Skip Navigation

Family Europe Trip with Toddler

Travel Forums Europe Family Europe Trip with Toddler

1. Posted by arachchie (Budding Member 2 posts) 2y

Hi Guys

First post on here and recommended it by my mum who travels a bit and uses this forum.

Our Family (Wife, 20month toddler and I) are going to Europe in almost a weeks time through Singapore.
We need to spend 5 days in Lund (near Copenhagen) as soon as we arrive for my sisters graduation but after that from the 2nd of June till the 12th we were trying to see a few places. In that time we need about 3 days in London. I was hoping i could ask you guys where you recommend going given our time, budget and fact that its harder to travel for long periods with a toddler.

Some criteria

On average we would like to spend around 100-120 USD per night on hotels but know in London we will have to be closer to 150USD most likely.
Would like it easy to get around (we will have 2 suitcases most likely).
Not too family oriented - We are probably not too concerned about doing something like Euro disney or anything like that
Safe
Got to do atleast 3 days in london to see some friends and family and the usual sights.

We are thinking taking the train to Berlin from Copenhagen for a couple of nights (2nd and 3rd) then to somewhere else for another 2 nights (4th and 5th) and then onto London for 3/4 nights (6th, 7th, 8th,9th) and then into Paris early for last two nights (10th and 11th).

My main concern is the time between Copenhagen and London,

Where would you suggest i go after Berlin (thinking about flying)
Is Berlin ok ? Easy to get from train station to a hotel and then airport ?
Could i go do two different places instead ?

Appreciate any help especially focusing on suitable places to see that make it easy for the family to lug luggage around :) Eg I hear when we arrive in Paris we have to catch a cab to the hotel but it shouldnt be much ? 20-30usd ? because the train stations dont have escalators or lifts.

2. Posted by vanessa (Travel Guru 256 posts) 2y

travel with toddler is not easy thing.
Copenhagen, Paris, London, Berlin - all these are very big, noisy and intensive cities - pleasure for adults, but complete suffer for young kids (especially London). Lack of stability (constant place to sleep and eating habits), transportation, noise, crowd all around - all this will be stressful for a child and you are going to mess around his/her needs. I can (very much) understand your desire to travel and see all around, but right now your plans sound to me trouble, not a joy.
I'm sorry to begin from being negative. You are going to do it anyway, so, let's see how to make it positive expirience.

...5 days in Lund (near Copenhagen) ... > from the 2nd of June till the 12th we were trying to see a few places. ... about 3 days in London - to see some friends and family and the usual sights..

>>> LONDON is huge, noisy, expensive. 3 days it's almost nothing for London - just a half-eye peep.
Budget: if you r going to stay in friend's / family place - then accommodation and food are not that painful. Still eating outdoors will be costy. If you want to spend less - supermarket and self-cooking can help.
Public transport is good but price just scare. You have no another choice (because of child) but use p.trnsport, so plan your days carefuly n choose the best tickets u can take. In general - buses are slower, but cheaper then metro.
Most of big museums (great museums there!) are free of charge but ask to donate (up to you).
Here are couple of tips, for making your London expirience softer:
1) there are many and many big green parks in the city, it's good for taking a break of crazy traffic of central London.
2) You may go to Greenwich (Gr. Mean Time and the Meridian Line) - it's very near, it's quiet and surrounded by beautiful green park.

...Some criteria:
On average we would like to spend around 100-120 USD per night on hotels but know in London we will have to be closer to 150USD most likely.
Would like it easy to get around (we will have 2 suitcases most likely).
Not too family oriented - We are probably not too concerned about doing something like Euro disney or anything like that
Safe

>>> well, forget about Euro Disney :-) your child is too young for this. But "family oriented" means 1st of all safety. I don't talk about crime (even it may happen to everyone anywhere), but about safety on streets (traffic, crowd, etc), safety in hotel (windows and doors, lockers, sharp things around, etc), safety in the roads (automatic doors, steps, what ever) - definately safety of the child is a main criterion, u & your wife will survive ;-)

Except of overpriced London - 80-100EU / night / room for hotel sounds reasonable for Europe. For this money you can expect basic (***, sometimes even ****) hotel with facilities in the room, sometimes incl. even breakfast.

