Which destination is better with Kids ?

Oct 13th, 2011, 05:35 AM
  #1  
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Which destination is better with Kids ?

Hi everyone,
Just came back from a fabulous Paris trip (without kids!!). Time to plan next year's trip

We have 2 kids, age 10 and 6. We would like to travel with them on our next special occasion trip.

Debating on few destinations.

Italy
Spain
London/Switzerland
Turkey

My kids have traveled on long flights and international before. They are pretty good little travelers !!

What are your thoughts? Planning a 10 day trip next summer. Any inputs greatly appreciated.

Thanks
shubha_r is offline  
Oct 13th, 2011, 05:48 AM
  #2  
 
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I've been to 4 of the 5 you list (not Turkey), and I'm not sure I can distinguish one as better than the others for kids.

Italians are very child-tolerant, and you can depend on finding pizza and pasta if your kids are picky eaters. But non is a terrible destination for kids. Go with what you want to see.

When our kids were that age we found it more enjoyable to stay in small cities and countryside rather than big cities. It was more enjoyable for the kids to get their ya-yas out running around in parks and such, instead of constantly being shushed in art museums.
capxxx is offline  
Oct 13th, 2011, 07:51 AM
  #3  
 
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My thoughts are two:

Ask your kids for input

Re-post with a more specific title
Dukey1 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2011, 08:26 AM
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Go into the Swiss alps - Lauterbrunnen, Wengen or Grindelwald. All 4 of my kids loved it there. (That's not to say that your other places wouldn't be great too, just that you couldn't go wrong in the Alps.) I think you could easily spend all the time there, or catch a train and split the time between there and another destination.

You could go up the Schilthorn by cable car, the Jungfrau and Ice Palace by a train which travels inside a mountain, ride the Rodelbahn ride at Pfinstegg, zip line at First or take the trottibikes back down, hike, see Trummelbach falls, check out all the cows, play outdoor chess with huge chess pieces, eat chocolate! A bit farther away are other things to do such as a boat trip on the lakes, the outdoor museum. Your kids would get free train fares with some (maybe all) train passes. That's just what I can think of in the first 2 minutes. So much to do that kids would love, although you would need to check if there is a minimum age for some.

My kids prefer cities to calm countryside. There is only so much scenery and hill towns they can take, unless there is something to do as listed above.
kwren is offline  
Oct 13th, 2011, 08:39 AM
  #5  
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Thanks for your replies.

kwren, wow ! That's a lot of information. I am tempted to combine Swiss alps with London. Next favorite is Italy.

Dukey1, let me repost. thanks
shubha_r is offline  
Oct 13th, 2011, 10:18 AM
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If you go to Italy, my kids liked Rome better than Tuscany (too much scenery and driving around to look at it!), but they did like riding bikes on the walls in Lucca and seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
kwren is offline  
Oct 13th, 2011, 10:38 AM
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Our kids were about your kids' ages when we started going "full tilt" to Europe.

Kwen is pretty right--Switzerland was a big hig doing EXACTLY what he/she said. My kids came home with an uncanny ability to imitate any type of cow and sheep and with fabulously developed quads for elementary school children. They loved being in charge of buying our cheese, bread and chocolate every day for lunch (they now have a lifelong addition to Toblerone). We don't tend to buy souvenirs--we are of the "travel light" breed--but found ourselves shopping for cow bells to take home (they are now in the basement). We bought these hiking sticks, and then whenever we entered a village, we'd buy the little medallion that one could nail into it. My oldest daughter now has hers displayed in her apartment. In a case, no less!

What the Swiss do right is provide not only fabulous transportation but also place playgrounds perfectly. We'd just be in the middle of some hiking trail and there would be a playground. You'd walk out of a museum, and there would be a playground. They may be anal retentive, but heck, they understand kids.

Around this age, we also did New York one week, Paris one week, and London one week. No, not all in one trip. Of the three cities, the kids loved Paris more than anything. And that is the city they have always returned to explore on their own, and it's the one in which one of them is downright thriving as I write.

Our kids did a week in Florence next and did really well, but I have to tell you, they are of some mutant breed that loves art museums, so our museum/gelato, museum/gelato forced march there went over well. I just don't see your average normal kid going for that. And while we're in that geographic area, I can tell you that friends of ours took their kids on their "dream trip" to Tuscany, which unfortunately, was not their kids' ideal. As one of the girls told my daughter as I was driving the carpool, "Being stuck forever in a car in the countryside is the same in Tuscany as the US, and swimming in the rented house swimming pool might as well of been in the US".

All have agreed, though, that Pisa may be touristy to some adults, but kids ADORE it. Huge hit.

