The following are tips for traveling with little ones from the adventures that we have gone on, which I will continually update as we travel more. Some may twin specific but most are singleton worthy. Want to know my first tip as a parent who’s crossed an ocean, and conquered a nine-hour drive all before the twins turned one…? Don’t be scared to travel people! You can tell yourself all you want that you’ll travel when they’re older but then you’re suddenly fifty years old wondering what the world is like outside of your recliner.
And to the list of tips, and remember, these are tips according my personal experience from the places I’ve been.
(6 months old) – At this time the boys were in love with rolling everywhere and attempting to crawl, and just like adults, babies need to burn energy. We brought a large, thin quilt with us on our international flight and laid it out in the terminal so the boys could roll and play to burn off some of that energy from being stuck in a car seat from the previous flight. Babies slept nearly the whole eight-hour flight, and bonus for me…I had a nice big quilt to lounge under.
Ditch the giant diaper bag! Your neighbors don’t appreciate being slapped in the face with as you attempt to carry your little one, a carry-on, and a diaper bag…doesn’t make for a good first impression. A large back pack is what I’ve found to be the best, and easiest way to carry all of the boys’ necessary items. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your neighbors for help, more often than not they are more than willing to help you out.
If you have an awesome pediatrician like we did, let them know you’re going to be flying and see if they would be willing to prescribe numbing drops for baby’s ears. We put the drops in while waiting to take off before each flight and the babies didn’t react to the pressure change at all. If drops aren’t an option, make sure baby is eating, sucking, chewing, doing something with their mouth to help their little ears pop.
Find my tips for flying with one year-old twins…solo…here.
If you plan on visiting a castles with your little one, keep in mind that castles are old and not exactly equipped with modern-day comforts…like an elevator. Be prepared to wear/carry/walk your kiddo through a castle since strollers aren’t allowed inside. I caution against the walking unless they are good with lots and lots of spiral stairs. My guys were nine months old the first time we visited a castle and we carried them during the tour; talk about dead arms! You better believe we bought carriers so we could wear them around after that trip!
Venice is an amazingly beautiful place that I recommend everyone visit, but I’ll admit that taking the twins was a challenge. Although the people of Venice are kid friendly, Venice itself, is not! If you do go be prepared to do a lot of walking, and going up and down lots of stairs. I highly, highly, highly recommend baby wearing unless you want to waste time carrying a stroller up and down all those stairs you’ll have to take crossing the numerous canal bridges.
Also, if your kid is at the age of eating table food don’t be surprised that restaurants don’t have high chairs. We only came across one place on our three-day trip that did, and it was the American chain, Hard Rock Cafe. What did we do without high chairs? We used our baby carriers to strap the boys to chairs. We’d have them in the outward facing baby wearing position, set them on the chair, and then buckle the straps around the back of the chair almost as if the chair was wearing them.
As exciting as Paris was, it was also terribly exhausting but I think a large part of that was due to seeing all Paris has to offer in three days…so there is my first recommendation, don’t attempt to see everything unless you have the time, take your family into consideration before planning your trip. For this trip we did take the carriers so we could wear the boys but we only ended up baby wearing once. The other times we used them were when we needed a makeshift high chair like I mentioned above when visiting Venice. If you can baby wear that would be my recommendation because even during winter the crowds were thick and the subway system is not the best. Majority of the trains we took were not handicap accessible so we were carrying the boys in their strollers up and down several flights of stairs. If you want to take a stroller and you intend on taking the subway I’d recommend either individual umbrella strollers that are lightweight or a tandem stroller which two people can easily carry.
Spain – Barcelona and Bilbao
While in Barcelona we did a two-day Hop-on Hop-off tour which worked very well for us. The busses went to all of the major tourist attractions, had Wi-Fi, and were stroller friendly. The only downfall to those types of tours is that we like to take our time at one spot so we would ended up seeing maybe two things during the day, but it also doesn’t help that the spots that we visited weren’t necessarily one stop after another so we would sometimes spend 45 minutes on the bus waiting to get to our next stop. With all the walking we did though, I didn’t mind the down time to just drive around and see Barcelona from the top deck of the bus. If you’re anything like we are and are go-go-go on trips to see as much as possible, I’d recommend getting a subway pass for the time you’re there. This allowed us to zip from one location to the next rather quickly and it was a bonus that majority of the train stops were handicap accessible or at least had an escalator going up that was in working order, unlike Paris. As much as I love my double jogging stroller, I’d still recommend individual lightweight umbrella strollers (with a canopy for sun protection) to make it easier to get through the subway lines and to carry up/down stairs if need be.
This time we didn’t take our carriers at all, and like the other places we have visited in Europe they don’t always have a high chair at restaurants. What we did in the case that there wasn’t a high chair was either we ate outside and gave the boys food that were finger friendly enough to hand them in their strollers, or most often what would happen is there would be only one high chair available so in this case we would take the one chair for one of the boys and then take the diaper bag (which is a backpack style of diaper bag), set it on a chair and then take one of our belts we happened to be wearing and buckle the boy to the chair. Please keep in mind that our boys are good about sitting in chairs and were walking efficiently while we were in Spain. I certainly wouldn’t recommend doing this for a kiddo who needs the extra support that a high chair has to offer. It acted more as a booster seat rather than a high chair.
When visiting the beach in Barcelona…leave the camera in your hotel room! The main beach is topless friendly and if you’re there during the summer, you’ll see lots and lots of topless women. Little girls on up to grandmas will be topless so it’s hard to get a picture without being photo bombed by a topless lady. Take as little as possible to the beach, even leave the stroller(s) if possible because the distance from the sidewalk to the water is a bit of a jaunt so you’ll end up carrying a kiddo and a stroller. They charge to use each chair and umbrella if you happen to find any available so be prepared to be in direct sun and sitting on a towel. TAKE EXTRA SUNSCREEN! The prices on sunscreen are ridiculous no matter where we went in Barcelona, so we ended up paying 15 Euros for a non brand name sunscreen that would’ve otherwise been maybe $5.00, because we ran out of both the adult and kid friendly sunscreen.
Czech Republic – Prague
The city of Prague is amazingly beautiful and for the most part, family friendly! Take your stroller if your kiddos still need one. The city is very walkable and was easy to maneuver around even with our double BOB stroller. Getting a high chair in restaurants is still kind of hit or miss, but more of a hit when compared to the rest of Europe. My guys are almost two now so they sit pretty well even without a high chair, but it’s still a bonus when one is available. That being said, I would avoid fast food restaurants around the St. Charles Bridge. They didn’t tend to have high chairs and would charge to use the restroom whereas more sit-down type restaurants were the opposite.
A warning to everyone, not just families. There are places to exchange your money about every 50 feet. DON’T USE THEM! Go to a legit bank, they will exchange your money straight across for the exchange rate instead of “buying” your money.