Traveling with children: do's and don'ts

Traveling with children: do’s and don’ts

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Traveling with children may seem daunting at first but don’t be afraid! It’s also a rewarding experience. When you start traveling with children you appreciate other things about your travels, like how they enjoy discovering new places or how everything seems different if you look it through the eyes of your children.

The more you travel with children, the easier it gets and the more prepared you are for the next one. If it’s your first time traveling with children, check these tips! They’ll surely be super useful.

Planning

Tips for traveling with children
Don’t begin stressing: start from the beginning with planning your trip!

✔️Research the place you’re traveling to and find activities your kids will enjoy. If you know people that have traveled there, ask them for their tips. Have an idea of what kind of weather you’ll be getting into. Look for the forecast days before you’re traveling so you pack appropriately.

❌Don’t be afraid. Just do it! Remember many parents travel with their children every day and they survive: you can do it too!

✔️When choosing accommodation think about details like: is the place safe for children? Is it accessible? Do you have to climb many stairs to get there? Are there places near to eat or buy food (that your kids will like)? Research these details before getting there or booking to avoid disappointments.

✔️Most of the times, when traveling with children, it’s better to rent an apartment or house. That way you can save money by cooking.

✔️Explain your children that you’re going to travel. Let them know what will happen and when. Try to get them as excited as possible! 

Don’t overschedule your days from the beginning. Remember traveling with children means everything is slower.

✔️If you’re flying overseas, go to the doctor and ask if any vaccines are needed or if you need to take any precautions with your children.

✔️Check if you need visas for your children.

✔️Get your kids involved with the destination. For example, if the food is really different, you could try some new recipes so they get used to it.

 

Getting ready

✔️Do pack extra diapers if your children still use them. Also, bring an extra set of clothes in your carry-on (or the children’s carry-on if they’re old enough to pay for a ticket) in case your child vomits or gets wet. Have plastic bags to put the wet or vomited clothing so they don’t wet anything else in your bags.

✔️Bring wipes and tissues (my mom always tells me this even if I don’t travel with children haha).

✔️Have a refillable water bottle for everyone. Remember to empty it before going into the security checks.

❌Don’t overpack but be sure to bring the necessary stuff. With children, there are always emergencies.

✔️If your kids are old enough, chances are they’ll give an opinion on what they want to bring. Give them that chance but always edit in case they’re bringing stuff they won’t use.

✔️Pack food for your children. Bring something they like so you don’t have to worry if they get hungry. Great ideas are snacks like cereal bars, cereal, puree. Bring stuff that doesn’t spill. Remember most of the food served on the flights may not be kid friendly so take your precautions. Also, pack a spoon or fork so your kids can eat their food.

❌Avoid bringing fruits or stuff that may spoil if you don’t refrigerate it. My sister once brought a banana for my niece and when she wanted to eat it, it was too ripe. Also, don’t trust you’ll find food that your children will like at the airport.

✔️Prevent motion sickness. I actually had to take motion sickness medicine well into my twenties because I always felt nauseous when traveling, I only stopped taking medicine some years ago. So, I imagine how bad children would feel not even knowing what’s happening to them. If you’re giving medicine to your children, check for how long the effect lasts (and if you need to give them more doses).

✔️Try to keep children awake in the airport and on your way to the airport, that way it’s easier for them to fall asleep during the flight. In some airports, there are play areas for children!

❌Don’t “tire children” the day before. It’s better if they rest well the day before a trip, otherwise, they might get grumpy. Also, avoid giving them sweets, since they could cause them to be awake longer.

✔️Bring a light stroller. It will also help you to put some small bags or carry-ons there. Do check before your flight if the airline gives you a chance to have your stroller on board. For example, most low-cost airlines don’t permit it.

✔️Use packing cubes to divide the clothing of your children and yourself on your bags.

 

Flights

Flights may be the scariest part of traveling with children but there's a lot you can do to prepare for it. Follow these tips for traveling with children.
Flights may be the scariest part of traveling with children but there’s a lot you can do to prepare for it.

✔️Make your kid (or take that decision for them) choose the toy to play with during the flight. Also, think that this toy may be lost so be sure it’s not one of their favorite ones! Depending on how long the flight is, you’ll maybe have to prepare other activities (or pray they’ll fall asleep!). A tablet with different apps and kids’ shows is always a great idea.

❌Avoid toys that make too much noise. Remember you’re sharing flight with other people that may not be used to be with children.

