Planning a Trip to Europe with Kids

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Tips and Advice for a Family Trip to Europe

You’re planning a trip to Europe this summer, with the kids. Or maybe you’re just at the I-can-dream-about-it-can’t-I? stage, where the spirit is willing even if the wallet hasn’t quite caught up. Either way, you want the trip to be a success on all fronts. Everyone, grownups and kids alike, should have a great time… while appreciating the art and history of Europe… and all without spending a fortune.

We traveled in Europe for four months, when our kids were 10 and 13, and are happy to share some of our best experiences to help you enjoy your trip and save money.  Here are five tips for planning before you go, and five more to help with your day-to-day logistics while you’re in Europe.

1. Push-Pin Planning

Your trip will be more interesting if you collect ideas for months before you go. Mount a large map of Europe on a piece of corrugated cardboard, and hang it on the wall in some well-traveled area of your house. Buy a small notebook and a package of push-pins, and number the pins, then invite everyone who enters your house to mark their suggestions on your map, with a corresponding entry in the notebook.

Patisserie in Paris, France.

Our son Sam, a Lego-addict, marked the original Lego Land in Denmark.  A friend stuck Pin #4 in Oslo, and jotted “great camping and Viking Museum with jumbo boats” next to #4 in the notebook. A neighbor stopped by to borrow a paint scraper, and made suggestions. Both our kids started paying attention to the geography of the map, as the possibilities in each country made the trip more real. By the time we left, we had some great ideas.

2. Think House, not Hotel

You could easily pay $300 a day for two modest hotel rooms at about 100 € each. Or, you could rent a two bedroom house or apartment for as little as $800 a week. Not only will you save money, you’ll have more room, a kitchen where you can do simply cooking and save on restaurant meals, and a special glimpse into local life.

With the internet, renting a house overseas is surprisingly easy. A few of our favorite Europe-wide sites are Flipkey Vacation Rentals (owned by Tripadvisor), www.iha.comwww.homelidays.com, www.interhome.com and www.holiday-rentals.com.

Or, consider a home exchange, and eliminate your housing costs altogether, by trading houses with a European family. Finding the location and timing you want can be tricky, but you’ve hit a home run if it works.  Take a look at www.HomeExchange.com, where you can browse for free.  (When I stopped by their website today, there were 1658 choices just in Paris!) If you find something you like, you can pay $9.95 for a month’s membership and get contact info for your favorite listings, to start lining up an exchange.

Especially if your kids are younger, staying in one house for your entire vacation can make life much easier – or if you’re staying a few weeks, pick a few different locations for a week each.

3. Hostels have Family Rooms

Maybe your kids are older and you want to see more of Europe, stay a day or two each place rather than a week (the minimum on most rentals and exchanges).  Consider youth hostels. No, you won’t be crammed into a giant single-sex dormitory, with backpacking strangers snoring next to you. One of the big secrets of European youth hostels is that around 80% have family rooms.

You’ll have your own private room, usually with two bunkbeds and a sink. A few newer ones have en suite bathrooms, but more often you’ll have to trek down the hall for the toilet or shower.  Hostels cost about $18-$20 per person per night, a considerable savings over hotels that can help your budget go a lot further – while also affording you some great opportunities to meet travelers from all over the world, in the hostel’s common rooms. Get info at www.hihostels.com.

4. Camping – without the Bugs and Tents

Our final tip on lodgings is to look at Europe’s campgrounds. While you may associate camping with mud, mosquitoes and cramped tents in the middle of nowhere, Europeans like campgrounds near cities and towns, and fill them with bungalows and multi-room mega-tents, with beds, refrigerators, and lots more amenities. Swimming pools, bistros, and other mix-with-the-locals facilities come along with the lodging.  The swankest campgrounds are called holiday camps – check out sites like www.keycamp.com and www.centreparc.com to get an idea of what you can expect.

