Traveling to Europe with Toddlers isn’t as hard as you may think: here are traveling to Europe with a baby tips and tricks to make a family trip abroad easy and fun!
Traveling with Toddlers to Europe
When my oldest child was eight months old we flew him halfway across the world to Europe. I was a bit terrified about how this would go. Would there be diapers? How would he eat abroad? Would jetlag ruin us all and we’d never sleep again?
I’m pleased to report it was such a great experience that we decided to repeat it a year and a half later. And now, another year and a half later, just did Europe with toddlers again.
Every time I tell friends or family we’re heading out on a big international trip, I get the same question without fail:
“What are you going to do with your kids?”
Clearly, we believe in couple time, in making date night happen, in romantic getaways, and in trips for two. See why you need a couples getaway without kids annually in this post. But we seem to floor people whenever we inform them that we’re taking the children with us to Europe.
People are so interested in traveling to Europe with a baby or toddler and how that works. And honestly, I’m surprised more people don’t do more of it!
How do You Travel to Europe with a Baby?
Traveling to Europe with toddlers is actually quite a bit easier than you may think, and dare I say even enjoyable. Not to mention more than two or three days away from kids and we miss our kids so much it hurts. I’m sure the day will come it won’t feel that way. But right now, while they’re so little, we are all about traveling with a toddler to Europe.
Our friends who have children and are typically floored we do this, and usually proceed to ask how we pull it off. There’s typically a list of specific fears and questions friends ask us. And because I have this conversation so often in person, I thought I’d share it here too for anyone wondering how you do Europe with a toddler.
Tips for Traveling to Europe with Toddlers
- Get a great compact travel stroller. We actually have two of these, and both have been fantastic! We bought a Baby Jogger stroller that collapses into a backpack. It works as an easy carry-on item. It fits in overhead bins on European trains. Also, it holds the sippy cup and snacks we’d need. It’s also compact and light without a lot of weight during travel.
We also have the ErgoBaby Metro which folds up fast, handles cobblestones super smoothly, and is so lightweight. It also has tons of storage for a compact stroller.
Don’t just go with any stroller, get a lightweight travel specific one you easily bring and easily leave at a hotel or AirBnB. It makes a huge difference in napping on the go, stashing extra child items, and keeping them happy and comfortable.
- Babywear as long as possible! Our Lillebaby has been with us on every European trip. On our first trip to Spain, it was all be brought. It worked fantastically! Our baby was even happier than he was at home. He had mom and dad 24/7 holding him. He was on-the-go seeing new things. Additionally, he learned to nap in it when we turned him facing in.
As he grew, we opted for a stroller more often. However, we never would have made it through Neuschwanstein without it!
Get a great baby carrier, break it in on family outings. And plan to wear it on the front or as a backpack for cobblestone streets and tours children and strollers can’t easily go on.
FAQ’s of Traveling to Europe with a Baby
- Did you pack a suitcase of diapers and food?
This may come as a shock to some people, but THEY HAVE BABIES IN EUROPE TOO! Yes, friends, it’s true. They make their own diapers and baby food.
We always land and head straight to a grocery store. You can find food pouches and diapers and wipes almost everywhere. One cheap package of diapers usually will last two weeks of a trip. And although you may see interesting food (like ham pouches in Spain), you’ll find plenty for them to eat.
- What did you feed them?
I nurse my babies, so I breastfeed and we also do baby-led weaning and food pouches. Kids eat what we eat. And we also stock up on fruit and veggies at the market when we land.
There’s always a few snacks from home on hand for older toddlers too. But they learn to try new things and eat when they’re hungry. It’s kind of a beautiful thing!
- Does jet lag mean no one sleeps?
Jet lag is kind of crazy with babies, but the beauty is they adapt quickly. We always have a half night of not a ton of sleep, but we take advantage of jet lag and go see the areas we want baby sleeping so it’s quiet. They nap in a stroller or carrier, and you tour that museum or cathedral in peace.
I have a whole post coming about this, it’s a bit different with a non-napping toddler. But know that it’s all doable and jet lag is something you can get through!
- How do they sleep abroad?
Our babies both have a few things that are sleep queues. They both use/have used sleep sacks, pacifiers, and have a lovey. They love sound machines (or apps on our phones that act as sound machines). We make sure these things come with us! We book hotels and AirBnBs with pack n’ plays or roll in cribs. Between the crib feel and the comforts of sleep at home, they sleep just fine.
- How do you survive the long flight?
I have an entire post dedicated to just this! How to survive long flights with a baby or a toddler. They work like a charm and knock on wood, we’ve never had a crying baby for more than a half hour (knock on wood!).
- How do you get around with them?
The beauty of European countries is the culture of helping parents. If you see a stroller on a subway, you lean and grab the front to help the parent on/off the train. If you need to feed a baby, most people don’t frown on nursing in any location.
Also, there are fewer children in Europe than the U.S. And I’ve found most people are happy to see a baby and are far more patient with children. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but most people are kind! You’ll be pleasantly surprised how easy it is to get around walking and public transportation. You may also be amazed by how much Americans can learn from Europeans when it comes to helping moms and dads with a few simple kind gestures.
Should We Travel With Kids to Europe?
Obviously, a lot depends on you as a parent. Can you roll with some unexpected changes? Are you okay with mixing up routines a little? Do you want a break from your kids, or are you into making family memories?
Traveling to Europe with toddlers has been one of the best family memories we’ve made! I’ll always remember the funny things they did. I’ve had some amazing moments nursing my babies at a historical site and feeling linked to women throughout history. I love that my son has tried so many European cheeses and chocolates.
But most of all, I love that having kids hasn’t meant we’ve had to stop our adventures!
Traveling to Europe with a baby is not only so doable, but I’d highly recommend it!
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