Children have unique perspectives that can pass us adult houses. Traveling on a city break with the children therefore provides great opportunities for new discoveries. In the same way, it is both exciting and educational for the kids to experience other places together with the parents. Here is a collection of great tips that can make your next family vacation even better.
Select destination together
Feel free to choose a destination together, and make the booking of the trip together. Talk together about what each one thinks would be exciting to experience, and then try to find out where to find exactly those things. The fact that the children feel ownership of the trip means that the journey may be extra exciting.
Choose the right big city
Some big cities are more suitable for family holidays than others. For us Norwegians, Copenhagen is a clear candidate, much because of the proximity, Tivoli and many opportunities outdoors. Stockholm is also a good choice. There you will find some of the same as in the Danish capital. There are a number of unofficial nominations of cities that are suitable for children. The regulars, in addition to the two mentioned, are Amsterdam , Paris , Barcelona and of course London . Big cities like Berlinand Munich definitely has a lot to offer them too, but there you have to expect a lot of transport and long distances between the sights and experiences. Take such factors into account when choosing a destination.
Take care of your health
Provide the right vaccines if you are going to an area that makes it necessary (tell your doctor where you are going, or check the National Institute of Public Health or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website). Bring a health insurance card for everyone in the family (available here: https://helsenorge.no/turist-i-utlandet/europeisk-helsetrygdkort ), and make sure you have the travel insurance in order. We also recommend that families bring a small medicine box. This can include patches, antiseptics, sunscreen, travel sickness, antipyretics / painkillers and something that works against bad stomachs. Ask your doctor what remedies are appropriate for your children’s age.
Hand luggage is important
Bringing the right amount of clothes and shoes is essential, but hand luggage for the little ones is perhaps even more important. Cuddly toys, reading material, small toys for the flight and something to drink must be brought, and maybe something good to bite into. A change of clothes can also be successfully carried in hand luggage, in case of spillage or other accidents. Bring wet wipes, regardless of the age of the children, and do not forget the necessary equipment if the children still wear nappies. Odorless diaper bags are then a must.
Think a little about safety
Make sure that the children always carry the name, address of the place of residence and telephone number of the parents. Well-equipped children’s shops have safety straps that can be worn around the wrist (or similar), where you note how you can be contacted if the child gets lost. Older children may remember the parents’ phone number, as well as the hotel’s name and address. If the children are old enough, the parents should have a (daily) little talk about the importance of staying close to the parents, especially in large crowds. Remember that children are easily distracted, and keep an extra eye on them. European cities are safe, but it’s easy to get lost when there’s a lot going on at once.
Stay in child-friendly hotels
Avoid hotels that, for example, attract young people on party vacations, and instead go for an accommodation that focuses on families. Sumptuous luxury hotels can also be a bit cumbersome when traveling with children. When the clientele is a bit “stiff”, it does not take much before children are hugged if they do what children do best, namely play and make a bit of noise. Several of the larger hotel chains are known for having a child-friendly profile, such as the Hyatt, Westin, Comfort and Holiday Inn chains. See also the booking services’ overview pages, where you can search specifically for hotels that are child – friendly. These websites also have recommendations from other travelers, which will give an indication of whether the hotel is suitable for children or not.
Find activities and sights for everyone
If the city break only goes to amusement parks and playgrounds, it quickly becomes a chore for the parents. Otherwise, if all activities only appeal to the adults, it will often be boring for the youngest. Big cities usually have more than ok to offer for people of all ages, and it’s about getting a mix that pleases all parties. Also use the opportunities where they are. If the playground, amusement park or zoo has a nice café, the parents get a chance to take a breather, while the kids enjoy themselves on their own. If you go to the art museum, you can give the children “detective assignments” or similar. Who finds the statue or painting first? Also look for opportunities for ice cream and snacks nearby, if the detective job is to be rewarded.
Teach kids something new
You can aim to teach your children something new and exciting every day. Feel free to choose something that is relevant to what you are going to experience together, and adapt any tasks according to age. Learning to read a city map is a good idea, or learning about an era or person if you are going to a museum, a castle, a park, a statue or the like. A “boring” museum immediately becomes more exciting if the children have to find an exhibited object they have seen before, and maybe know a bit of the story in advance. A city break is of course also an excellent starting point for learning some words in foreign languages.
Give the kids a camera
If children are old enough to handle a camera, they will probably appreciate taking pictures themselves. Disposable cameras are a good solution, especially if they are so young that there is a reasonable chance that the camera may be forgotten somewhere. If they are old enough, they may well have their own digital camera. Many photos can be taken when kids are a photographer, and with a digital camera you do not have to “waste” film (a disposable camera can be quickly used up). Creating your own memories from your city break is fun, and contributes to stronger memories. In addition, parents are also allowed to wear contact lice more often than if they themselves always had to be a photographer.
Ensure adequate rest
Even though children have a significantly higher energy level, and are often far more enduring and stimulant-seeking, it is good for everyone to take breaks and set aside time to rest. Especially if you are on a city break in the summer and it is hot. Resting in the middle of the day, with enough replenishment of fluids and electrolytes, provides more energy later for more excitement and exploration. Do not underestimate the adults’ need for rest, a need that is probably greater than the children’s.
Make a memory book when you get home
Memories from childhood become welcome as one travels through life. Making a memory book from the city break is a great activity that the whole family can take part in. Take care of all types of tickets, business cards from sights and hotels, or anything else you come across during the holiday, and paste them together with the photos you take along the way. Such a memory book can also be a joy when the next city holiday with the children is to be planned, or perhaps when they themselves are to travel on their own in adulthood. It’s fun to return to a place you remember from when you were little. Everything is looking much smaller when the pods have stretched to full size!