Hostel and hotel in Denmark.5.  Travel Light

Limit each person to one carryon-size suitcase. If we did it for four months, you can do it too! You’ll see different people every day, so they’ll never know you’re wearing the same clothes over and over. We also recommend bringing:
• a small album of photos of your home and neighborhood, for making friends
• a few small presents – state pins or badges are good
• versatile toys, like Legos, that can be used over and over in new ways
• a small notebook, for each person, to use as a journal
• a small daypack for each person, for snacks, water bottle etc. on the road

Once you’re on the ground in Europe, the planning continues, from day to day. Here are five more of our favorite tips:

6. Follow the Leader

Allow each person in the family, in turn, to choose the day’s activities. On Tuesday, Dad picks the science museum, and everyone goes along, even though it sounds suspiciously educational. On Wednesday, 9-year-old Steve chooses to rent bicycles to the dismay of his parents, who haven’t biked in years. Mom opts for a cheese factory on Thursday, and the samples turn out to be delicious. On Friday, 13-year-old Beth calls for sleeping late, then visiting the flea market.

With this system, everyone gets exposed to new interests, you avoid the paralysis and lowest-common-denominator tendencies of group decision making, and everyone shares the work of planning – instead of all of it falling on one person’s shoulders (often Mom’s).

7. Art is Everywhere

Art appreciation can happen lots of places besides in stuffy museums where the kids have to be quiet. Walk down a canal in Amsterdam, and see how many types of gabled roofs you can spot. Make a photo collection of gargoyles. Visit an outdoor sculpture garden – preferably one where climbing is allowed!

If you do visit an art museum, try starting with the gift shop first. Have each person choose a few postcards of artworks that appeal to them, then set out to find each person’s “own” art.  Some museums have Treasure Hunt guides for kids, too.

8. Everyday Life is the Best Entertainment

Don’t get caught up in doing everything in your guidebook. One of our best days was spent at a small school fair in rural France. We loved the hotdogs, served with bearnaise sauce instead of ketchup, in a hollowed-out baguette instead of a bun. Sam won a prize at archery, and we marveled at the families vying to win rabbits… who would one day end up on the dinner table. We never made it to Euro Disney – in fact, we avoided most places with an entry fee.

Exploring a toy store in Germany, or a hardware store in Italy, can be fascinating.  Vying to find the most unusual snacks in the supermarket (shrimp-flavored potato chips, anyone?) can open everyone’s eyes to differences in local foods. Street fairs are everywhere, and it’s commonplace to pull along the side of the road and freely explore the ruins of a castle or a Roman aqueduct. Some of your best memories are not listed in any guidebook, and they’re often free.

9. Picnics Save Money

Plan to eat just one meal a day at restaurants, and you’ll save hundreds of dollars. If you’ve rented or exchanged a home, that’s easy – eat breakfast and dinner at home, and have your money-meal at noon, when you’re out sightseeing. If you’re staying at hotels, breakfast may be included; if it’s not, stop at a bakery for juice and a cheese-filled pastry, or grab yogurt and fruit from a convenience store. Have a big lunch out (restaurant meals are often cheaper at lunch, too) then picnic on a park bench at the end of the afternoon. Bars sell ready-made sandwiches, or you can enjoy the adventure of exploring a grocery store.

10.  If your Kid’s Picky – How to Avoid MickyLegoland in Denmark.

Kids can be picky eaters. So how do you get them to try new foods – and how do you counteract the magnetic attraction of McDonald’s? We found it useful to allow Micky D’s once in each country – we’d stop in, and make a game out of finding out how McDonald’s in Spain, for instance, is different from in the States. (That said, McDonald’s and other American fast food restaurants are a godsend when you need a bathroom in a hurry, so appreciate them for that!)

Most restaurants in Europe post their menu out front. Check to make sure there’s at least one choice that everyone could enjoy before picking a restaurant. Once inside, order a few “safe” choices and a few “adventures,” then share everything.  After living on French fries for the first few days, our kids soon started branching out, and I have fond memories of Sam (then 10) trying snails one night, poking with his tiny fork into the shells and saying, “Come on out, little guy!”