✔️Bring, in your carry-on, a hooded jacket for your kid. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to the beach or to a warm place. There’s always air conditioning during flights and you wouldn’t want your kid to get sick during vacations. Better be safe than sorry.

 

Dealing with jet lag

✔️Check the time zone you’re traveling to and make your kids go to sleep before/after their usual times one week before your trip. That way, it’ll be easier for them to get used to the new time zone.

✔️Go walking with your children if you get to your destination during the daytime: natural light helps a lot!

❌Don’t try to keep your children awake so they go to sleep at night. Give them the chance to sleep a little nap, otherwise, they’ll be grumpy all day.

 

The trip itself

Travelin with children do's and don'ts
Let kids enjoy the trip at their own pace, don’t rush them!

✔️Plan activities everyone can enjoy. Traveling with children is easier in the sense that they’re not shy to tell if they’re bored, hungry or wanna get out of a place (have you traveled with adults? This gets complicated sometimes!). If you’re traveling with babies, it’s way easier! You can walk around with the stroller and that’s it.

❌Avoid places that may be boring for your children. Of course, this depends on each family. Some kids enjoy museums, others parks. You’re the one that knows what your children will appreciate, so listen to your gut.

✔️Use public transportation when possible. It’s cheaper and it’s a great adventure for children!

✔️Keep the routines your children have: like their sleep and meal times. Of course, you don’t have to be completely inflexible with those times but keeping that in mind will help your children feel more comfortable when traveling.

✔️When going out to eat, go to places that have choices your children will like. Since you’re on a vacation it’s ok to have more ice cream than usual or more dessert, let the children have a good time!

❌Don’t force children to try new food. Try it yourself and it’ll be their choice to eat it or not. Most of the times, as days pass by, they’ll become more open to trying new things.

✔️Enjoy it! You’re in a different place with your children, keep making memories!

❌Don’t rush it. Children tend to entertain with the smallest things and they take their time to enjoy everything.

 

Getting back

✔️Take a day or two to “rest” from your vacations before your children go to school or you return to work.

 

As you can read, there’s a lot you can do to have a better trip with your children! What other tips would you give to us?

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How do I get from the airport to my accommodation

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A concern almost everyone has when getting to a new city is: how do I get from the airport to my accommodation. And it’s completely justified. You’re getting to a strange place you’ve never been before and you don’t know exactly how everything works out.

That’s also one of my favorite feelings: it’s nerve wrecking, exciting and a little bit scary.

The more you travel, the safer you feel but unless you visit the same city many times, that feeling will stay almost unchanged. The thing is you can prepare: get as ready as you can so you are ahead of the curve. And although you’re never completely ready for everything that can happen when you get to your destination there are some steps you can take to have a better experience. Check them out!

 

1. Save the map of the city on your phone

This is probably something you already do. Having an offline map of the city you’re visiting is a great advantage and it will save your life if you’re feeling lost. It’s super easy to have an offline map of the city on your phone with Google Maps. Just follow these steps.

Go to Google Maps and search for the city you’re traveling to and go to the menu.

Tap on Select your own map. You’ll se the map you’ve searched before, zoom in or out depending on whatever you’ll need. Take into consideration that the more area you want to cover the biggest the file will be (don’t worry, Google Maps will tell you how big that file will be). Tap on “Download” and the process will begin. If you want to change the name of the map just tap on the options right beside the maps’ names. Whenever you need access to the map go to Offline maps on your Google Maps app.

 

Now you’ll have access to this map every time. If you want to have a more complete map you can save the places you want to visit during your trip. Remember the local recommendations are always the best!

 

2. Save the route out of the airport on your phone

If you use the “Get Directions” feature on Google Maps you’ll get some ideas on how to get out of the airport to your accommodation, especially if you’re planning to use public transportation. Once you’ve done it you can send those directions to your mail or save them so you can have access to them offline.

Send routes on Google Maps to your phone to have it available offline
Tap on the route you want to take, check the details and tap on “Save offline” to have it whenever you need it.

Google Maps will give you different options to move around. If you’re in a big city you’ll even have estimate arrival times of trains or buses and prices for apps like Uber. Be sure to check for the best option. Most of the times the first route Google Maps gives you is the fastest one but it may not be the cheapest one (been there!) or the most comfortable if you’re traveling with big luggage.

Sometimes you want to get to your destination as fast as you can; sometimes you want to get there without spending too much money so check thoroughly all your options.

