Italy, France & Spain with a 10 month old - tips and itinerary suggestions?
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Sep 1, 2012 9:02 AM Last Post By: amrua
Aug 28, 2012 1:39 PM
Would like to travel by rail or public transit between destinations, by air is ok if affordable and practical with the little guy.
Plan to take a baby carrier (Boba) and umbrella stroller (suggestions?) for trekking around.
Prior to the little guy we were comfortable in budget hotels, any tips on where to stay/what to look for with a little one?
Thanks and happy travels!
Aug 28, 2012 2:56 PM
1well, that is quite the itinerary. looking to do 4 countries in 21 days with a 10 month old.
I've got a little guy myself and have done a few trips with him already (Israel at 6 months, Japan at 11 months).
What I can tell you is that it all depends. Is the baby breastfed or will you use formula? Breast feeding makes it easier to get around as feeding can take place anywhere, anytime. Formula makes it harder as you need to make/clean the bottles all the time.
Also, what about naps. at 10 months, he's going to need naps. going to make it hard for you to be out and about all day, which means that on any given day, you may not see a lot. This would make it hard.
he's also going to be on a bit of a schedule by then and travel days might throw him off.
My only advice to you really would be to slow down, pick a place (or three max) and try to enjoy where you are and being with your family.
also, what are you doing about car seats? if you take a taxi, you'll probably need one. it is hard to get around with a car seat.
as for hotels, you'll be spending more time than usual in them, so you may want a nicer room.
we used a baby bjorn carrier for walking around. found it easier than a stroller in a lot of places. cobblestones and small cafes don't lend themselves to a stroller (even an umbrella one) so we found this useful.
taking/carrying enough food is also tough, although you can find food when you travel. just remember that this also takes time. at 10 months, he probably won't be all solid food, so you'll need to find some baby food.
days with a 10 month old go really fast and are really fun. probably less fun on a bus/train/plane, so I would try to avoid moving around as much as possible.
Good luck with everything. Hope it goes really well.
Aug 29, 2012 2:00 PM
2Here's a suggestion to get you started. (by the way I agree with the previous poster that it's a lot to fit in but that's ok if those are the places you want to see)
Fly in to Paris and then take the train down to somewhere along the west coast heading south to somewhere like Biarritz. At that time of the year I would be trying to chase the sun a bit and I always think coastal places are good for kids. From there head across the border into Spain and San Sebastian. From there it's really a matter of whether you want to see he big cities or the smaller towns. Just have a read up on Spain and pick places you like. If it were me - I would end up in a major city that I then would take one of the many budget airlines in to one of the Italian cities - probably Rome. From Rome you can go anywhere in Italy so again have a read up and pick places you like. They have good fast trains you can get around easily. You could also take a budget airline to Prague - smartwings flies there from romevand easy jet flies there from Milan.
Hope this helps.
Aug 29, 2012 11:33 PM
3Bear in mind that each re-location day is pretty much a day lost from your holiday. Kids like a home base and need plenty of time-out.
My advice - travel deep, not wide. Stay a week each in three contrasting places. Ideally, choose self-catering accomodation. For instance, we stayed a week here with our 8YO daughter & it was wonderful:
FYI we travelled for 9 weeks total. The core of our itinerary was:
Week1: Paris apartment.
TGV to Avignon, pick up hire car.
Week2: Uzes shepherd's hut..
Week3: 4 days Carcassonne / 3 days Ignaux (Pyrenees).
Week4: Llafranc apartment (Costa Brava).
Drop off hire car.
Week5: Barcelona apartment.
Our favourite three weeks from this were Uzes, Ignaux/Carcassonne, Barcelona.
Aug 31, 2012 1:17 AM
4We just got back from Italy. We live in France and I too, recommend trimming that itinerary down a bit.
Italy's great because the weather is good, the food is excellent, the scenery is breathtaking and the people are nice and very child-oriented. It's expensive, which is the only downside. I live in France and the northern area is actually quite cold still in spring. Your time would be better spent further south, which is also very crowded in summer. Take advantage of your good timing!
You could head for the South of France and then continue into Italy. Train or car would work. Driving in certain parts of Italy can be tricky but the highways are fine.
We've taken our kids to the lakes (Lugano, Cumo), Florence, Venice, Rome, and certain areas around the south on a number of different trips. I'm recommending Florence because older kids HATE it lol! Too many museums. See it while he's not old enough to complain about museums!
We were just in Ravello, on the Amalfi Coast. Much better than Amalfi (the village) itself. Highly recommended!
