Sounds crazy right? We thought so too but recently returned from Italy and Paris with our 18 month old daughter and lived to tell about it!
As I was preparing for our trip, I searched online for helpful tips and thought there was a lack of resources on traveling overseas with little ones. So, I want to share my experiences/advice (and other ramblings) with you all and hope it helps as you plan your own adventure!
First and foremost, don’t forget to apply for your little one’s passport. For information on Polk County’s application requirements and processing time, please visit http://www.polkrecorder.com/passports.htm. Surprisingly, ours only took about two weeks to process but it can certainly take longer so don’t wait! FYI, hair bows are not allowed in passport photos 🙁
Don’t overpack! Bring a good bib (love our Baby Bjorn bib) so outfits can be worn more than once. While not all sidewalks/streets in Europe are ideal for strollers, I still recommend you bring a light-weight umbrella stroller. Our Moby wrap also came in very handy. Pack LOTS of snacks. Try to limit yourself to one carry-on (a backpack) for the flight. You’ll want to include lots of fun, NEW ways to entertain your little one. I packed stickers, crayons, unopened Happy Meal toys, books, pipe cleaners and puzzles…things I didn’t care about losing but provided hours of entertainment.
Traveling overseas as adults is difficult enough with long flights, time changes, etc. It can be even harder for your little one so make sure you are flexible. Don’t jam pack your itinerary. You won’t be able to see/do it all in one day and that’s okay! I also got very good at changing my daughter’s diaper while she was standing up. Of all the places we visited, I never found a diaper changing station or family restroom. C’est la vie!
Bypass the Loooong Lines
Don’t be afraid to move to the front of the line. Whether you’re waiting to board a flight or trying to get inside a museum, it doesn’t hurt to move to the front and see if you and your little one can “budge” in line. I know this isn’t easy to do but people are usually very accommodating when they see you traveling with a little one.
While I’m sure many people had the thought, one person actually said, “Why are you taking Zayli to Europe? She isn’t going to remember any of your trip!“At the time, that question really bothered me. I’m not going to wait and have her experience people/things when she starts having memories of it. That would be like saying “Why bother reading books to her now. She isn’t going to remember it!”
I had the great opportunity to see my daughter experience things she wouldn’t at home…the look on her face as she devoured gelato for the first time, her little voice saying “Wow!” over and over as she stared at the Eiffel Tower, etc. My husband and I want her to grow up having a love for travel, people of this world and their cultures.
Whether it’s Europe or the next state over, don’t be reluctant to travel with your little one!
Well DMMB readers, I’m off to start saving up for our next international adventure. Bon voyage!
Meet Guest Blogger: Betty Baker
“My GRANDMA’S name is Betty too!” This is a common response Betty gets after introducing herself to new people. Until she turns 90 and becomes “cool”, Betty is loving and living life as a wife to an amazing man named Erich and mother to a beautiful girl named Zayli (born October 2011). She is a stay-at-home mom with several part-time jobs, including freelancer for local marketing agencies, dance/gymnastics instructor at Grace Ballet and All Iowa Honor Drill Team choreographer. In her “free” time, Betty enjoys cooking/baking, traveling, eating bacon, attending/serving Cornerstone Church, reading, watching movies, and any water-related activity (except fishing).