going ALONE with 2 kids, advice please!

Oct 20th, 2000, 11:28 AM
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going ALONE with 2 kids, advice please!

I am going to France next June with my two boys who will be ages 14 and 5. I'm going alone, without my husband, for the first week and 1/2, mainly for airfare reasons. AM I CRAZY? Besides that general question, should I fly from the west coast into Paris, get a nice apartment/hotel and stay a couple days (Paris alone with 2 boys????) then go to Nice (my destination for the trip), or is it better in this situation to just bypass Paris, fly into Amsterdam ( a little cheaper deal) and catch a connector right to Nice and go straight away down to Nice, and stay in a hotel or chambre d'hote there. (by the way, I get terrible jet lag, and I have not been to France since "77) A few days after I arrive, the little townhouse I rented in the region will be ready. I'd love some "traveling alone with hyper-boys" advice, as well as the specifics above. A final note, I love reading the stuff on this site...it is soooo helpful.
Oct 20th, 2000, 03:32 PM
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Get the 14-year-old involved in planning the trip from the start. Read the book Take Your Kids to Europe. Pack no more than you can get into one carry-on-size rolling bag and one backpack/tote per person. NO EXCEPTIONS. Put the 14-year-old in charge of helping the 5-year-old up and down stairs, escalators, etc. with his bag. You are not crazy. The three weeks I spent in Europe with my three kids (sans hubby for all but 9 days) were some of the best times we've ever had. Would not have missed it for the world. My two boys are hyper too (14 and 11 at the time) but somehow being in a foreign country where everyone was speaking a different language athey couldn't read the signs was somewhat intimidating to them and they realized that I had all the maps, all the knowledge and all the power to get them safely from place to place and back home again and they were exceedingly respectful. Build in some time to blow off steam--amusemant parks, beaches, or just parks if you can. Don't bog them down with back-to-back cathedrals and museums. Allow them some input in where they go and what they do, but don't be afraid to say to them "This is my once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe, there are some things I have always wanted to see, and by God I will see them and you will see them with me whether you like it or not." Apartments are a good idea with kids. You can save money eating breakfast in instead of going out and you can pick up yogurt, rolls, cereal, etc. at the corner store. Many apartments come with laundry facilities which will help you stick to the one-suitcase-and-a-backpack rule. I have never been to France, but if you have any other questions about travel with kids in general, just ask.
Oct 20th, 2000, 03:35 PM
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Oh, and before you fall asleep exhausted every night, write down what you did that day for the kids and type it up neat when you get home and put it away for them. They WILL appreciate it in the future.
Oct 20th, 2000, 03:38 PM
jo ann
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Hmmmm, looks like no one wanted to touch this (it's #46 now), so some comments even if only to get it back to the top for you.
We took our then-10 yr old daughter to Paris & other parts of France summer '99, and she loved it. she also had ideas ahead of time (early 4th grade) of her own must-sees in Paris. So, what does your 14yr old think? Has he seen the Eiffle Tower, ridden a Bateau down the Seine, eaten frites, tolerate museums, etc? Does he care? There are loads of posts on here already about parks, etc, for all of you, and especially the 5 yr old.
Also: how much luggage will you be moving? I personally can't imagine going from the west coast all the way to Nice (has to be several airport transfers in there; where would you encounter customs?) and I get only minor jet lag on arrival. Must be lots of hours, guaranteeing that you and the kids will be getting a trifle grouchy well before setting down in that little chambre d'hote. While I would personally head to Paris first,the tactical problems of moving lots of "stuff" could indicate though that you should indeed head straight to Nice, rather than to Paris, unpack, settle, repack, back to airport, do it all over again to get to Nice. (Plus, if you're going solo ahead of spouse to save on airfare, and if Amsterdam route is cheaper, maybe that's what your mind is telling you to do?)
Oct 20th, 2000, 04:23 PM
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I would NOT recommend flying into Paris for just a couple days given your ultimate destination, and especially not trying to rent an apartment for two days (to be honest, I don't think anyone will rent you an apt for two days, anyway) at the beginning of your trip. I would have said that anyway, but even more when you said you get terrible jet lag. Your first couple of days will not amount to much anyway, getting settled and acclimated. If anything, it would be a LOT more sense to fly to Amsterdam and stay there for a couple days at the beginning of your trip. In fact, now that I think of it, that might be a good idea. YOur first day will not be so long and it will help you adjust to Europe easily as Amsterdam is fairly small and English is widely spoken, and there isn't really that much to do there anyway, so you don't have to feel guilty if you just take it easy and maybe see Anne Frank's house and the Rijksmuseum and walk around. Since you are going to be in France so much anyway, I think it would be a nicer contrast.
Oct 20th, 2000, 05:48 PM
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Just a little story to make you feel better, and put this in perspective.
When my best friend was 7 months pregnant, she flew from Nepal to Australia, with her 2 yr. old ,to join her husband and have her baby.
When her baby was 6 months old, she flew back to Nepal, with 2-1/2 yr. old and new baby, NO husband!
She packed up their house, got on a plane with stuff, 2 yr. old and new baby.
Flew to India, then to France, and then to New York, all with no husband!

So, whenever I have had to travel alone with my children, I think of my friend.
It may or may not help you.
But, consider how different your trip will be!
And your 14 yr. should be somewhat of a help with the 5 yr. old.
Have a lot of fun!

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