Packing light can be difficult when traveling to Europe. Now add the kid stuff to the mix and it'll really do your head in if you let it. When you're traveling through Europe with little ones, the most important family travel tips aren't just about the sights you simply have to see or the meals you simply have to try. You're most worried about what you're going to do with all of that "necessary" baby or toddler gear. How are you supposed to get through the airport with all of your stuff? The less gear you can pack, the better off you'll be, from checking your bags to navigating through the halls of your hotel. Here's a list of some tips to travel more lean when your rolling deep in numbers.
1. Multipurpose items are best
Look for ways to streamline your childcare options while you're traveling. For example, you may discover that a simple, light blanket is useful as a swaddle, a nursing cover, and a picnic blanket or play blanket. There's no need to have several different items when one will do! The same is true for entertainment items during travel. While several small toys will help entertain your child, one tablet takes up a fraction of the space and may gain a lot more interest from a toddler who's feeling confined.
2. Skip the stroller
Instead of using a clunky stroller that will take up way too much space, try wearing your little one. A soft structured carrier or wrap will keep your little one close while leaving your hands free to deal with those other important items. Many parents find that when they do use a stroller, it's more frequently used for transporting bags and other items than for actually holding their child.
3. Watch the diaper bag
If you're traveling by plane, your diaper bag is an excellent resource for all those things that simply can't go missing if your luggage doesn't immediately make it to your destination with you. Packing it tightly and filling with extra outfits, plenty of diapers, and extra formula will help ensure your little one is cared for while you're traveling. On the other hand, you don't that huge, bulky diaper bag whenever you're out taking in the sights. Consider tucking a smaller diaper bag inside your luggage for everyday travel, and keep your day-to-day equipment much more minimal. You don't have to go out with a week's supply of diapers and wipes, three changes of clothes (unless your baby is particularly prone to messes), and a full-size can of formula. Instead, limit your bag to what you'll really need in a day.
4. Look into renting
Many places will allow you to rent large pieces of baby gear: travel cribs, high chairs, and even car seats and strollers. If for example you are renting a Peugeot from Auto France, you can pre-arrange for the purchase of brand new Peugeot branded car seat to be ready to roll when you arrive. You can chooes this option during the checkout process and select what you need based on your child's weight range. Or, remember that you're trying to reduce gear, and plan accordingly. That baby carrier, for example, can be turned into a makeshift high chair to help your child sit up in an adult chair at dinner time. Renting may not be an option in every area for every item, but a little homework will go a long way.
5. See what's available at your hotels
Call ahead of time to see, for example, if a travel crib is available for your little one, and make sure you reserve it before you get there. Keep your child's sensitivities in mind: if you have to use a specific detergent, you might want to make sure that you bring a crib sheet or blanket to put on the bed.
Packing and planning for a European vacation with a little one can be stressful, but this is one of the best times to take a vacation with your family. You don't have to worry about school schedules, and your little one will be fascinated by all the new sights and sounds. If you need help planning your European vacation with a little one in tow, contact us! We'll help you develop a travel plan that will work for your family.
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