Places to Go (Vacation) - Tips and Tricks for Backpacking in Europe with Kids - Dragging Our Kids Through Europe, Finale

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During our trip, I asked the kids and Dan if they had any advice to offer people undertaking a similar vacation. Here are their response:

P -

* Make sure to stay in the shade in Venice.
* In Paris, always dress really nice.
* Try not to fight.
* Buy a special hat.

F -

* Avoid all restaurants with 80s music, parents dance really weird. Hint, Mom, hint.
* Keep a journal.
* Focus on the architecture, not the heat.
* Eat lots and lots of dessert.

T -

* Annoy your parents.
* Go to the bathroom before you leave somewhere.
* Bring summer clothes and a big bag.

Dan -

* Drink red wine and learn how to order the house red in the local language.
* Ignore all whining, they can power through.

And (of course), I had lots of advice:

* Postagram is an awesome app for sending postcards to friends (plus you don't have to buy stamps).
* Travel chess/backgammon is perfect for downtime as are Kindles and Kindlefires.
* Bring lots of water bottles.
* Sunsets in Paris around 10 pm, so sleep late and eat late.
* Have a plan, but realize detours are inevitable.
* Buy laminated city maps (available from Amazon) of all the major cities you visit (and that way you don't have to use your phone's data).
* Ice cream/gelato cures everything.
* Turkish towels pack easily and they make great extra blankets and/or beach towels.
* Try not to plan too many organized tours or museums, kids like to explore on their own terms (or at least our kids did).
* When you do take organized tours book through Context, they're amazing.


* We wish we would have bought all the kids hiking backpacks, instead of making P and T use their school backpacks (both of which broke because they weren't meant to carry heavy weight).
* Most cabs will only take 4 passengers, so if you're a family of five plan accordingly. And, ideally, learn about public transportation options before you arrive somewhere.
* Keens are great for travel (they go from hiking to the ocean), but wow do they smell bad.
* Bring reusable bags and laundry pods (we had a hard time finding laundry detergent in small stores).
* Unlike in 1998, Eurorail passes are no longer a good deal (because most trains require reservations, which can sell out), buy individual tickets instead.
* Graffiti and cigarettes are everywhere, which my kids found very very odd (lots of questions about why people smoke).

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