 

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions

Most of the times we don’t want to look too disoriented because that makes us vulnerable to scams or to people trying to get advantage of us. Other times we’re too proud to accept that we have no idea of what are we doing. That happened to me once when traveling with two friends. One of them thought he knew how to get to our hostel but when we got to the bus station we had no idea how to get tickets or if we had to only wait for the bus. After waiting for some minutes and still not having idea of what we were doing we decided to get back to the airport and ask what to do. It was easier than expected and we got to our hostel safe.

How to get from the airport to your accommodation
Signs can sometimes be confusing if you’re not a local. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions!

Don’t be afraid to ask a police or at information booths, in my experience people will help you and give you precise information. If you’re asking at an information booth don’t feel pressured to acquire any service if you’re not sure about it. Be sure to compare the routes you’ve got and the information given to you. Remember you can always use Talk Travel to ask all these questions beforehand.

 

4. Try not to look/act too touristy

You’re getting out of the airport with luggage, looking dead (just talking about me, really) and maybe a bit disoriented, chances are you do look touristy. But don’t worry. There are certain things you can do to avoid this.

How to look less touristy when traveling Talk Travel app
The first one: avoid using a selfie stick.

I would recommend for you to learn some useful phrases in the language of the place you’re traveling to. Even if you don’t pronounce correctly, the locals will appreciate the effort you make by speaking in their own language. Try to avoid getting too comfortable with people that offer services to you, they can be genuinely nice but to be honest, they’re just trying to sell you something.

If you get lost, try to follow people and get to a safe place to look for your map or ask for directions. If possible, research for scams and places you have to avoid.

 

5. Use public transportation when you can

Of course, there are places in which this is more difficult and not too safe. But do it when you can since it’s also a way to explore the place like a local! Most of the big cities have metro stations near or inside the airport so take advantage of that, it’s also cheaper than if you get a cab. Some other airports have shuttles available for tourists so they can get to their destinations.

Use public transportation while traveling abroad.
You’ll learn a lot about the daily life of the locals by using public transportation.

Before getting into any kind of public transportation be sure to know these things:

  • Where to buy tickets. For metro stations, this is pretty easy since all of them have machines in which you can buy them but for other types of transportation like buses, it may be a bit different. Ask if you have to buy tickets (like in Italian cities, for example) or if you can pay directly on the bus (like in Mexican cities, for example).
  • Cost of the tickets. Think of how much you’ll use public transportation and check if there’s a way in which you can save money by buying more of them. Also be sure to know if you’ve got to buy a card or if you can buy single tickets.
  • What kind of ticket you need. In bigger cities, there are different types of transportation. In some, you can use the same ticket to use the metro and the buses, in others not. So plan your route and be sure of what you have to buy.

 

What advice would you give us to get out of the airport safe and sound?

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Tips for traveling with your family

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Last year I went on a family vacation. We hadn’t gone on one of those for a really long time. When I was a kid my family and I used to take vacations almost every year but I didn’t have to plan anything. But now, as a grown-up, I had a more active role in planning everything. I’m used to traveling by myself or with like-minded people so planning a vacation with my family was a bit of a challenge.

In the end, it was a great trip, we had fun and we enjoyed our time together. We took too many pics and it’s definitely something we will do again. I learned many things from that experience and today I’m writing down some tips you can use to plan your next family vacations.

 

1. Pick a destination that everyone will enjoy
Plan your next family vacatin with these tips by Talk Travel
We ended up choosing Playa del Carmen, Cancun in Mexico. A place that had activities everyone would enjoy.

If you’re traveling solo you can practically go anywhere but when traveling with children or older people you have to think about comfort. To travel the world with a family may be a challenge! Every member of the family should be part of this process… even little children! Listen to everybody’s opinion and let them get excited for the destination you’ll be visiting. Think of how you’ll get there and if it’s safe for everyone. Key points you have to consider:

  • How long will it take to get there: remember long flights or drives are not very comfortable for children and older people
  • Airport and airline facilities for all the members of the family
  • Safety
  • Weather
2. Get an appropriate accommodation
We decided to stay at an Airbnb that had enough rooms for everyone, including a crib for my niece and a pool so she could have fun (something I would never ever think as important when choosing accommodation)

I’ve no problem with staying at cheap hostels when I’m traveling solo or with friends. Traveling with my mother was a whole different story. She wanted clean sheets, her own bathroom, and even breakfast. There were times I got frustrated… I didn’t even want breakfast! But I had to cater to everyone’s needs. I mean, it would be easier for me to get used to clean sheets than for my mother to get used to random guys going into her room. To choose the perfect accommodation we looked for these things:

  • Safety of the neighborhood
  • Location: we checked if there were stores, drug stores and anything we could need close
  • Comfort for everyone: check for elevators (essential when you’re traveling with a stroller), AC, Wi-Fi (I demanded that), kitchen if you’re planning on cooking, etc.