My kids loved Rome, which we visited a few years later for one week, but again, they like museums plus were huge fans of "Roman Holiday" (youngest went through a strange Audrey Hepburn phase when 8 yrs old to boot). NO matter what, they felt Pompeii was the bomb. They thought I was nuts for dragging them there and then they were just stunned. Still talk about it. So I think that even though they are not the average kid tourist, their assessment of Pompeii as really fab would be on target for almost any kid.

What they did not get to visit when your kids' ages was Venice. I personally did not visit Venice until just a few years ago--and I did so with my youngest. Over dinner, I asked her if she thought it would have been a good "kid" place for us to visit. She felt that it was: "It's just SOOOO cool." We also didn't visit Amsterdam at that early age, and when the girls and my husband and I visited later, the girls agreed that it would have been totally cool for a kid.

Hope this helps.
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Oct 13th, 2011, 10:57 AM
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Depending on what period of summer you are talking about, much of Italy, Turkey and Spain could be very hot.
zeppole is offline  
Oct 13th, 2011, 11:22 AM
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AlessandraZoe, wow ! What a detailed response.. love it !! I hope I can talk about our travels like you when my kids are older. Thanks a lot. We didn't think our kids would have done well in Paris. Or may be we just wanted our time

My kids love big city, since we live close to NYC. They have traveled to India since we have family there and within India many short trips as well.

I am planning to go by late June as soon as schools close. In italy, we plan to do Venice, Rome and Florence. Now, if Pompeii is "cooler" we can ditch Florence we are not much of museum people ourselves.

We haven't been to either destination before (Swiss alps and Italy). And it's by 40th birthday trip, so I have some serious decision to make

And yeah, I don't think Pisa is touristy at all I can't wait to see it. We absolutely loved Eiffel Tower as well which can be labelled very touristy too..
shubha_r is offline  
Oct 13th, 2011, 11:50 AM
  #10  
jgg
 
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Our first European trip was to Italy when our kids were 9 and 12, we did Rome, Venice, Florence (here is link to my trip report: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...or-2-weeks.cfm). Since then we have traveled with them all over the world to big cities and small towns. Overall, I would have to say that my kids enjoy the big cities best, especially as they started to get older and we let them go out exploring just a bit on their own.

We have been to all the places you mentioned except Turkey (but have been to Morocco, Israel and Jordan). While still that young (the 6 yo), I think I would stick to Europe, well, just because. I think the huge change in culture will be more meaningful to them when they are a bit older - although the fact they have been to India may negate that.

Our kids have loved all the places we've gone (and they're not huge museum fans), but I would probably say Italy is their favorite. We have been three times (going to different parts), and my daughter is hoping to study abroad there next year, for her junior year in college.

That being said, since this is for your 40th, think about where YOU want to go (I guarantee the kids will enjoy it), though I have to admit Italy is still my favorite (though Barcelona is a close second!!)

BTW, at that time of year the further north you go the better from the standpoint of staying cooler.
jgg is offline  
Oct 13th, 2011, 12:23 PM
  #11  
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Wow, I am already drooling for Italy

Thanks jgg for a wonderfully detailed response. I will read up your trip report as well.

At this point, I am highly leaning towards Italy, although jgg you are right, it's where "I" would like to go.. I am probably going to be thrilled to go to either Swiss alps or Italy.. Tough choice but someone's gotta do it

Well, for either of these, when should we start doing bookings for airline and hotel ?
shubha_r is offline  
Oct 13th, 2011, 01:09 PM
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Well, if it's Italy, maybe you'll include Rome...Here are my Rome suggestions for kids ...

Of course the Colosseum - that goes without saying. See if you can get the tour to see the lower level where the animals and boats were kept. You can't get those tickets there - have to be lucky and get them online.

Gotta have gelato as much as possible! Not only did we have gelato every day, but we had a running contest on which of the entire vacation was the best. My daughter voted on the rice gelato from Blue Ice in Rome. My favorite place was in the Chianti area. It made for lively daily discussions and the kids still talk about it!

Go to the Mouth of Truth, wait on line (it moves fast) and get a picture of each child with his/hand in the mouth. The mouth is supposed to bite off the hand of liars! My daughter loved doing that, but I'm still wondering why she was able to keep that hand!

Also, go to the Cat Sanctuary in Rome - it's not far from the Piazza Navona. There are ruins below street level and hundreds of cats live there. (They are fed and given their shots by a group with an office there so it's not as sad as I had initially thought) In the summer, the cats came out at dusk when it was cooler, but in November it could be any time. My daughter loved it so much, she kept asking to go back. My daughter kept count of the number of cats we saw in any visit.

Another thing my kids loved was a park near the Piazza del Popolo. This park is above street level of the Piazza. Go up the steps to the top for a great view of Rome and then off to the right (from the steps) find the Casina Valadier (it's a restaurant, but we didn't go in) in the park and outside is the coolest - and free - sculpture garden with all sorts of things the kids would love. Our favorite is the huge arm holding a lifesize motor scooter. We sat on the scooter for some great pictures. They will love it (as long as it's not too cold!) There was another with Batman and Superman, a huge red snail, a big colorful heart. Many bright and colorful.

