Having traveled to thirty European countries in a year and a half with two young toddlers in tow, I believe it is very important to travel with your kids! Is it challenging at times? Yes. Is it different than traveling as a couple? For sure. Is it worth it? Absolutely! Here are my top 3 reasons why you should travel to Europe with young kids:
1. People around the world love children and most places, especially in Europe, are very kid friendly! I can’t tell you how many times our children were acting up and instead of it “bothering” the people around us, people began interacting with them, speaking in their own languages, and making them happy again. In certain cultures, such as when we visited Istanbul, they don’t often see blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girls and the joy on their faces to talk to our daughter (or “Barbie” as they called her) was very sweet. Or course not everyone will love your children, but more times than not, we felt that our children were welcomed into other countries with open arms.
We also found that many places are very kid friendly – from fast-track lines in the airports, to offering toys and snacks on even budget flights, to incredible playgrounds all throughout the cities – we felt that kids and those traveling with families were treated very nicely.
2. Teaching your kids about languages and cultures at a young age prepares them to understand that there is so much more to life than where we live! Kids see that people travel to work by train rather than car, that they can communicate with each other in languages other than English, that even your kids can communicate with others in different languages as they learn the local words for “hello” and “thank you”. Going to museums and sites and teaching them, while also doing unique experiences to give them a taste of what the locals do, will help them learn new things. They come to understand the uniqueness of the places you are in and appreciate them.
3. Your kids will be exposed to new foods and flavors, even foods they typically wouldn’t eat. They may or may not like what they try, but they learn that it is okay to expand their palates and to eat foods that people in other countries eat. Our daughter is more of a picky eater than our son, which may be due to her food allergies that restricts her on trying many things. Our son was fortunate to be able to try all of the local foods we were having to explore many different flavors. At 5 years old, he was eating mussels, reindeer, squid, bear, sauerkraut, and more! We continue to expose him to unique foods and he really enjoys them all!
Your young kids may not remember all of the experiences or sights that they see, but they will remember many of the highlights. They will remember going up the Eiffel Tower in Paris, riding on a double decker bus in London, making waffles in Belgium and being at the top of a snow covered mountain in Switzerland. They will learn things in school and think, “Wow, I’ve been there!” or “I’ve seen that!” They won’t feel as unattached from the other side of the world.
It’s also important to remember, even without them remembering it all, YOU will remember as a parent and will hold those memories dearly, and if you’re anything like us, you will take a LOT of pictures which kids love going through and talking about the things they have seen and done. If you love traveling, then travel with your kids, and chances are they will love traveling too!
Click below for a kid-friendly itinerary to some of my favorite cities in Germany!
This blog has been exclusively prepared for Travel A Latte by our guest blogger Kristina Hughes.
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