Traveling in Europe with kids is highly recommended. It is a very safe, reasonably clean, and fairly baby-friendly destination for families.
We just spent six weeks traveling around Europe, and came to the conclusion that Europeans seem to love babies and kids! So many people stopped us just to meet Tate (our baby) while we were there. We loved the opportunity to meet so many kind people and make memories together.
However, it was also a HUGE learning experience. To make your Europe trip smoother, avoid these five mistakes when traveling in Europe with kids.
1. Don’t Bring Your Large American Stroller
Europe is old, thousands of years old, so naturally, everything is smaller. Streets are more narrow, and most people live in a little apartment and drive a small car. Seriously, a station wagon is the European version of an American SUV.
This is why I recommend bringing a small city stroller, or even better, a travel stroller with you to Europe. This is the worst mistake we made, and it was not fun.
When I was pregnant, I researched a lot and asked all the mamas which stroller I should get. I ended up with one City Select and a Bob. Both strollers are wonderful here in America, but they are huge.
We took the City Select with us to Europe. While it turns so smoothly and is easy to push, it was nearly impossible to fit in a European cab, it did not fit on the trains, and all around it was a major pain!
I found myself really wishing I had bought the UppaBaby instead, or invested in a good travel stroller.
2. Don’t Forget Your Baby Carrier
There will be areas in Europe where you are going to want to ditch your stroller all together. Some areas have cobblestone roads that are difficult to push a stroller through, not to mention extremely bumpy and uncomfortable for your child.
It’s also nice to lose the stroller in areas that are extremely crowded.
I also like my carrier for the airport so I can have free hands when I fold up the stroller and have to carry the bags onto the plane.
3. Don’t Forget Your Diaper Changing Station
There are many areas in Europe where it will be nearly impossible to find a place to change your baby. Be prepared to find a grassy area, use a bench or ledge, and even change your baby in your lap.
We took our Skip Hop Diaper Changing Station everywhere we went. I love it because it has pockets to store everything you need in addition to the mat.
Put your diapers, wipes, powder, cream, and a change of clothes in the bag so you don’t have to lug your entire bag with you when you have to change the diaper in a public restroom or small airplane bathroom.
4. Don’t Forget To Be Prepared for People Trying to Kiss Your Baby
The culture in Europe is different. In many cultures, a kiss on the cheek is a normal and natural greeting. These genuine and warm welcomes are pretty refreshing!
However, many Europeans WILL touch your baby without asking you first and some might even try to kiss the baby. Kissing is the quickest way to get your baby sick. Be prepared for this.
I had one lady kiss my baby while she was standing behind me, and I had no way to even see her coming.
One way to avoid this is babywearing. However, if your baby is out, just make sure you are aware and ready to stop people if you are uncomfortable with a touch or a kiss.
5. If You Feel Safe, Don’t Forget To Accept Help
For the most part, Europeans were so polite when it comes to moms and babies. So many people offered me their seat, helped carry bags, etc.
At first, I turned down help because I didn’t want to inconvenience people. However, by the end of their trip, I made a new resolve not to turn down help as long as I felt safe.
Being a mom is hard work, especially if you are traveling with kids. Accepting help eases your burdens and can make the job a lot more doable.
Even better though, it helps the person who offered you help. It gives them something to be proud of and can really make the world a better place.
Like I said earlier, make sure you feel safe first and use proper caution to avoid pickpockets and other dangerous people.
However, in my humble opinion, if we would all just try to ease each other’s burdens, and accept help when others offer to ease ours, the spirit of giving would increase and we would find the world to be a much friendlier and happier place.