including the Agony and the Ecstasy and Three Coins in a Fountain. For Austria, the Sound of Music is the classic. Younger children going to France may want to read the Madeline books, or Linnea in Monet's Garden.

If you are planning to visit art museums, review some of the artwork they may see beforehand.
Step 4
Make travel fun. Find exotic ways to get from one location to another. Take a ferry boat ride from Finland to Sweden and sleep on it overnight, saving money as well. An overnight train with the pull-down bunk beds is quite an adventure. Consider a barge trip down the Rhine.

Give every child take a backpack full of activities for travel, reading books, activity books, iPods, playing cards, handheld video games, snacks and water. Be careful of crayons as they melt in the heat.
Step 5
Encourage children to broaden their horizons with foreign food, but allow an occasional meal at an American establishment, like the Hard Rock Café. Here they will find ice in the soft drinks and Heinz ketchup served. Consider breakfast at a local bakery where they can see what they are selecting and buy bread, cheese and fruit for a picnic at a local park or beach.

Tips & Warnings

Record the trip. Give each child a camera, if only a disposable one, to take the pictures that they find interesting. Have the children keep a journal to write about their impressions of what they are doing and seeing. Younger children may need to dictate their journal. In art museums, let your kids know that at the end they can purchase postcards of some of their favorite works of art. Not only will that provide incentive to study the art, it will start a collection of artists for them to remember.
Be flexible. Despite the best planning, not everything will work out to your expectations. If you have overplanned, and have an exhausted family, remove some items or add more down time. Also feel free to adjust your schedule to visit some of the attractions you find along the way and eliminate others that don't seem as exciting as they did on paper.

Article Written By Lynn Farris

Lynn Farris has been conducting management studies, writing technical articles and contributing to local newspapers since 1984. Having traveled throughout the world, Farris now lives in Costa Rica, teaches English and writes a column for the "National Examiner" on Costa Rica. Farris holds a Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Arts in speech communications and psychology from Case Western Reserve University.

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