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Q for exp. travelers w/small children/babies

Q for exp. travelers w/small children/babies

Nov 27th, 2000, 06:18 AM
  #1  
Jeff
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Q for exp. travelers w/small children/babies

Traveled this year w/ a six month old to the Netherlands and Belgium. Looking at maybe traveling again to Europe when our son is 1 and 1/2. In addition to this year's trip, we've traveled to the Rhine and Rothenburg in Germany, Paris, and London (all before our son was born). My question is: Where have you been w/ a small child/baby and how was it? How old was your child and how did that work out? I'm looking for ideas of where to go and am looking to learn from your experiences. There is an anti-child traveler sentiment on this board and I would prefer they not respond here; provided, however, that if you actually traveled with a small child and would warn against some aspect of it, I would like to hear from you, too. Thanks!
 
Nov 27th, 2000, 09:31 AM
  #2  
Mary
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Hi Jeff,

My family spent just under a year living in Europe. We traveled extensively with our 4 children, the youngest of whom turned 1 just after we moved there.

Our one year old was a great traveler. We had taken a good quality baby back pack which we used 99% of the time. We also had a stroller, but we seldom used it. It was very inconvenient to navigate at most tourist sites and, frankly, our son preferred the back pack.

My youngest has a very laidback personality, not much fazes him, and I'm sure that has a lot to do with his being such a delightful traveling companion. Keep that in mind when thinking of traveling with a child that young. A child's personality can make all the difference when traveling! My son would doze in the back pack when he was tired; and if he didn't nap at all, he didn't turn into a grouchy monster, he just fell asleep earlier in the evening.

We went all over Europe and we didn't confine ourselves to child friendly attractions. However, we did visit many places that interested the kids also. And we became very familiar with the playgrounds across Europe!

One thing we didn't have to deal with that you may have to is jet lag. I don't have any good suggestions for dealing with that, except be flexible.

I know that there is a lot of anti- traveling-with-child sentiment at this forum, but my experience was, that although it is more work traveling with kids, it can be very rewarding. And it certainly broadened our children's perspectives beyond the suburban America that they're familiar with here at home.

I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, just post them.

Mary
 
Nov 27th, 2000, 10:58 AM
  #3  
Jeff
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Thanks, Mary. I've searched this site (and watched it and participated in the baby-child travel threads). I'm just trying to gather a little more info and recommendations (good or bad) regarding places to visit w/ a baby/child. Any places you thought were too busy or too difficult to manage while also managing children? Thanks again for your sage advice.
 
Nov 27th, 2000, 11:07 AM
  #4  
Getting Impatient
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Honestly, Jeff. What info are you hoping to get with this question? You say you have already traveled with your baby, and I know that you read the forum regularly. So what exactly hasn't been discussed that you think could benefit from another contentious dust-up?

Here's an answer: it depends on you, your child, and your itinerary. I'm not anti-child. Just anti-obvious-questions-from-people-who-ought-to-know-the-answer.
 
Nov 27th, 2000, 12:05 PM
  #5  
Jeff
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There was nothing "contentious" about my post. The anti-child sentiment is real (as you are likely demonstrating). I don't want inexperienced, opinionated anti-child Fodorites answering my post. I want someone who has experience -- good or bad --with traveling with children. You are the one "getting" contentious. I think the rest of us are "impatient" with the intollerant and often ignorant anti-child sentiment found on this post. Where does it say that one cannot ask questions relating to travel with children? I'm looking for some new and additional information, particularly regarding destinations. Please come back when you (a) have something constructive to contribute; (b) have the guts to post your real name/e-mail address; and (c) grow up. Thank you for your interest, now troll along.
 
Nov 27th, 2000, 12:06 PM
  #6  
Dawn
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Jeff, I am so happy to see there are people out there that like to travel with their children. I can not wait to do it myself. I have traveled with family members and their children to the UK and Central Europe and both trips were wonderful. Wouldn't trade them for anything. I think the memories that you gain by having them with you far outweights any inconvience of being there without them. I am now pregnant and can not wait to explore the worl with my baby. We do not have anything planned for this summer as I am due in March.

Jeff, do you mind if I e-mail you, to continue this discussion?
 
Nov 27th, 2000, 12:19 PM
  #7  
Jeff
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Dawn: Pardon the nastiness above. Congrats on the pending birth. By all means, e-mail me. Perhaps that is the only civil way to discuss this topic (unfortunately). I'd be happy to address any questions you have, but it sounds as though I may be able to learn from you. As you can see, I'm still trying to learn.
 