Have a great trip, and when you come back, share your experiences with us. Email me at cyn@TakeYourKidsToEurope – and we’ll post your ideas and tips on our blog at  www.TakeYourKidsToEurope.com. Bon voyage!

The Author: Cynthia Harriman, author of Take Your Kids to Europe

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54 Comments

  1. These are wonderful tips for families traveling to Europe! We have been on an open ended ,non-stop world tour as a family since 2006 & many of our 32 countries & 175,000 miles ( most overland) so far have been in Europe.

    We travel & live large on just 23 dollars a day per person. We’ve done everything from 5 star hotels to hostels, cargo ships to camels, but our main lodging AND transportation mode is by small motorhome.

    It is a fantastic way to see Europe with most campsites being 5 star resorts near all the sites with easy access via mass transit, biking or walking. Great for families as there is no packing & unpacking and almost all have kid’s clubs and great pools, restaurants, stores and beaches for after touring days.

    It’s a wonderful educational opportunity that will last you a lifetime!

    • What a wonderful adventure for your family!! May I ask who/where did you rent your motorhome in Europe? This idea really appeals to us. Thanks

    • soultravler3: I am very, very interested in your travels, planning, tips, ideas, anything! how do you do it on so little money? how did you decide to “leave it all behind” and travel the world? what a classroom for your kids. I am so interested in your travels, any information would be very appreciated.

  2. I loved reading this article I will be sure to tell my friends about this and link to it as well. Thanks :)

  3. Thanks for this nice Post. Our youth-travel hollidays last year in Spain and europe was amazing.

  4. What keeps our travel dreams on hold is flight cost? How do you cut that down?

    • Hi Loraine. I agree that’s a huge part of being able to travel – the initial cost of plane tickets. My biggest suggestion is to be flexible – as flexible as you can. The more you’re able to pick and choose from the different seat sales – whether it be the dates, the days of the week, the destination, or all 3 – the better the deal you’ll get.

      The good thing is that many places that require a bigger expense on the tickets side: Thailand, Vietnam, Greece, Turkey, Venezuela, offer great value to travelers. So once you’re there, if you really watch what you spend you can make that big expense up front pay off.

      Mexico is one place where you get both great deals on airfare and – if you stay away from the big tourist resorts like Cancun or Puerta Vallarta – you can still get great deals and very affordable accommodations.

      I’m currently writing a piece on finding great deals on air travel. I’ll be sure to send it to you once I’ve finished it.

      David

  5. Dear Friends, We are a family of 4 , 2 adults and 2 kids ( 16 & 8 ) from India.We plan to visit Europe in May 2013 for 10-12 days. My budget is around Euro 1250 per head. Total Euro 5000 . Can somebody please suggest some itineraries? This will be my first trip to Europe and any suggestions/advice are welcome.
    Best wishes.

    • Hi JV. If I had to suggest some spots it would probably be a route between 2 cities, say Paris and Rome (or Paris and Barcelona). Fly into one, take the train between them, and then fly out of the other if you’re able to – thus saving the time and expense of backtracking. My perfect trip would probably include a few days in Paris, followed by 2 or 3 days in the south of France. Then on to Florence or Siena. And finishing in Rome. If anything take a stop out before adding any more. Keep it simple and don’t rush and you should have a great time.

      Good luck.

      • Dear David,
        Thanks a lot for your comments. I really appreciate it. Any other suggestions/comments anybody.
        Best wishes to all

  6. This summer my Australian husband and I are moving from New Jersey to his native Australia with our two year old daughter. We have time, so we’re saving money and buying around-the-world tickets, planning on visiting Iceland, England, Spain, Italy, the Greek Islands, and South Africa before heading to Australia. This trip will probably take us about 8-10 weeks. We’re all pretty seasoned travelers and our daughter has flown many times, so we’re pretty cluey, but have never done anything of this magnitude with a kid involved. We’re interested in doing a blog about our preparations, the move, and of course, the trip itself, but we’ve never done one before and are looking for advice. Any tips on that?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Ashley. I’m going to be doing a blog post on this soon — as I get lots of questions on it — but here are a few quick ideas:

      - If you’re serious about your blog and about (maybe) putting some serious time and effort into it, then go with a WordPress self hosted blog. That means you’ll have to buy a domain, host it on a site (like Godaddy for example) and then use WordPress to run it.

