Travel Plan

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Apr 6th, 2016, 02:46 PM
  #1
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Travel Plan

HI ,

This is my first time on fodor's . We are planning to travel to Europe for the 1st time. its going to be the two of us with our 2 year old toddler. We would like to touchdown 3 countries i.e. ( france , italy and spain ). this will be a 20 day holiday.

We are really anticipating this holiday and since this is our first time , we have just started the research. We plan to leave by July 8th-10th till the end of month. So we are thinking to land in paris and go on forward from there.

Our preference is to spend 4-5 days at a beach destination and the rest can be touring the cities , site seeing with little bit of night life.

I would really appreciate any kind of feedback, itineraries or travel plans. ( specially from travelers with kids )

thank you ,
much appreciated
Sarahwaheed is offline  
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Apr 6th, 2016, 04:30 PM
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I have never traveled with a 2 y.o., but I wonder if you have made any long trips like this with your child to know how he/she handles time zone changes, jet lag, new surroundings/beds, etc. I assume he/she still needs a daily nap. Sightseeing would probably have to be less structured and at a slower pace, so I think your plan to visit three countries in three weeks with a toddler sounds challenging.

If you want to do your beach destination first, I wouldn't land in Paris. But if Paris is on your sightseeing list, start with a week there in an apartment, then move on to a beach, and end in the city you'd fly home from.
Jean is offline  
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Apr 7th, 2016, 01:24 AM
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First time in Europe, you do not need an apartment - especially if you don't speak much French and since you'll be planning to move around a lot. Most apartments do not allow you to leave your luggage if you arrive before check-in time, so you'll have to haul everything around with you until you can get in.

Instead, you can leave your luggage if your room isn't ready in any hotel, and would benefit from having the support of a front desk staff in a budget or moderately-priced hotel, or an apart'hotel (which will have a kitchenette). You'll need air-conditioning, which hotels do have, but most apartments do not. You'll have clean linens every day, and most hotels have minibars for your use. If you need baby food heated up, just ask the staff. If you're concerned about laundry, there are always coin laundries nearby, which are much more efficient than the machines in apartments - about 35 mins vs 3 hours to do one small load. With a child of this age, you won't need the little bit of extra space that some apartments provide. Go for the convenience on your first trip. Good choices for apart'hotels are:
Citadines, Adagio (several locations)and Residence Henri IV in the Latin Quarter. Ibis is a very good family hotel chain with good prices.


Some chain restaurants have high chairs, but otherwise, you should plan to bring either a small stroller or a portable high chair. Space will be tight in cafes and restaurants, so the less you have to deal with, the better. Few changing tables in toilets, so you'll have to improvise. What will you do with your child when you go out for "a little night life"? If you are in Paris on the 14th, the fireworks begin at 23h45, other than that, there is a military parade down the Champs-Elysees in the morning.

You will have to ask the agent to let you pass through the large gate in the Metro, if there is one, or will have to lift the stroller over the turnstyle. There are many stairs to deal with all over Paris, few escalators and elevators. Take as little as you need to get by. The bus is an option, though it is usually crowded and slow. Buy carnets of 10 loose tickets (your child rides free) for one-way trips on Metro or Bus.

In France, the closest sandy beach is in Trouville (about 2 hours by train), and can be chilly even in early July, so I would recommend you go to a beach spot in Spain, where it will be warmer.
fuzzbucket is offline  
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Apr 7th, 2016, 03:47 AM
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Were I traveling with a two-year old I would want an apartment. In Paris, I would go for Citadines or some other similar legal arrangments. You do not need to speak French to rent an apartment. Many 1st travelers with children do and it's not a problem. Apartment rentals often will make arrangments to keep your luggage if the apartment is being cleaned, and there are places in Paris you can store it for a few hours otherwise.

As you can tell, Paris is fairly child-unfriendly when it comes to restaurants, but if you look online (not on Fodor's) for trip reports about traveling to Paris with toddlers, you can find lots of friendly and good advice.

Italy is very child-friendly, with lots of great opportunities for apartment rentals, and lots of child friendly beaches. However, both Italy and Spain can be quite hot in July, and the seaside has very, very fierce sun from which a toddler will need protection.

Just generally speaking, the dozen of so people most often posting here giving advice about Europe is anti-apartment rental in Paris, doesn't travel with small children (or children period), and has many voices against do so (and even young parents in general!). So factor that in to the responses you get and make use of other resources.
sandralist is offline  
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Apr 7th, 2016, 04:22 AM
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sandralist - I advise you to keep your unfounded and offensive opinions to yourself, since you do not know "the dozen of (sic) so people most often posting here, etc".

Just to keep the record straight, many of us (including myself) have dealt with exactly the things we warn about. That's why we explain them in detail. Speaking French is not absolutely necessary, except in emergencies when you can't get an English-speaker to respond to your calls when the plumbing or elevator goes out.

On the other hand, trusting the responses from people who declare that everything will be a breeze on a first trip to Europe with a toddler is just irresponsible.
fuzzbucket is offline  
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Apr 7th, 2016, 04:52 AM
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If leaving the kid at home is an option, do that. The kid will only weigh you down and cause you to continually revamp your schedule and besides, the little tyke won't remember anything about the trip anyway.
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Apr 7th, 2016, 04:53 AM
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How is seeing the night life going to work with a toddler? If the nanny is coming, disregard my previous post.
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Apr 7th, 2016, 11:57 AM
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The problem with renting an apartment in Paris is the government's current crackdown on the many illegally rented apartments. Unless you rent from an established agency that vets their offerings, many websites are just a convenience for owners looking for renters. You do not know if the apartment exists, if it looks anything like its photos, if the reviews are accurate or legitimate. And you have to pay up front.

I don't know the current status of AirBnB's negotiations with the Paris powers-that-be.

But when dealing with a toddler, an apartment would be a convenience. (Look for one with a washer-dryer.) Hence the recommendation of Citadines or other hotels with kitchens. Some hotels have an apartment on offer. Then you would have the best of both worlds, a front desk to help and the privacy of an individual unit.
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