Nov 27th, 2000, 12:22 PM
  #8  
Jane
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The only advice I would give is to try to stay in one place for a week at a time, stay in an apartment, and take day trips. We started doing this when we starting travelling with our son and found out we like this arrangement as well. Family rooms at hotels tend to be crowded and don't allow for a lot of privacy (when son goes to bed, we all go to bed).

I've never travelled with a toddler, but I would suspect you would need to make sure you had disposable diapers available. Also, if your chld has some favorite food (cereal or peanut butter) take some of it along. We empty out a box of cereal into a zip-lock bag, take a small jar of peanut butter.

I absolutely think travelling with kids is great. You do interesting things that you wouldn't think of doing if you're travelling with adults only. You learn to relax and take it easy. Have fun!
 
Nov 27th, 2000, 01:02 PM
  #9  
david
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Having just endured a flight in which there was a screaming, fidgety child in front of me and behind me all in the name of "Thanksgiving" - I will put my two cents in for the anti-travel-with-a-young-child group. Why do parents insist on traveling with young children - do parents really think their 3 year old is going to remember? It's more than obvious when I see parents on vacations with young children that they have no choice but to bring along the children. Besides it being a huge coordination for the parents, the stress invariably is absorbed by the children resulting in crying jags that upset everyone else around. I don't have to be understanding and patient when your kid decides he wants to have a temper tantrum on a plane, in a restaurant, etc, etc, etc. Your child isn't the most precious, adorable thing in the world. Nothing turns my stomach more than having to listen to parents reduced to the same level of frustration as their child. If you and your husband need a vacation and can't' leave the kids behind, go to Disney World. Or stay at home (preferably in the suburbs) with the children until their old enough to appreciate travel and not cause additional unecessary stress for us who are traveling. Don't make your desire to reproduce my problem.
 
Nov 27th, 2000, 01:21 PM
  #10  
Marija
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David,
You were lucky you only had two screaming children. This fall there were 4 children under the age of 3 in business class on our European trip. Their parents (two sisters) thought it would be exciting for them to spend a week in France. The children screamed the entire night. They never all fell asleep at the same time. The stewardesses were very apologetic but there was nothing they could do, other than emphasize how cruel it is for children that young to be traveling. What a great start to our vacation!
 
Nov 27th, 2000, 01:38 PM
  #11  
JoAnn
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Jeff, if you are going to post on a FORUM, expect OPINIONS. I'll give you mine or where NOT to take your small child/baby: PLEASE do not impose on me your energetic, screaming child in a MUSEUM where ADULTS are enjoying an ADULT activity.
 
Nov 27th, 2000, 02:04 PM
  #12  
Buyer
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See what you have started Jeff. So, I am interested, why do you want to take your babies on a trip? Will they like it? Remember it? Is it for your benefit? Seems to me it would save you money and aggrevation, (not to mention your fellow traveller's like those above) if you left the kids at home, put the money you would have spent on dragging them round Europe into a college/travel fund that they could use when they are more grown up and have decided that there is something of interest to THEM worth seeing in the Paris.
 
Nov 27th, 2000, 02:27 PM
  #13  
Jeff
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How unfortunate it is that people cannot rationally discuss this topic. I requested, specifically, the input of those who have traveled w/children and/or babies. I solicited info on positive or NEGATIVE experiences. As I have already demonstrated, apparently to the horror of the anti-child-traveler group, I will take my child on vacation to Europe if I so please. Why can I not solicit information about such travels without hearing from a bunch of very negative, acidic (and usually anonymous) naysayers? Yes, I expect opinions (plus and minus), but would appreciate it if they were (a) constuctive and (b) in response to my original post.
 
Nov 27th, 2000, 03:07 PM
  #14  
Richard
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If you're looking for some controlled, tolerant environment - like David from above said - go to Disney World. Then you and your wife can be with other breeders and be tolerant and understanding of each other. I have the right to enjoy a relaxing vacation - not be made to pay attention to your child. In some Scandanavian countries it is common for parents to leave their children in their stollers OUTSIDE the restaurant - gee, I wonder why? Just remember, if you think you have the right to do as you please then I suppose I have the right do to as I want regardless of you and your child.
 