      - On the other hand, if you just want a site for friends, family, and people you meet along the road, then blogger.com is perfectly fine.

      - Plan before you start blogging. There are lots of little decisions you’ll make along the way, and doing a little prep work (or a lot of prep work) before you start will save you having to tear things down and start again.

      I hope that helps, let me know if you have a specific question.

  7. Hi…I love travelling and so do my Family..We’ve done d entire India n Me n my husband have done few South East countries. I have two great daughters aged 10 and 8 Years and would want to take them out for the first time outside India..although they hav been to our neighbouring countries. It would be in Oct for 10 days Max and I would want to budget my travel..so that I can show them a new country every year..where in Europe would you suggest..that appeases to all and make memories ..and how much would be the budget and how can we make use of Eurorail ???

    • Hi Jaya. Train travel can be expensive in Europe so my first piece of advice – especially if you’re planning to return multiple times – is to focus on just one area, one country, or a couple of cities and keep the travel (and train ticket purchases) to a minimum. Generally the north and west of Europe are the most expensive countries. As you move south and east things are cheaper – often much cheaper. Greece might be a good first trip (http://greekido.com/best-greek-islands-vacation-kids/). The islands are great to visit and kids love the ferry trips. Greece is much cheaper than, say, France or Spain, (though not nearly as cheap as it was 10 or 20 years ago), and you can often find great deals on flights between Athens and Mumbai or Delhi. I hope that helps a little. Good luck.

  8. Hi. My husband and I have decided to take our 4 kids (13,12,11 and 9) to the UK and Italy, Spain and Belgium (family connections) for 9 weeks beginning in March this year. We are still undecided on the best mode of transport – trains/public transport seem too expensive, car ok but then we need to find accommodation; motorhome seems good option but so large and very expensive …. ahh! Does anyone have any suggestions? We are happy to see less and experience more, and would love flexibility to change plans as we go… We have no experience of youth hostels or their cost/availablity, or of actually driving around in a motorhome – indeed of anything much! Ideally we would camp but feel the weather may be far too cold and maybe wet? Some may say we are travelling blind! thanks in advance for any comments.

    • When you factor in the costs and hassle of getting your own vehicle, I think the train would win out. The good thing is that you should be able to find great deals on hotels that time of year. Look for longer term options on vrbo.com or even airbnb.com. Good luck.

    • Hi Meg
      I have four children (17,12,10,6) and we are planning our trip 2014 , would love to hear how your trip went with a large family .
      Cheers
      Rae

  9. Travelling to Europe with kids aged 4 and 2. Landing in London.Planning to spend a few days there. Following that, fly to Florence and take day trains to Pisa, Milan, Rome. How does that sound? Any other ideas?

  10. Hi
    I love this website. I have been trying to figure out how to start of a 6 week long trip for myself, my partner & our 2 children (5 & 12) to Europe/UK in Oct/Nov 2013 and I keep coming back to this website for advice & tips, its so informative, so thank you.
    However, I’m still confused as to what the best route/mode of transport we should take from NZ. We want to be in Scotland around 10th November for my partners grandmothers 80th and the other places we want to visit include London, Devon, Paris, South France, Barcelona & Gibraltar, Italy (prob just west coast places like Rome etc).
    We thought we could fly from New Zealand to Italy, France or Spain and move up towards England & Scotland but thought we would fly into Scotland or England, leave some gear with family in either place & travel down to Europe and go to Scotland and fly out of Scotland or England again???
    Its so confusing, we want to do it on a budget and have started the process of looking for couch surfers but I’m still unsure how to get from place to place.
    Any help would be so greatly appreciated.
    Regards,
    Tania, John & Kids

    • The best way to save money is to travel around as little as possible. So with that in mind, the best budget route would be to fly into Rome (or maybe Paris, Madrid, or Barcelona), travel north to London and then Scotland, and then fly home from there. Rectracing your steps is costly. (You could also do this trip in reverse but the weather will be much nicer in Italy and Spain at the end of October rather than the middle of November.) I hope that helps. Good luck.

