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Old 01-01-2011, 08:21 PM
 
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I'm looking for input/experiences from those that have traveled with a small child similar to my circumstances.

I'm planning a trip to Europe this year. My child will be between 12-15 months at the time. I plan to go for 12-16 days. Big details have not been decided such as exactly where and when.

What I'm trying to figure out is the following:
1) How did you handle air travel with a child that young (8 hour-12 hour flight)?
2) What types of things can't you do with a small child (example: did you go to museums, how did that go? - Are there "family friendly restaurants?" That's a general question for European travel.
3) Would it be a disservice to the child to go on such a trip?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-01-2011, 08:39 PM
 
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
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Another crying baby on a flight.. yay
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Old 01-02-2011, 04:51 AM
 
Location: on an island
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I took our toddlers on cross-country trips (Grandparents wanted to see them) but never overseas. You can't reason all that well with a 15 month old, but you can be prepared and be as patient as possible. The only time my kid cried was during descent, it hurt his ears.

A couple years ago we were on a flight from Paris with a German woman and her 18 month old. The kid whimpered a bit but never cried once; she was so involved with him and so patient, though she did have to gently say the occasional "Nein" as they walked up and down the aisle of the plane.

It always seemed like my kid would not decide to nap until the landing gear came down and we were arriving at our destination.

Inevitably we'd be delayed by a spring snowstorm (we lived in Denver.)
There were a lot of boardbooks read, a lot of toddling around the airports just to let him stretch his legs and see the sights.

Is this kind of travel doing the child a disservice? Well, yes and no.
It's good for children to learn how to travel, but it's not always the easiest environment for someone that age. What matters is how prepared you are and what kind of coping skills you have.

Train travel is good because then the child can get up and walk around.
Family restaurants are desirable, for obvious reasons. This should not be a big problem in Europe.
A 15 month old is not going to be avidly interested in the British Museum.
A 15 month old might enjoy strolling past Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park on a Sunday afternoon.
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Old 01-02-2011, 04:57 AM
 
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I would delay that trip until your child is old enough to enjoy it. That's a tough age to travel with--they are into everything and it's hard to childproof a hotel room. A child that age wants to go-go-go and putting them onto a plane for that long or taking them into museums where they can't touch anything to satisfy their natural curiosity isn't fair to the child or your fellow travelers.

Unless the purpose of your trip is to travel to visit relatives with short day trips from their home and most meals eaten in their home, I don't see the point of going now. Most children begin to travel well once they hit six years old. Wait until then, that way they'll actually get something out of it other than having their routine messed up and being fairly miserable for two weeks while mom and dad indulge themselves.

And if your child hasn't flown before, I'd strongly suggest a fairly short domestic flight to test the waters before you commit to something that long. Some kids are great on planes, others turn into mini-monsters. As the previous poster mentioned, you can't reason with a 15 month old.
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:49 AM
 
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It can go either way, with the possible outcome being a lot of money wasted on a trip you didn't enjoy.

The biggest problem with travelling with a child so young is that it limits how much you can do in a day greatly. We've travelled all over the world with ours since they were babies but we always stayed somewhere we could reach easily while out so they could nap, we ate our meals according to their schedule and then were in for the night at their usual bedtime. Which meant a lot of scrabble and watching movies!
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Old 01-03-2011, 06:09 AM
 
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Thanks for the input. I'll put all that into consideration.
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Old 01-09-2011, 07:54 PM
 
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Do us all a favor---don't.
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Old 01-10-2011, 03:11 PM
 
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We went to Italy with our children when they were 18 months and 5 1/2.

Everyone told us not to do it, but it was either not go or take them with us.

IT WAS AMAZING.

Yes the flight over was hard, and the jet lag on the first day was difficult. Otherwise, it was perfect.

Italy is a great choice with kids because the Italians love children and the food is very child friendly. Every kid likes pizza, pasta, and ice cream.

That age is still good because the child is still willing to be in a stroller. Here are some of the things our 18 month old really liked....

