Taking Baby to Europe Tips
It’s harder because things can get rough quickly if you have not planned everything ahead of time. Parents have to deal with travel sickness, jet lags, blow out, and missed flight. Despite the difficulties, the love for our babies does not curb our plans to travel more and travel farther.
This guide is specifically written for parents who are taking their baby to Europe. While there are plenty of useful tips on traveling, most of these six tips will come extremely handy if you’re ready to embark on your trip to the famed continent. Hopefully, everything will go according to the plan because babies love to watch the world go by and observe little details that make us cherish their company.
1. Consider Booking Two Rooms
It may sound strange, but it is much better to stay in a two-room apartment instead of a single room. Taking baby to Europe has advantages because there are lots of reasonably priced high-quality apartments and vacation rentals that can fulfill your requirement.
It helps to sleep in a separate room because if you have booked a single room, you will be confined to a baby schedule. You will need to sleep when the baby sleeps. Similarly, you will not be able to watch any television if the baby wants to take a nap.
Sometimes, a baby won’t sleep on vacation.
If you want to discuss your travel needs or plan out an itinerary, it’s better to let the baby sleep comfortably in another adjoining room. If the baby is used to play alone, you can also let the child play in a separate room while you chalk out plans for your next trip.
2. Prepare for the Climate
Taking baby to Europe requires special considerations if you’re planning for a multi-country trip. For instance, you better prepare for multiple sets of baby clothing if you will be traveling from the U.K., France, or Germany to Mediterranean destinations such as Spain and Italy. The climate change will require parents to plan according to varying weather conditions.
While you may get away with the sun on a beach in Northern France or England, you should have enough protection for the baby if you’re planning to visit beaches in the South. Taking your baby to Europe will require proper sun protection, glasses, hats, and other protective gear will come handy for you and the baby. Never take a baby to Europe without planning for the change in climatic conditions.
3. Check European Train Fares for Babies
Unlike North America, high-speed trains are an intrinsic feature of European traveling. There are high-speed trains everywhere, which will take you from one city to another in a matter of minutes.
Before taking the baby to Europe, check out the fare conditions of the train travel. With the exception of trains in Span and Russia, you do not pay anything if the baby sits in your lap. In inter-city trains that do not require prior reservations, you may put the baby next to you in an empty seat.
If you need an extra seat, then you must pay the child fare. Certain trains in France and Switzerland allow the baby to get a free reserved seat while others charge a very nominal fare for seat reservations. Since every major country in Europe has its own child fare rules, taking the baby to Europe may require you to check specific guidelines on the baby fare on long-distance routes between two countries.
If you and the baby are traveling to more than 2 countries, try getting the European rail pass, which offers massive discounts for babies and infants. In fact, all major train operators in Europe offer baby changing facilities, family-friendly coaches, papooses, and portable beds on night trains.
4. Select a Hotel or an Apartment
Europe has a rich history dating back thousands of years, which means you are likely to find historic and boutique properties full of character.
While you will enjoy the history, taking the baby to Europe may prove to be a history lesson if you ignore the fact that most hotels and apartments in Europe have very small rooms. Most of the hotels and apartments in major cities have less space than similar accommodations in other parts of the world. Therefore, you should also consider staying in an apartment that may offer you more living space than a traditional hotel inside the city.
Similarly, many hotels don’t offer a lift or an elevator due to their historic nature. Taking baby to Europe to stay on the fourth floor of a historic hotel is not a practical idea as you will need to carefully transport your ‘precious luggage’ several times each day. If you can’t find a hotel with an elevator, try staying in a single-story vacation rental.
Another common complaint about European establishments is thin walls in the bedrooms. As most hotels and properties in Europe are of historic nature, you may need to inquire about the level of room noise as disturbance from the nearby rooms can spoil your day. If the neighboring room is too loud, you may have to hold your baby to in order for him/her to sleep.
Staying away from the street is another good idea to take care of the problem. If nothing works, you should try to find an apartment in a peaceful neighborhood.
5. Check the Availability of a Tub or a Large Sink
As suggested in the previous section, most hotels in the center of European cities are cramped for space. It also means that visitors are likely to get a smaller bathroom than they are used to in other parts of the world.
Taking baby to Europe without inquiring about the availability of a tub or a large sink is a mistake. It’s not fun because you will not get a bathtub in most hotels unless you’re paying for a luxury suite. Similarly, most hotel sinks are smaller and unsuitable for babies to take a bath.
If taking the baby to Europe to stay in a central city apartment or a hotel, it makes sense to check the size of the sink or book an establishment with a bathtub.
Try to take an inflated tub that will enable you to give a proper bath to the baby. If nothing works, try the wet sponge solution to give a dry bath. Luckily, you will find larger rooms and apartments as you move away from major cities to rural areas and resorts close to the beach.
6. Ask for Priority Boarding and Family Areas
Just like train travel, flying coast to coast in Europe is very cheap. The reasonable prices of air travel are due to the intense competition between the railway and the airline industry. For families who are taking their baby to Europe, the competition translates into better services at almost all major European airports who offer varied facilities for babies. Airports such as Barcelona offer a separate family line complete with playpens. Most major airlines such as British Airways, Lufthansa, and KLM have designated kid areas at multiple hubs.
Local laws in Europe are also very child-friendly as you can be escorted to the front of a boarding lane if you have a baby. The priority boarding allows you to easily take care of the baby belonging instead of dumping them quickly in the overhead cabins. The same goes for the security line where a security agent will usher you to the front, particularly if you are traveling alone with a baby or there is no one nearby to help you.
For further reading, check out our article on flying while pregnant.