3. Plan activities for everyone
Cenote Azul in Cozumel, Mexico. Cenotes were surprisingly fun for everyone!

I thought this would be one of the trickiest parts of planning our vacation but it was actually pretty easy (or maybe my family is really easygoing haha). Since we chose a beach we had plenty of activities for everyone to enjoy. We went snorkeling while my niece played in the sand with her grandmother. We went to some cenotes that everyone enjoyed and we walked around the city so my mother could buy souvenirs for her friends. There are also tours that are suited for everyone and if you’re short in time, those are a great idea.

Some activities you’ll enjoy more than others but try to plan activities everyone can be part of. And if some activities are not suited for everyone (like clubbing, for example) you can probably go on separate ways. You shouldn’t feel pressured to stay all the time with your family. Of course, family vacations are about spending quality time together but having some time to explore a place by yourself is also important. Your family won’t mind (mine didn’t!).

Planning activities for everyone will be easier if you’ve got local insights of the place you’re going to. I wish I had an app like Talk Travel back then. It would’ve made our planning a lot easier.

Also, if you’re traveling with a big family and want to travel on a budget, check these tips:

4. Don’t overschedule your days
Plan your next family vacation without stress with these tips
Walking down the beach was a great activity that everyone enjoyed. We didn’t have a plan but to just walk and see where that lead us.

Traveling with children means you have to slow down most of the time. If you plan too many activities you may feel frustrated if you don’t get to do all of them. Or what’s worse… if you do get to accomplish every activity, odds are children will feel cranky and tired (and you too!).

Plan one or two important activities during the day and leave the rest open so you can relax and let everyone enjoy moments together. Remember traveling is not a competition. It doesn’t matter if you get to see everything or just some things, the important thing is that you’ll be creating memories.

5. Remember what family vacations are all about
Stress-free family vacation tips
Discovering the beautiful beaches of Mexico. Now, this is a memory we’ll never forget.

Family vacations are all about making memories. All of us have a special memory connected to our trips with our families when we were young or even as we get older. From this trip, I’ll never forget snorkeling with my mother and my sister. I’ll never forget that time I went with my father to feed some little pigs when I was 4 years old. I won’t ever forget when my sister and I woke up our parents one day at 6 in the morning because we wanted to go to the pool of the hotel.

Spending quality time with your loved ones should be the priority when planning or going on family vacations. Of course, there will be moments you want to make something different or when you feel like you could be doing a lot more of stuff but remember… you will never live this moment again, so enjoy!

 

Family vacations are great opportunities to bond with your family, to explore new places and to learn new things about your loved ones. Don’t miss the chance to have new stories to tell.

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Kid friendly activities in Paris

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When you say Paris you probably think of it as the perfect city for lovers or to visit with your significant other. But what happens when your love story has continued on and now you’ve got children? Is Paris an interesting place for kids if you’re traveling there? Of course, it is! There are tons of kid-friendly activities in Paris that you will also enjoy. So, if you’re planning a trip to the City of Lights with your children, don’t forget to add these places to your itinerary.

Parks

Kid friendly activities in Paris
Having picnics in parks around Paris is a true way to feel like a local and kids will love it!

Apart from amusement parks like the Astérix Park or Disneyland Paris, there are many other kid friendly parks in Paris, many of them way cheaper than these or even free.

Buttes-Chaumont Park

Located close to Montmartre this park is one of the oldest and biggest green spaces in Paris. Kids will love to roll down the multiple hills of this park and they’ll also appreciate the caves, waterfalls, a suspended bridge, and an artificial lake. Adults will also enjoy the great view of the city you can get from there. The entry is free and there are also areas where you can get something to eat.

Jardin d’Acclimatation

Probably our favorite. This park is not only beautiful but it combines landscaped spaces, cultural programmes and… a theme park! It was created in 1860 and there are many different activities everyone will enjoy: touring aboard a little train, pony rides, puppet shows, and riding boats. The park also has 8 restaurants to choose from and you can check some kid-friendly activities here. The entrance will be free until April 30th of 2018. 