Seeing all the fountains in Rome. Taking the train. Riding the gondola in Venice. Having picnics. Riding the ferry to Portofino and seeing all the boats. Riding bicycles (in a baby seat) all around Lucca. Going to parks, like the Pinnochio park (not our fav, but the kids liked it). We did things like each place we went to, we got a souvenier...we got keychains...it gave the kids something to hunt for. Children at age 1 really like being with Mommy and Daddy, so they just like to hang out with you!

Europe is so much more than museums! Think about what the Europeans do with THEIR kids, and then do those things. You still get to experience the ambiance, the architecture, the food the food the food, the people watching, etc.

I've been to Europe 10 plus times, 9 times just with DH...and my favorite trip was the one with the kids. It was just so magical seeing it with them.

The 5 1/2 year old remembers it now at 8, and we all cannot wait to go back.

Last edited by calgirlinnc; 01-10-2011 at 03:21 PM..
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Old 01-10-2011, 03:19 PM
 
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Another suggestion:

Rent a house/villa or something where you can have a "home base"....that way you can have seperate rooms, your own kitchen, a washer and dryer hopefully (so handy with little ones)!

We rented a villa in Tuscany for a week....we took day trips out to the surrounding sites, and had a beautiful 3 bedroom house with its own gardens. We ate a lot of meals at home, perfect for breakfast especially. You have fridge for the little one's milk, etc. Then we could put the kids to bed at their regular time and stay up ourselves, drinking wine and reading or watching TV.

A car was a necessity for this. Turned the car in....

Then we went to Rome for 4 nights, rented a 2 bedroom apartment there, same thing only we did a lot more sightseeing.

You could do this in virtually any country...England or Germany would be good choices also. I hear France is not as kid friendly.

Our 18 month old would walk down the streets of the charming Tuscan villages just saying hello to whomever walked by...everyone loved it.

Also, when we were landing in Italy, our 5 year old shouted out the plane window, "Buon Giorno, Italia!" and the other passengers CLAPPED.

HAVE FUN...you only live once.
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:14 PM
 
Location: Rochester Hills, Mi
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I took my 14 month old son to Heidelberg area of Germany and Prague for 10 days. 1st week hubby was in training classes so I went out each day BY MYSELF--and I was also pregnant (3 mos) with #2. I flew out by myself. We got delayed on the tarmac to take off DS cried the entire time--I was mortified because he had flown several times before without a PEEP when he was much younger. As soon as we started to taxi he fell asleep and pretty much slept thru the entire flight to Frankfurt. I do rec. some benadryl (but test it first some kids have the opposite reaction)

Our small wheel strollers and the trains/cobblestones DO not agree with each other but not sure that buying a pram for a vacation is cost effective. I found that I changed diapers in strange places-and sometimes you have to pay to get into a bathroom-many times the stroller wouldn't fit in the bathrooms, lots of small doorways/aisles and steps to get around the shops. It isn't very handicapped friendly which makes it easy for us to get around with our strollers in the USA.

I bought a $20 collapsible booster seat/inflatable that they have at Target so it was lightweight and portable. However most places had high chairs. I also enjoyed checking out the local grocery stores for baby snacks.

Our kids go with the flow and go where we go. At that age they don't really have opinions. Mine have learned to nap any place/any time. We did museums, zoos, old castles, boat rides, trains, walking tour of Prague, other than staying out late and drinking heavier/partying/occasional casino I didn't do anything different than our vacations before kids.

If they get fussy sometimes you have to step out and let them work thru it then resume what you were doing.

Diapers in Prague were more like pullups-we ran out on our last weekend. So you may not find exactly what you are used to at home but you adjust and the kids are just fine. It is all part of the adventure! I would do it again in heartbeat!

The pictures of my son walking around Rotenburg chasing birds in the central market area and eating gelato are the best and make me smile every time! Playing in the fountains in Stuttgart, his excitement crossing the bridge in Heidelberg--your attitude can make something that might normally be simple to your child--fun and exciting!

I say GO! Just be flexible and throw schedules out the door.
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