We get tons of questions from New Orleans moms about the best places to travel with kids. Over the years our team of writers has done everything from road trip to Arkansas, to renting a cabin in Tishomingo state park to living at the beaches in Pensacola for weeks on end. We are all about sharing family traveling tips whether your next adventure from New Orleans is to the coast, Disney or the mountains! There is a list of drivable destinations from New Orleans for every budget here. And if you end up staying right here in New Orleans, we have dozens of ideas for kid-friendly outings in New Orleans, too! Thinking about international travel with kids? Here are five reasons to travel to Europe with your kids.
5 Reasons to Travel to Europe with your Kids
Since our trip to Europe in 2009, my husband and I talked about going back. When our kids were younger, we stuck to trips to the beach, Disney, and visiting friends stateside. My children are now 8 and 11 and have always handled travel well, so we decided to give it a go.
Covid obviously affected our plans, so we actually had about two years to research and plan. We settled on Italy, banking vacation from work so we could go for an entire month. While I know this isn’t feasible for most, I would suggest 10-14 days since it’s a long flight. We visited Rome (highly recommend the Trastevere area), Tuscany (San Gimignano), Cinque Terre (Riomaggiore) and Venice. We also did day trips to Pompeii, Florence and Siena.
Before I delve into why you should make the trip, here are my key tips:
- Book your flight in the afternoon, so you travel through the evening. When you arrive, it’ll be morning. We watched movies for the first few hours, ate, and then took melatonin to sleep. We were still tired on day one, but pushed through and stayed awake to get adjusted.
- Consider Air BNB versus hotels. This gave us a lot more space and allowed us to cook some meals. We also booked places with a washer/dryer so we could pack lighter. hauling luggage in Europe is no joke and the less you can pack, the better. We searched via Booking.com, Trip Advisor, Air BNB, and Google for reviews and price comparisons, as many of the apartments are listed on multiple sites. Keep in mind: many places do not have air conditioning, so keep an eye out for that if you go during the summer.
- Research transportation ahead of time. depending on where you go, you may need to rent a car and will likely use public transit or a high-speed train. We booked tickets ahead of time and researched the metro lines, roads, etc. There can be a language barrier and being prepared was very helpful.
- For visits to major sites like the Vatican, Coliseum, Pompeii, etc., visit the website for the location rather than a third-party booking site. For example, we were able to book a small group tour with breakfast before the Vatican opened to the general public for only about $15 more per person. These rates were better than other sites.
- The biggest cost is getting there. Flights are not cheap, and we tracked prices on Google Flights before settling on United. We found food, transit, and activities to be more affordable than in the states. We cooked a lot of meals, even groceries are well priced. Eating out, we could dine as a family of 4 for about $40.
Here are my five takeaways as to why you should take the trip:
Educational opportunities: Europe is home to some of the world’s most iconic landmarks, museums, and historical sites. You can introduce your kids to important events and cultures in a fun and interactive way. My kids loved this scavenger hunt travel book.
Cultural exposure: Europe is a melting pot of different cultures, languages, and traditions. By visiting different countries, your children can broaden their horizons and learn about diversity. We took a cooking class as a family and it was one of the highlights of our trip. Even our ultra-picky son expanded his horizons.
Language learning: Traveling to a foreign country is a great opportunity to practice language skills. Children can learn basic phrases, hear native speakers, and develop a deeper appreciation for language learning. We listened to podcasts and videos to review basic Italian and encouraged the kids to greet people and order their food.
Adventure: Europe offers a wide range of exciting activities for kids, such as parks and outdoor adventures like hiking and biking. We did some amazing hikes in Cinque Terre that really challenged the kids but they were so eager to tackle it. Europeans walk everywhere they can, and our kids wholly embraced it.
Family bonding: Traveling together as a family can be a great way to strengthen bonds and create lasting memories. We did incur some challenges like understanding public transit, hauling luggage, etc., and we made an effort to get the kids involved in problem-solving and decision-making. We also encouraged their input for our daily plans.
Overall, traveling to Europe with kids can be a fun, educational, and enriching experience. We truly created lifelong memories and actually discussed going back in the next year or so!
If you have smaller children and want a different family’s perspective on European Travel, you can read about their experience HERE.