      • Thanks for your help :-)

      • Which would you suggest Lyon or Brittany?

        • For the kids Brittany.

  11. Hi,
    I am planning to travel to Europe for about 8 weeks this summer with my 4 kids (all under the age of 10), we’ve been to Europe before (France, Spain, Italy, Germany) and this time I was thinking of a more northernly pursuit. Any suggestions of places to see that the kids will enjoy? Thank you!

    • Hi Steven. Take a look at Europe with Kids – Where To Go. London in particular stands out as an awesome destination for families.

    • Hi Steven – we are looking to go to England, Italy and France next summer 2013. Our kids will range from 2.5 – 10yrs then, what are your top five tips for another family of four?
      Thanks
      Toni

  12. Hi David! We are planning a six week trip to Europe this coming June to July 2013. We are looking for the best options/itineraries for a large family of two adults and 6 kids ranging from 16 to 2 years old. I have looked at house/apartment rentals which seem to make more sense economically. Can you please suggest an itinerary and transportation modes that will be convenient/less costly for all of us? We want to go as many places as possible but would also want to be realistic about it. Thanks in advance!

    • I’d pick out 8 or 10 places that you really want to see and then try to develop a line through a majority of them that starts and ends at different major cities. Fly into the first one and fly out of the last one. You save time and money by not backtracking. If it were me going on my first trip to Europe I’d start in Paris, train to Barcelona, then train to Rome with stops in the Cote d’Azur and Florence along the way.

      Train is usually always the best way to get around.

      hotelscombined.com is the best for finding hotel deals.

      http://vrbo.com is good for apartments and houses.

      Good luck.

  13. Hi,
    My husband and i want to take our 2 children (boy 14, Girl 11) for a trip around Europe this year for our Annual holiday.
    We live in the midlands in England and were planning to take the Euro tunnel over to Calais in our own car and then travel Europe.
    we would like to do this on a budget and see as many countries as we can including the south of France and Italy.
    Can anybody suggest any tips or routes that they think would benifit us on our trip ,or places to stay or infact you think travelling in our own car will not be cost affective.
    Many Thanks

    • Unless you’re traveling for more than 3 or 4 weeks I would suggest finding some cheap flights to Paris, Rome, Barcelona, or anywhere around Europe that you want to go. For example, if you wanted to see Barcelona, south France, and a bit of Italy, I would fly to Barcelona, train along the coast of France to Rome, and then fly home from there. If you really want to take in a lot of spots and are going on an extended trip then the car could save you some money. But a shorter trip that hits just 4 or 5 spots is probably cheaper with a combination of train and plane. I hope that helps. Good luck.

      • Im travelling to europe from canada August 2013, flying into paris (4 days) then travelling to barcelona( 3 days) rome for (7 days)

        I have flights to paris and from rome also all hotels booked, but am wondering whats the best (economical) way to travel from paris to barcelona and barcelona to rome.
        We are a family of 5 ..2 adults and 3 children aged 14 , 12 and 7

        thanks
        n

        • Train is the funnest way to travel but flights often turn out to be cheaper (and obviously faster). Use http://www.airninja.com to find the budget airlines for the routes you need. But remember that many budget airlines depart from smaller airports that are often well outside the city center, so be sure to factor the time and expense of getting out there when comparing to taking the train which will leave from a terminal within the city.

          Good luck.

  14. We are wanting to take our kids out of school for a period of 1-2 years and possibly place them into a school somewhere in Europe. Public or international school we are not quite sure. Where would be the easiest place for children aged 7 & 9 from Canada best integrate into? Would probably have to take our two dogs, so can a person rent homes in the countryside that accept pets? Just looking for some ideas that would be best for the kids and from there we could use it as a base to explore the remainder of Europe. Thanks for any suggestions.