Jardin du Luxembourg

Inspired by the Boboli Gardens in Florence these were created in 1612. There are many activities for children like rides and slides but there are also activities for adults like playing chess, tennis, and bridge or remote control boats. Inside the park, you can find the Théâtre des Marionnettes du Jardin du Luxembourg (a puppet theater) which is one of our favorite activities for kids in Paris.

Les Berges Sur Seine

This is a promenade created along the left bank of the Seine river (it’s between Pont de l’Alma and the Musée d’Orsay). The promenade has many kid-friendly activities like floating gardens, playgrounds, sports facilities and hopscotch courts. A fun fact: if the water of the river rises too high everything in the park can be dismantled and moved within 24 hours.

Jardin des Tuileries

Legend says that Charles Perrault, author of fairy tales like Sleeping Beauty, convinced Louis XIV to open this garden to the public. This garden has a great playground area, a boating pond, and a carousel. If you go there in the summer you’ll find a fun fair. Be sure to get an ice cream from Angelina, where you can also have a tea.

Bois de Vincennes

This place seems to have been created with families in mind. There are plenty of spaces to have fun or just relax. The Bois de Vincennes has a mini golf, slides, ping-pong tables and a lake where you can go for a boat ride. It also houses an arboretum, ornithological reserves, and a zoo. Read more about everything this park has to offer here.

 

Museums

Interesting activities for children in Paris
The Louvre is a must-see for art buffs but there are a lot of other museums you can also visit with children in Paris.
Palais de la découverte

You’ll learn a lot going to this museum. This museum is all about science presented in interactive experiments. You can learn about astronomy (there’s a Planetarium), biology, acoustics, chemistry, genetics, physics, math and earth sciences. Be sure to check their agenda before going so you know which workshops are available (only in French).

Museum of Magic

If your children are into magic this stop is a must. This museum showcases everything related to the art of magic, tricks, and illusions. Not only is this museum full of magic artifacts like wands and secret boxes, it also provides a great way to understand the history of magicians. You can also visit the Musée des Automates that’s near it.

Museum of Chocolate

Learn all about the choco-story of the world. This museum is as fun as it sounds. There are special tours and activities for kids so you won’t have to worry about them getting bored. You can also try many chocolates (who wouldn’t want to?) and even go to workshops so you can make your own. All in all, one of the most kid-friendly activities in Paris.

Art Ludique – Le Musée

The first museum of the world dedicated to the contemporary art of entertainment. Kids will love it because it houses exhibitions on cartoons, cinema, manga, video games and animation from all over the world. Check here its previous exhibitions so you can get an idea of what can you see here.

La Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie

Inside of this museum is the Cité des Enfants that’s specially made for children (buy tickets online here). This will also be enjoyed by adults and it’s a place for experimentation and exploration… all while having fun!

 

Other interesting places

Fun places to visit in Paris with kids
Visiting the Catacombs in Paris will be an experience your children will always remember!
The Catacombs

Definitely for older children as it can be a bit creepy for the younger ones. This unusual popular tour is home of around six million bones and it covers 11 thousand square meters of underground space in Paris. This will be a tale your children will tell to all of their friends. Buy your tickets online on the official website.

Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes

Kid-friendly activities in Paris wouldn’t be complete without a proper zoo. This zoo is one of the oldest in the world and it is home of bears, big cats, reptiles and even red pandas. You can also visit the vivariums where you can see animals in danger of extinction or that no longer exist in the wild. Don’t forget to visit the Natural History Museum that’s inside.

Aquarium de Paris – Cinéaqua

All the activities in this aquarium are super kid-friendly. It’s close to the Eiffel Tower so you can visit after that. There are more than 10,000 fish, 32 sharks and even a pool where kids can touch different species. If you eat in the restaurant of the place you can also enjoy the view of different fish since it has its own aquarium. Be prepared to meet a mermaid and a triton during your visit.

 

France Miniature

Not in Paris but really close to Versailles so you can take a detour while visiting there. Your children will feel like giants walking among the miniatures of the most important icons in France like the Eiffel Tower, St. Tropez, Mont St. Michel and the Basilica of Lourdes. There’s also a play area especially made for children where they can slide down a six-track toboggan.

 

What do you think? Would your children enjoy these places? Let us know in the comments!