summer in europe

Summer in Europe 2014: my toddler and me

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There will be airport or train station downtime, especially when spending a summer in Europe. Make it part of the fun instead of a source of stress.

And it will go on and on… this is the first of many yet to be written blogs about summer in Europe with my toddler! :-)

After a lifetime of dreaming and many past adventures of preparation, it is finally time.  After months of planning for a summer abroad with my toddler, our Euro2014, summer in Europe has finally begun!  My wonderful and understanding fiancé drove our 3-year old boy and me to SFO last week and we got on our outbound flight, heading for Dublin, Ireland. The flight alone was an adventure.  It’s all how you look at it but for us, the plane ride is not something to dread but part of the fun.  Before the flight, I mentally prepare my lil guy, Ian, for what to expect, throw some travel sized toys in our bags and… we’re off!  (These simple prep steps help combat the boredom and any anxiety that may make the trip hard on a lil kid.)  We sleep, eat, color, stretch in the aisles and find new friends while onboard.  We watch movies, play games, tell stories and watch time fly by.

Our summer in Europe has started off really well.  We cut travel costs by house and car swapping with online friends so our first 2 days and 1 night in Dublin, we spent with a family of friends that we’ll be home exchanging with in June.  They were the nicest people!  Ian had a lot of fun playing with their 3 kids and they took us around to see Malahide Castle, parks, and some other sites.  It was a treat to go around with a local family… especially one that had built-in friends for Ian.

summer in Europe

Summer in Europe can be so much fun for kids!

On the second night, they dropped us back at the Dublin airport and we continued on to Spain, Barcelona to be exact.  Our flight arrived pretty late so I made sure our car rental place, Hertz, knew we were coming.  They close at midnight and I didn’t figure we’d find our bags and get through customs until after their close time (which we didn’t).  After a bit of a trek to find the right Hertz office (they’d only left Terminal 1 open and we’d arrived in Terminal 2), we headed to an inexpensive hotel close to the airport for the night.  The next morning, we were up and out around 10am, looking forward to getting to our rented AirBnB studio flat in Lloret de Mar.  We’ll be here for the next month… or at least using it as our adventure headquarters.

Things Learned So Far:  It IS possible to pile your child on top of all your luggage and push the luggage cart while pulling a stroller. haha  I’m gonna have some serious muscle power after this summer!

Things to Avoid:  If possible, don’t let your kid sleep between connections at the airport.  It’s not worth a fight or meltdown, of course, but it’s much more relaxing for you when they sleep on the plane.

Make Life Easier By: It’s a good idea to bring milk or buy it at the airport since most planes don’t stock it.  If they airport shops don’t sell it, a coffee shop will usually sell you a cup and will even warm it for you, if you want.  I also pack baby carrots, sliced cucumbers, and so on since they make easy, healthy snacks and veggies can be hard to come by.  We still indulge, of course, but healthy veggie snacks keeps your diet ‘regular’ which keeps your kid’s body functioning right… if you get what I mean.

For the Fun of It: Encourage your kid to make friends with other travel kids in the airport.  Watching the lil ones play will help you relax and make everyone smile.  As the feature pic of this blog shows, there are many families who travel and our kids bond over destinations, food, games, and even their Trunki luggage.

Summer in Europe: to be continued…

About Susan D

Curious Mind, Adventurer Heart... Susan D is a frequent traveler and the mother of an (amazing) toddler boy, Ian. They often travel together, just the two of them, (daddy doesn't have the travel bug as often) and hope to inspire others to travel more with their kids.
At the age of 3, Ian has been to 18 countries with mommy, and on over 30 airplane rides. They love to visit family, friends and interesting places all over the globe and are excited to share their great adventures, mishaps, and tips for traveling with kids with you! Traveling with children is rewarding and an education that should not be missed.

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