Are you looking forward to taking a vacation… when your kids get older? Drop that idea and take off now. Kids and parents benefit from toddler travel!
Sometimes, parents will put off international travel because they are “waiting for the kids to get older”. While it’s great to travel with kids when they are older, there’s a lot of fun to be had if you start kids out traveling when they are young. My 3-year old and I are currently traveling Europe for the summer and I have started up a small list of pros for travel with a 3-year old .
- It’s Cheaper!
Kids under 4-years old ride almost everything for free in the parts of Europe we’ve visited! This included Portugal, Spain, France, Monaco, Italy and Ireland. So far, the free kids fare (often called infant fare) has included the double-decker bus tours, site entry fees, train rides, boat tours, and even our ferry cruise from Barcelona to Italy. From 4-years to around the teen years, you may be a discounted rate but under 4-years has been free for everything we’ve done… with the exception of kid-specific activities.
- Seeing Famous Sites from a Toddlers Point of View is Awesome!
Sure, we can all go to a famous site and do the guided tour, take a bunch of snapshots and move on but lemme tell you, it can be a lot more fun when you’re with a toddler. Of the 2 times I’ve visited The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, the 2nd time, with my 3-year old, was way more interesting. We found snails and examined rocks and climbed Climbed CLIMBED until it was nap time. All the while, we listened to the cheesy buy fun audio guide about rock formations and giants… and did the other typical stuff there is to do there. So essentially, a 3-year old helps you experience things in a way you wouldn’t experience with grown-up travel.
- It’s Easier to Book Hotels!
Because Europe doesn’t really start counting kids until they’re 4, it’s easier (and less expensive) to book hotels with a 3-year old than it is with an older child. There have been several times when traveling with my travel buddy and my parents that we booked through sites who would only allow 4 occupants to a room. If your child is under 4, they’re not considered an occupant so you won’t have to go to the trouble of finding hotels with adjoining rooms or even 2 rooms available (which can be harder in high season).
Europeans LOVE lil kids! In general, we’ve found that people in many parts are Europe are much more affectionate and accommodating for young children than they are with older ones. It’s been fun to see my little boy learn and grow in this type of child-friendly environment. Don’t be surprised if people are constantly touching your child’s head, striking up conversation with them or even picking them up for a quick squeeze. It’s much more acceptable here to be affectionate with a stranger’s child. While it took me off guard in the first week, my son and I quickly warmed to the child-loving nature of Europeans… especially those in Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Ireland.
Do you travel with your 3-year old? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below!