Go to the Cappucine Crypt in Rome. The monks bones are arranged in artisitic displays - even the chandeliers and it's actually quite beautiful and very different from a normal crypt. Facing the church, it is up a flight of stairs to the right, not underground.
You can also get there from the Spanish steps. St the top, turn left and walk along the street for about 5 minutes. The garden will be on the right.

Take water bottles with you - there are fountains all over Rome.

Definitely go to Pompeii! From Rome it's so easy to get a bus directly to Pompeii. It takes you right to the entrance.

We loved Italy as well as Switzerland!
kwren is offline  
Oct 13th, 2011, 01:11 PM
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It's not too soon to start looking for hotels and checking on airfares. Watch the airline prices for a while to see what the range is and then snatch up a great price when it comes along.
kwren is offline  
Oct 13th, 2011, 01:41 PM
  #14  
jgg
 
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I agree, not too soon to start looking for airfare and hotels. The best rated hotels will definitely start booking up, so I would start reading reviews of those and book hotels soon. We often fly with FF miles so not as familiar with the ins and outs of waiting for airfare to drop, but for me booking my airfare always means we're definitely going so usually anxious to do it!!!
jgg is offline  
Oct 13th, 2011, 01:51 PM
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For our summer trip, we asked the kids (as suggested above) for opinions after we hid an itenerary somewhat mapped out. They really wanted to go back to London (had been to London/Scotland a few years earlier) and really wanted to go to Rome, which wasn't on the list. London is a good choice because the language barrier isn't there (mostly!.

Based on their input, we dropped Switzerland and added Rome (and Pompeii) and Florence. They loved both but Florence was a huge surprise hit. It's a very walkable area, Uffizi was their favorite museum of the entire trip, gelato everywhere, cool views/sites in every direction.

Having said that, Paris was the hands down favorite for them. We have friends with similar results so don't write off Paris.
RoamEurope is offline  
Oct 13th, 2011, 02:18 PM
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I absolutely agree about the planning involving the kids. Once we decided on a general itinerary for a trip 5 years ago, we gave the kids some simple books on each destination and asked them to pick their first and second choices of what they wanted to see. Of course it was the Eiffel Tower for Paris, but my son picked the Ice Palace on top of the Jungfrau, even though we didn't give him a book on Switzerland. We added the Alps for that reason. They will get so much out of the trip if they can be involved in the planning in some way. We even did this for the Louvre, but this could be adapted to any museum. We gave them a book about the Louvre, but the Mona Lisa was a given and couldn't be selected. My daughter wanted to see the largest painting in the museum and my son chose the Egypt section. I even picked a section and we all went to all 3, in addition to other areas. They were so much happier to have input and were even excited to go to the museum for that reason.
kwren is offline  
Oct 13th, 2011, 03:18 PM
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Kwren--I wonder if we're related?
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Oct 13th, 2011, 05:22 PM
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This thread is becoming a wealth of information ! Yep kwren, I agree.. Even for domestic trips, I ask my older one to research online and learn about key items on that place, including popular restaurants, cuisine etc. It makes the trip so much more "theirs"..

Well, we did Paris as our 15th anniversary trip and just got back, so that's not on our list although it was one awesome trip

Now, how about combining Switzerland and northern Italy ? Ambitious ?

If it's Italy, we are looking not Rome, Venice & Florence..

Thanks,
shubha_r is offline  
Oct 14th, 2011, 03:24 AM
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I would say absolutely yes to combining Switzerland and northern Italy...We just did 5 days in Grindelwald and then 2 in Lucca (then on to Rome) and it was fine. You won't be able to fit everything in in the alps, but that way you can pick and choose what to do, and save some things for your next trip!!! Just take train down to whatever area you are interested in and depending on where that is, you could rent a car once you arrive. You won't need a car in the Alps...or if you are just going to cities in Italy. Just use the trains. It's fun for the kids and you can get a lot of help here with trains too.

I'm sure Paris was wonderful - what hotel did you stay in? My last hotel in Paris was the Duquesne Eiffel in the room that looked directly at the Eiffel Tower. I would lie on my bed and watch the lights. Ahhhhhhhh...

AlessandraZoe - sounds like we might be...and maybe we should talk whenever we plan trips too! We think along the same lines!
kwren is offline  
Oct 14th, 2011, 05:53 AM
  #20  
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Thanks kwren. We stayed at Pullman by Eiffel tower, same here looked at the tower right from balcony on 10 th floor. It was fabulous.

Now, what cities can be combined in northern Italy if we are doing for 10 days altogether. Hubby can't do more than that

If you have a trip report that you can direct me to, all the better still thinking either combining London or northern Italy, both are first for us.

Thanks a lot for all the help..
shubha_r is offline  

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