Brexit looms over everything these days, but (apart from the exchange rate) there’s no reason why it should stop us taking our children to enjoy Europe. Indeed with an apparent rise in ‘staycations’ it may be a very good time to explore the riches that the continent has to offer.
Do the Homework
Europe is packed full of cultural riches. It is also a continent of many cultures and languages. Engage the children in choosing where you will go. It’s a great weapon against the ‘I never wanted to come here’ moan.
Once you’ve agreed where you are going, involve everyone in doing the research. If there are films or books set in your location, get watching and reading: the Charioteer’s Son for Rome, the exciting bits of the Odyssey for Greece, or whatever is age appropriate. There are great stories set in most of the countries of Europe. Then get planning what you would like to see in each location.
Manage the Money
Most of Europe uses the Euro, so your children can get used to the money easily – they may turn out better than you at doing the currency conversion sums.
Save money where possible on accommodation by self-catering, or even more by camping. European campsites can be very comfortable. If moving around a lot, try using hostels which often have family rooms.
Buy and prepare your own food as much as possible – experience the markets which are such a feature of life on the continent. Picnics are a great way to absorb the atmosphere while eating local food.
You don’t need to go to all the expensive sites. People watching is a major occupation for continentals, so get with the locals and do the same.
Adjust the Pace
Travelling with your children will be frustrating, so build the frustrations into the programme. Allow plenty of days with nothing much on, then if you miss a day you can take up the slack.
Indeed, frustrations can start on the first day at the airport, and airlines can be very bad at handling their disappointed flyers, as solicitors Bott & Co, who specialise in airline compensation cases, found in their recent care and assistance survey. So be prepared to adapt.
Face the fact that for a few years you are going to holiday at your children’s pace. Accept that you will not get to see all the art galleries and don’t feel guilty about it. So, you went to Parish and didn’t see the Mona Lisa – it will still be there next time.
A good idea is to allow each member of the family to set the agenda for the day. Today we go with Dad to the Archaeological Museum, tomorrow Sophie will take us to the Asterix Park. That way everyone gets to be both a driver and a passenger.
The more you engage all the family in planning the trip, the more they will all commit to sharing the enjoyment. The memories that you will bring back will be topics of mealtime conversations well into their adult years.
Daniel Lee has always had a passion for travel so when a job at his local travel agents came up, he jumped at the chance! A Dad himself with 2 boy’s and another on the way, he enjoys writing family related travel articles.
Photo courtesy of africa from www.freedigitalphotos.net.