I am so excited to share that this fall our little family will embark on our very first European adventure! We’re heading to five different countries for the entire month of October and doing it all with our toddler in tow. My husband’s job in aerospace has him travel quite often and when he said that he’ll get to go to Italy for a space conference we both knew we had to hit the ground running in planning it all. Not only that, but he gets to meet with various customers that’ll take us to London, Luxembourg, Bremen, and Paris. It’s going to be an awesomely long trip, but one that I know we’ll remember forever (and lots of pictures for Greyson to share when he’s older).
Preparing for this trip has been somewhat stressful moreso because of coordinating flights, hotels, Airbnbs, and trains. Then there’s the phone calls to ensure we have child accommodations such as cribs for each country we stay in – and finding out not all European hotels provide such things. But with all that being said, we’re so excited to share in this experience with Greyson and I’m sure we’ll learn a few things along the way in terms of traveling with a young child overseas.
With that said, many thanks to the hundreds of travel bloggers out there that are currently encouraging and inspiring me for our upcoming trip. Here are a few resources, tips and tricks, and stories I’ve found that have been really helpful in preparing us for this amazing European journey. It’s only proof that it, in fact, can be done and successfully so.
What to pack.
I’m obsessed with capsule wardrobes, especially for traveling. I think it’s awesome that people can create 30+ different outfits using the same basics and a few select accessories. With that in mind here are a few different inspirations I found for clothing as well as what to bring for baby Greyson during our flights.
Live Love Sara | Sara does an amazing job at keeping European capsule wardrobes simple when traveling abroad. Her styles are broken down between country and even time of the year. This one in particular is for Italy where we’ll be spending most of our time other than France.
Toddler Style | I found number of travel blogs that also keep packing clothing for children really simple: neutrals and preparing for weather. Because we’ll be jumping from colder cities like London, Luxembourg, and Bremen that are 60 degrees in the fall to cities like Trieste, Venice, and Paris that’ll be a bit warmer, we’ll need to invest in a good outerwear coat for Grey that can also be transitional. Weather, and being prepared for it, will be a huge help for us as a family!
Baby Gear | Another great tip when it comes to packing baby gear is to purchase a durable umbrella stroller. We have a jogger but by no means is that something we can easily fly or travel with. I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for something affordable but with durable wheels that will make walking on gravel, cobblestone, etc easy to do.
Flying internationally with a toddler.
Bravas in the Sun | I needed all the help I could get in terms of tips and tricks for flying 10+ hours with our little guy. Jenni’s post was super informative and I love learning from families who have found these recommendations to be tried and true. One thing I learned was that on some international flights provide cots for babies in their bulkhead rows! Although we’re lucky enough to fly business class, it was great to learn about all the different accommodations flights have for children.
My Baby Olive Juice | Jodi has the perfect list of things to bring to keep little ones busy! I love her recommendation for toddler-safe headphones and sticker pads! Greyson loves to keep busy and I would never have thought of sticker books if I didn’t read this post. Such great ideas and doesn’t require a huge bag of toys.
(European) Hotel Room Hacks
Trips with Tykes | This entire post is so helpful regardless of if you’re staying in a hotel domestically or overseas. I love her crib hack of placing it in the bathroom to create a quiet and dark space for children to nap. We’ve done it with Greyson on various trips and has been super helpful in getting him to sleep. But definitely bring your own sheets and comfort items like a blanket or stuffed animal.
KidCo Peapod | I first discovered this little tent-like toddler travel bed through a few travel blogs I read. It seems like an awesome piece of gear to have considering it folds up perfectly to fit in a carry-on and just pops open when you’re ready to use it. It’s a great option for getting your kids to sleep whether you have a layover at an airport or need them to grab a few ZZ’s on a train. I’d imagine it takes some time to train your toddler how to use one – my only worry is investing in it and Greyson not taking to it.
Have you heard of any success stories with the Peapod?
The number one thing I’ve read across all travel blogs is to remain flexible with the plan-making in whatever country we’re traveling to. It will oftentimes become too stressful to try and cram a bunch of things into a trip when on top of it all we’re getting adjusted to the culture, weather, and different time zones. There are maybe 1-2 different things I’d like to do in each country based on my Trip Advisor suggestions, but overall I’m excited to just “do what the Romans do” and enjoy the city we’re in – whether it be walking around, visiting museums, sipping coffee at a bistro, or running around with Greyson at a local playground. I’m just happy to take it all in!
Oh Joy! | Joy, who has traveled to Paris with her toddler, has wonderful tips for traveling abroad with a young child. I love reading posts like hers that give little insider nuggets about a given city – i.e. like most Parisian restaurants not having high chairs – because it gives you a lot to consider when packing and what to expect once you arrive. Thankfully we, like Joy, plan on taking our clip on high chair for instances such as these. I’d rather be prepared than stressed out.
He & I | Alexa runs her blog with her husband and has a wonderful post about traveling to Europe with a toddler – and even breaks it down into parts of before the trip, during the flight, and while in Europe. One major takeaway I had from her post was making sure to mix in kid-friendly activities with other adventures we have planned. Finding local playgrounds or places where Greyson can get the wiggles out will be crucial to maintaining happy moods throughout our trip for everyone.
And if you just are in need of life inspiration – that you can have a beautiful family and travel with your kids, Amber of Barefoot Blonde is the perfect lifestyle blog to follow. She encourages me in a way that makes travel something that can be enjoyable with the entire family – including TWO toddlers!
So hush to the naysayers or people who think European travel can’t be done – or are too afraid to try! I’m so inspired by all of these bloggers (and more) who constantly remind me that all things are possible and that we shouldn’t miss opportunities to share the world and it’s cultures with our little ones! At the very least Greyson will have plenty of photobooks of his adventures and timeless keepsakes and memories for us as parents.
So I have to ask, when’s your next adventure?
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