Nov 27th, 2000, 03:18 PM
  #15  
Diane
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Jeff, my husband and I spent one of the worst weekends of our lives with our 18-month old daughter, one summer at the beach. Normally a cheerful, easy going toddler, she simply was too excited to sleep. Anywhere. So, neither did we. The valuable lesson we learned? Toddlers and hotel rooms don't work well together. We discovered how much easier it was, when our son came along, to stay in a cottage or apartment. We learned to carry extra toddler cups and dinnerware, peanut butter and jelly, and instant chocolate for chocolate milk. Most of our trips were to visit Grannie & Pops, and were in the car. And we knew when we got there, we would have loving "babysitters" so that we could have a few wonderful nights out on our own. They grew into delightful travellers, and we even had no problems on flights once they were old enough to understand what was going on, and what was expected of them. That wasn't until our son was about 3. That's my advice -- take it or leave it.
 
Nov 27th, 2000, 03:29 PM
  #16  
Buyer
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So Jeff, you still did not respond to my question? Why do you want to take those babies with you? As an adult, one of the downsides of travel is being exposed to a bunch of germs that my body is not used to, when my resistance is down due to water and food that I am not acclimated to, and time zone variations that also tend to cause havoc with the system... so please let me know why it is desireable to take your babies on a trip to Europe and expose their baby immune systems to bacteria, smog and people who don't want them around? If you can give me a resonable response besides, "If I want to that's my affair" then maybe I would be better able to understand why you want to do this.
 
Nov 27th, 2000, 03:33 PM
  #17  
Buyer
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BTW: Diane three cheers to you!!! Would that all parents shared your wisdom!
 
Nov 27th, 2000, 03:50 PM
  #18  
Liz
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Jeff, I too have done extensive travelling with my children since they were about 1 year old. The fact of the matter is that most children don't deal well with a new environment, so we spent those early trips walking in hotel hallways till they fell asleep! By the time they were 3 & 4 they were seasoned travellers who almost never had screaming fits anywhere. I think alot of this has to do with how easy going the parents are about the whole expereince. We trained our children from the beginning to enjoy art and to enjoy dining. Now at 10 & 11 they can go to any gallery or restaurant for a few hours with us and actually behave like human beings! Mind you we do have to trade off at the end of the day with something they would like to do, this usually involves a visit to the beach, toy store or gelato! We as parents love to travel so we felt from the very beginning that bringing up our children to not behave like spoilt brats was crucial. The key when they are young is to have lots of new trinkets for them on the plane to keep themselves occupied. We have enjoyed every trip we have taken with our kids and quite honestly would have a hard time leaving them behind now. They learn so much, and yes they do remember!
So Jeff just relax and don't stress out too much, especially don't pay attention to those lovely venomous people out there who really do seem angry at the world! Maybe it's because their lives are so empty without kids!
Have fun!
 
Nov 27th, 2000, 04:20 PM
  #19  
Amy
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Jeff,

We have a 16 month old son and have travelled extensively with him (HK, Japan, US, Borneo, Vietnam, Prague, etc.). It has really been a great experience. We've met so many other local people (especially in Asia) through interactions between our children. I second, however, the post above which noted that jet lag can be a real problem. I also don't see a way around it except with patience. Don't expect to use your vacation time to get caught up on your sleep.

In terms of places I wouldn't go with a child: (1) ANYWHERE during nap time -- you're courting disaster; (2) any guided indoor tour (i.e. castles, museums) -- send one parent in at a time to avoid disturbing others; (3) malaria zones or other places where we usually get shots/take medicine, but he can't and (4) most restaurants, which is one of the things we miss most. Again, it depends a lot of your child and your willingness to forego some of the typical travel pleasures. However, we love traveling with our son and look forward to continuing. Enjoy!
 
Nov 27th, 2000, 05:08 PM
  #20  
Danna
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Jeff,

I think that 1 1/2 year olds are easier to travel with than 3 year olds. Our daughter at three had the awareness and will to be very loud about her wants and needs, 1 1/2 year olds just like to be with you,...whatever you do.

I do agree with the suggestion to find a place to stay and base yourself out of there so you can make meals and naps a regular thing.

I don't know about those earplug, valve, things that are sold for little kids, but they make sense for the the flight, little kids just don't and can't figure out that pressure thing and they cry.

I don't like adults who are so distainful of traveling children... just ignore them. We travel with children because they are our children, hence the family vacation ages not relevant.

Sesame Street seems to translate everywhere, and worked for us! Have Fun!
 

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