Less luggage - easy to travel, you are right. Still, you must to take all nesessary things for child. Keep in mind that weather can switch and turn into very hot or, sometimes, to quite cool, even cold. You always can buy another part of shoes or jacket, but who wants to spend time on shopping on travel?

message is getting long, so i will breake it into 2 parts... (will b continued)

[ Edit: Edited on 18-May-2012, at 23:03 by vanessa ]

3. Posted by vanessa (Travel Guru 256 posts) 2y

... thinking taking the train to Berlin from Copenhagen for a couple of nights (2nd and 3rd) then to somewhere else for another 2 nights (4th and 5th) and then onto London for 3/4 nights (6th, 7th, 8th,9th) and then into Paris early for last two nights (10th and 11th).

sorry to dissapoint, but u, guys, planning more then u can take, overwise you wanna spend your trip net in the road and become experts of train-stations in Europe. I see you counting in US$, so, compare to size of States you hope to run through "Old Cute Little Europe" ( just my guess) - so here is surprise: Europe is adult but not senile, it's not always cute but often elegant, it's not short at all and travel takes time. But the main point - u get nothing with running through places. Everyone of places you mentioned above must at least a week for the superficial glance. If budget allows - being you, I would stay in London. London is satisfying in any way for every one, Engl-speaking, and huge, huge, huge. Huge not only in size, but in depth of layers (of history, of culture, of events, of different societies, of foods, of experience).

Copenhagen - i have never been, i would love to visit there.

I hear when we arrive in Paris we have to catch a cab to the hotel but it shouldnt be much ? 20-30usd ? because the train stations dont have escalators or lifts.

Paris - oh, yes, Paris is fabulous, needs at least a 5-7 days alone. in 2 days you only can mark "V" (= i have been there), and see a city scape, if you also arrive-leave during these 2 days.. so... why to go there? I don't remember about lifts in Paris stations, but, come-on, that is your main concern? In Paris, and in many other places in Europe, you will not have elevators, AC, etc. Many hotels, especially if u want central locaiton, are sitting in very old buildings, which means nerror steps n often shared facilities. In UK you will probably meet two taps - hot and cold water separately, without mixer.

Where would you suggest i go after Berlin (thinking about flying)
Is Berlin ok ? Easy to get from train station to a hotel and then airport ?

Berlin is ok and easy to get - good public transport there. Berling is extremelly interesting, a bit cheaper then others, but it's place for adults. The only one from your list where I would not reccomend to go with young child. Also in Berlin you need 3-4 full days, not include voyage time.

Could i go do two different places instead ?
Appreciate any help especially focusing on suitable places to see that make it easy for the family to lug luggage around

Other places of smaller (size) and a bit more comfortable for family travel are:
Prague (Chech Republic),
Vienna, Salzburg and Graz (Austria),
Amsterdam and not only Amsterdam (Netherlands),
Munich (Germany). Germany is very comfortable for travel with child, but not Berlin. Belgium: Brugge, Gent, Antwerpen.
Luxemburg - petite size, good to combine with Belgium and/or Netherlands
Italy - if you avoid big cities, but rent a car (at least a week needed) and going through Tuscany and Umbria regions, small towns, vilages, countryside - nothing can beat Italy.
Hope it's enough ideas :-)
Good luck with your trip!
cheers,
v

4. Posted by arachchie (Budding Member 2 posts) 2y

Vanessa - thanks a lot for your response and sorry for not responding before leaving on out trip.
It was great but yes was a little full on for everyone because of things like traffic.
I thought i would respond and just give some feedback so that if someone searches for travelling with a toddler they can refer to this.

In the UK we stayed about an hour out of town so that was 2 hours gone to commute back and forth in the bus and under ground which set us back a bit. A big downer for us was the lack of assistance given for wheel chairs and strollers so that meant picking up the stroller and climbing stairs quite often. London we lost our hop on hop off ticket and to be honest beside riding on the open top bus we didnt miss much. We didnt do any parks (since we are from NZ we get enough parks here :))

France was stupidly overpriced for rooms, we had ot pay 300 a night for a novotel charenton which was out of town really (shuttle buses didnt pass through there) and our taxi was close to 70euro to the airport.

Berlin we didnt do but went to spain (barcelona instead) and it was one of the most enjoyable places. Still expensive (food) but was great.

To summarise yes i think it wasnt that great a trip for the little one and its just because the big cities in europe really dont cater for anyone other than the business person commuting into town :) undergrounds everywhere are dirty (spain, UK, France) I mean seriously filthy, some places we thought twice about sitting down on a seat. The rain was a real drag on things and need to be prepared for any weather as Vanessa says.
Un safest place we thought was France but as you say could happen anywhere, just had a couple of scary moments.
Another mistake was we assumed UK would be sunny, it was raining about 80% of the time and so we had to go shopping for more clothes plus the stroller we took was not rain proof. :(
For others reading this and looking to go with a young one i would suggest you do take your time or dont expect to cover heaps in a day like we did, we felt the trip was very rushed but we had to do it as we had booked these places prior and anyways couldnt afford the extra days accom etc.