    • There are lots of great places and fantastic international schools all over Europe. The biggest difficulty will be securing a visa for that long (unless you have EU passports, but it doesn’t sound like it). Without a visa you can only spend 90 days in any 6 month period in all the Schengen countries (basically Western Europe and Greece). That’s 90 days total, not in each one.

  15. Hi David,
    My husband and I want to take our 2 children (Girl 8 and Boy 5) for an 8 – 12 week trip around Europe in June / July / August 2013.
    Obviously we would like to do this on a budget (more than likely family rooms in hostels) starting in London and working our way down through France, including Madrid (friend to visit), South of France and Italy possibly Croatia and back again to London (not sure via which countries at this stage) – would this be enough time?
    We are not too sure whether car, train or campervan would suit best to be able to do the major cities without having to rush from one city to the next. Any advice appreciated. BTW great informative site thank you.

    • Yes, I think that would be enough time. Croatia might be pushing it a little but then you could go north and return through Austria and Germany which would be fun. Most people plan to do too much and don’t leave enough time but I think 8 to 12 weeks to cover that territory will give you a good cushion to explore all (or at least some) of the sidetrips and smaller attractions that never make it into a hurried itinerary.

      If you’re thinking about doing a campervan these sites might help:
      http://www.europebycamper.com
      http://europebycampervan.com/van
      http://wherevertheroadgoes.com/2011/04/06/meet-the-van

      But otherwise a mix of train and budget flights (for the longer legs) would be easy and fun.

  16. Hi
    I’m planning a europe trip for my family (2 adults & 3 kids 7-9-10yrs). We will be travelling from cumbria in the UK and plan to see Paris, Geneva, Marseille, Barcelona, San sebastien, La Rochelle and Normandy before going home (all in all 3 weeks!) We had planned on taking our car, use the ferry crossings at Dover and Calais and we plan to either use hostels and camp. Do you think planes and trains would be a more economical way to travel? And are there any places you would recommend which would be great for the kids instead of the above mentioned?
    Thank you

    • That sounds like an awesome itinerary. There’s always more to see but I think those are great choices. I often recommend flying to save time and money but I think with what you have planned (especially with the camping) then taking your own car should work well and be a great way to keep costs down.

      Good luck.

  17. Hi David,
    Your site is fantastic and I’m glad I found it.

    I’m 21, and my family has put me in charge of planning our 18/19 day trip to Spain, Italy and France. We are planning on visiting Barcelona, Madrid, Alicante, Rome, Porto Recanit and Paris.

    We have home bases in Madrid and Porto Recanti (family, and we’ll be lodging there for a few nights). I was curious if you would recommend, if we start in Spain or Italy? What should we consider as a form of travel between the countries on a budget, we’ll all be adults by then and don’t mind traveling in unconventional ways, its all part of the adventure.

    Also, any recommendations as to what things in those cities most people tend to miss?
    (We’ll be there flying out of MCO on either 5/28/13 or 6/3/12 with 18 nights. What do you think?)

    • Hi Juan. Firstly I would recommend flying into and out of different cities so that you don’t have to backtrack. It saves time and money. Maybe fly into Paris and fly home from Rome. It might cost a little more for the air tickets but it’s easily made up for by the return trip (e.g. from Rome to Paris) and hotel/lost time.

      I’d take the train between the major cities. It probably won’t be worth it buying a eurail pass. The cheapest way to buy tickets is through each individual country’s train website – so don’t book through the more general Eurail site. Italy’s website, in particular, offers good rates.

      Hope that helps.

  18. Hi David, my husband and 2 kids (8 and 10) are planning a holiday to France this summer. We thought we would fly into Paris, rent an apartment for 2 weeks and then travel south for the remaining 2 weeks. Any suggestions on an itinerary of where we should go in the south, a great “home base” where we could take day trips and still enjoy the beach? Also, any tips on finding great but also budget friendly short term accommodations? Any ideas would be great!
    Thanks,
    Carmen

  19. Hi David,

    I am glad I found you site, as planning a trip without any advise is so complicated. Every package/ deal offered is different and so are the cost and believe me it does not help!

