100 Tips for Traveling with Kids in Europe
You know those guidebooks that are so creative and full of genius that you immediately start planning a trip? I have one such book to share with you (you’ll love it!). 100 Tips for Traveling with Kids in Europe, written by our friends at Family on the Loose, E. Ashley Steel (our Traveling with Kids Editor) and Bill Richards, is one of the best family travel books I’ve ever seen (another being their original family travel book, mentioned below).
Why do I love this book so? Well, for many reasons! The breadth of information here is incredible. The first part, Ready, Set, offers advice for preparing, logistics, and itinerary planning. The second, Go!, shares flight and travel tips. The third, Home again, offers ways to make your journeys last beyond your trips.
These 100 tips?
They will change the way you travel to Europe with your kids (and the way you travel – even seasoned travelers can learn much from this guide). The book also includes tips for travel with kids of all ages, from babies to teens. It provides an interculturally sensitive look at how to travel – and how travel impacts us and the places we visit. My favorite tips? #65, #66, #87, and #93 (of course, this one!). Look them up and see if you agree with me!
All of the 100 tips are genius and worth incorporating into your travels. If you choose one guidebook for travel, no matter where you go, THIS IS IT. For while it incorporates European travel, the bones of the book are excellent family travel tips. It will change your travels – and the way your family travels together. Add to it the inspiring tips for specific European places and activities, and this is one book you will use so much you'll crease the corners, have pens and post its on certain pages, and crack the spine (I did!). Highly recommended.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Ashley and Bill, and ask them about the book, inspiration, the photos, and more. Here's what they had to say...
What was your inspiration for writing this book?
Europe! So many people make a trip to Europe into a connect-the-landmarks ordeal. We wanted to give families ideas for making a trip to Europe into an enriching, multi-cultural adventure that’s fun for kids and fun for parents too. Our first book, Family on the Loose: The Art of Traveling with Kids, is a travel guide about HOW to travel with kids rather than WHERE to travel with kids. We talked a lot after it was written about how fun it would be to apply our ideas on HOW to travel to some of our favorite locations. We’ve been lucky to visit Europe many times, with toddlers, elementary-aged kids, and now, teenagers. We even had the chance to explore real European life in depth, when we lived and worked in Vienna for six months. Every weekend was another adventure! A few years ago, someone said “People like 100 Tips books,” and the next thing you know we were putting together 100 Tips for Traveling with Kids to Europe.
Normandy, France by Li, age 4
What makes this book different from other travel guides?
A lot of travel guides are about packing in tourist destinations, finding hotels just like home, or over-dosing on art museums. Europe has so much more than tourist destination; so many amazing places to stay and many aren’t even hotels; and so many educational opportunities beyond art museums. Our book is intended to flood families with ideas about all that is truly possible on a European adventure, especially while traveling with kids. Like our first book, 100 Tips is divided into three parts. The first part, “Ready, Set …” is all about getting ready for the journey and setting expectations. The second part, “…Go!” is the biggest and includes everything from staying safe to enjoying local foods, and from visiting an art museum to studying volcanos. And finally, “Travelling Home” has tips about how to keep the trip alive and maintain your family’s traveling spirit even after your plane has landed.
Munich, Germany by Lisa, age 13
There are a lot of black and white photos in your book. Tell us a little about them...
Those are all taken by kids! We’ve included about 70 photos taken by kids aged 2 to 15 while traveling all over Europe. These amazing photographs give parents a visual guide to Europe through their children’s eyes. Yes, there’s a photo of the Eiffel Tower, but there’s many more of stray dogs, pigeons, and gelato. The kids use fun angles and capture details we adults might not even see anymore. Just flipping through might inspire acquiring plane tickets!
Venice, Italy by Logan, age 5
Why do people think it is so difficult to travel as a family to Europe?
I think everyday life with kids can sometimes be overwhelming, so generating the gumption and resources to take it on the road, particularly “overseas”, can be daunting. I’ve always said that the hardest thing about traveling is getting out the front door. Getting out the front door with kids on most school days is hard enough so getting out the door to the airport can simply seem impossible. But with a few deep breaths and some patience (and our books!), families can leave behind the carpool schedules, homework, and nagging. Once they’re out the door, it gets easier. Traveling is one of the most fun and rewarding experiences you and your family can experience.
Tell us an anecdote that gives us a hint at the content of your book...
One of the main reasons that I like to travel with my family is to expose them (and me) to new and different things, be it food, language, art, religion, politics, or whatever. I also, personally, like renting apartments to explore what it might be like to live in different places. On one trip, we rented an apartment on Piazza Santa Croce in Florence, Italy. Unbeknownst to me, our visit coincided with Calcio Fiorentino, a local sports spectacle that is part football, part street fight. Right outside our front door were thousands of cheering fans, magnificent costumes, traditional music, and smoke bombs. The kids thought it was awesome! I couldn’t have planned it better.
Barcelona, Spain by Ben, age 14
What are your top tips for maintaining family harmony while traveling?
I think harmony comes from shared expectations and responsibility. Kids who know what to expect are more fun. And, kids who helped plan a trip have a shared stake in a great outcome. Setting up such shared expectations and responsibility takes an investment in time and energy on everyone’s part before you even leave the house. That investment pays off when you’re on the road. Our family might actually get along better while traveling, because we’re all invested in our activities and excited about discovering new things.
Ring of Kerry by Lillie, age 8
Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
Obviously, with two full-time jobs in the States we couldn’t possibly have visited all the corners of Europe to research this book in person. If anyone would like to fund such a trip, we’re happy to create second edition! To help fill in the gaps and include places that we haven’t been (yet!), we relied on suggestions from a few of our traveling family friends and conducted extensive on-line traveling. But our primary philosophy, building well-rounded world citizens, holds true throughout.
Vienna, Austria by Logan, age 12
Where can people get your books?
Both of our books can be found on Amazon: 100 Tips for Traveling with Kids in Europe at http://bit.ly/100Tips4KidsEurope, and Family on the Loose: The Art of Traveling with Kids at http://amzn.to/1arvKXC.
We also have a website where we blog: www.familyontheloose.com
and find us on social media:
- Instagram: FamilyontheLoose
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/FamilyontheLoose
- Twitter: @FamilyonLoose
- Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/familyonloose/