    We as a family ( 2 adults & 10 yrs kid) are planning an Europe trip from Dubai this summer for 10 days..Our main aspect is to cover Disneyland for 2-3 days as my little one is very keen to see it. Appreciate if you could suggest a suitable itineray that will cover other places (Zurich, Rome, Italy, Paris, Geneva) along with Disneyland and that is cost effective too.
    In addition seek you valuable suggestion on budget friendly hotel/ hostel that offer family rooms.

    • First off, the more you travel the more you’ll spend. There’s the cost on travel itself plus the longer you’re in one place the more your costs tend to come down. You get comfortable with an area, find the grocery store, the cheaper restaurants, a place to eat a picnic. The faster you’re moving about the more compromises you make and say, “Oh, lets just eat at that place over there – I’m tired, I don’t care how much it costs.”

      If it were me I’d head from Paris to South France for a few days and then onto Rome for the final 3 or 4 days and fly home from there.

      Hotelscombined.com is the best website for finding discounted hotels throughout Europe. It searches every other major (and minor) site and gives you a list of available rooms and prices at each website.

      Good luck.

  20. Hi David. Great site by the way. We are a family of 2 adults, 2 kids (13 & 15) from Australia and want to experience our first white christmas Dec 2013. Was thinking Europe for 3 weeks. Was hoping to spend New Years Eve in Paris. As we have never been to Europe is it better to cruise or not. Wanting to see Paris, Rome, Italy, Venice, Greece. Friends have also said Austria is great for the Christmas festivities and spirit. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks

    • Hi Fiona. That sounds great. I would not do a typical sea-cruise – getting around by train is much more interesting. Though a river or canal cruise would be cool (more info here.) But they won’t be running nearly as often in winter. Good luck.

  21. Hey there, I am taking my family of 3 (myself, spouse, 10 year old girl) to Northern Italy (1 week), Switzerland (1 week), and France (1 week). Then the little girl is flying back home, and the spouse and I are going to Netherlands (1 week), Gremany (1 week), and Southern Italy (1 week) (3 weeks for the daughter, and 6 weeks for 2 adults). Accomodations are all paid for, and a car is leased. So i’m wondering if you can suggest a budget per person per day (in Euros) that would be reasonable to have a good vacation. Thanks.

    oh…timeframe is last week in August till first week of October 2013. sorry, and thanks again.

    • There is a huge range of possible budgets. Since your accommodations and transportation are paid for it will primarily be your food, attraction entrance fees, and incidentals. You could get by on 100 euros a day but that could easily bump up to 250 euros a day without feeling like you’re being indulgent. Hope that helps.

  22. So just to clarify… Is that 100-250 euro per per person per day? Not 100-250 euro for the 3 of us per day! Thanks for all your help.

    • That would be for everyone. But there’s no upper limit. You could spend 250 euros a day per person with very little effort. Good luck.

  23. I’m an intern at a kid’s travel subscription site and these tips are great! I especially love #4, and hope to use it on our next family trip… It’s great to have variety and try new experiences that you might have not tried otherwise :)
    Cheers & happy travels!

  24. Hello David,

    Love the site!! It’s already provided us with some great ideas for our upcoming 18 day trip to Europe and the UK. in July 2014. As my wife and I have been to the UK before to visit family we wanted to experience something new as we take our children (12 -10) along for the first time. We are flying into Paris and home out of Dublin with stops planned for Belgium (Brussels and Bruges), London, Bath, Colwyn Bay (family) and then Dublin. We’re planning to use the high speed train between Paris-Brussels and Brussels-London. I guess my question would be…how long to spend in Paris/Belgium? Was thinking 4-5 nights in Paris, maybe 1 in Brussels and 2 in Bruges or visa versa on the last two. Any thoughts?

    • That sounds like a great trip. 4 to 5 days will be easy to fill in Paris – so I would stick with that. And yes, would probably recommend more time in Brussels than Bruges. (Read 25 things to do with kids in Brussels). Good luck.

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