You absolutely need a good baby carrier. Someone mentioned a Bjorn. No WAY will a 10 month old still fit comfortably in one of those. Mine was thrown in the closet before my son was 6 months old. It hangs the baby by its crotch so there's a lot of weight on the adults' shoulders. Use a better quality carrier. Soft front/back packs like the Ergo, Beco, etc. are popular for travel at this age. Go visit some baby wearing sites and research what will work best for you. A good baby carrier is the key to easy travel with a tot.
I'm also not going to name a specific stroller but you really want one that folds with one hand. If you're up and down stairs, you don't want to fuss with it too much.
Absolutely get your son used to napping in the stroller. I know parents who had to rush home to put their children down and it's very restricting. It was nice to be able to get out and about and then just have the baby conk out while we were having lunch or whatever.
If you're smart and/or lucky, you will get your baby off the bottle before leaving. Two of mine never had a bottle and this made travel much easier. By contrast, I was dragging my son's bottles around for ages. NOT recommended. Get a soft-spout sippy cup and have him drink from that. Easier to clean, take and generally deal with when on the road. One hint; never put fruit juice or sugar water (basically, the same thing) in a bottle. If he learns that he'll only get it in a sippy, he'll be more cooperative in using it. Worked for us!
Also, and this is very subjective, but you may want to keep him on a powdered milk of some sort. This you should discuss with your ped but getting fresh milk can difficult and some children are very picky about the milk they drink, especially in regards to the fat content. UHT milk is readily available here in Europe so that's another option. The taste is a bit funny (I hate it but some kids will drink it) so it might be something you want to try out before leaving.
Decide about the car seat and either take it or don't. If you take it, and if he's a lap baby on the airplane, do NOT check the car seat as luggage. They get lost and beat up by the airlines. Gate-check it but in the spring, you might get a free place to use it in, depending on your airline's rules. A car seat on board means a safer and more comfortable flight for the baby, you and everyone around you. The rules can vary but it's well worth taking it to the gate. Since you are two adults and only one baby, this should be a no-brainer.
If you don't take the car seat, stay out of cabs and private cars. Don't use a car seat from a car rental company. They're dire here in Europe. Dirty, missing parts, etc. Disregard if someone says they did this and it was "fine". My husband's cousins did this, claimed they were fine but wow! I would have never used such piece of trash for my kids. They were really nasty but good enough for them! So it's subjective. I've been Europe about 20 years and seen many rental car seats. They've all been bad...
I also recommend apartments wherever you go. Nice to have a kitchen with a baby.
Aug 31, 2012 2:01 AM
5Three countries in three weeks, and keeping the pace slow; impossible. You will either have to reduce your itinerary or accept that you will be spending a lot of time travelling.
Saying that, if you really want to take in these three countries in this timeframe, you will first have to find out if you can fly in to one city and fly out of another. My itinerary suggestion would then be: Fly to Barcelona and travel overland to Rome, then fly back from Rome. If you hug the mediterenean coast as much as possible, using busses and trains, and make some slight detours (Florence, Mediteranean alps), you should have a varied trip with plenty of opportunities.
Sep 1, 2012 9:02 AM
I too agree with the general consensus form all the posts. Travel with kids is enjoyable, but can be quite slow and must include down time. Even with a young baby, that is very transportable. Eg: for every 2/3 days of sightseeing, take a full day off. It's when the kids are 2/3yrs old, that they can be more temperamental. Europe may not look too big on a world map, but it's full of people, roads, town, villages.
I've two kids, 6 and 2 and they've beem to a few countries in Europe and we also camp with them.
I also breastfed my 2 and it is the easiest way to go. But they were both on sippy cups full time by 10mths(drinking water) Neither of them would drink milk until they were 2yrs old. So bottles and formula/milk was never an issue. But if you need them they are available everywhere.
Keep in mind, that you may have a baby that will sleep very little at that stage, or be teething etc, so Mum and Dad may suffer from tiredness too. So don't over plan your trip with set destinations. It would be best to pick 2 or 3 places at most. Spend 6/7 days at each place and go on day trips from your base. At least that way you can sightsee and have rest days at your own choosing. Car hire, will depend on your preferred type of stay(rural/city) If you like off the beaten track then car hire is essential. We have used hire car seats and they are adquate. Of course they're not top of the line, with bellls and whistles, but they will do the job intended.
As for destinations in spring, You have Germany- rhine valley castle trail, black forest with many walks and beautiful villages. Baden Baden is a real treat and a good base. With the magnificant Fredrichsbad Spa( you and mom could take turns at the spa, it will revive you. It's only approx. 30euro for 3hrs, do get the body srub and massage also). Recommend Hotel am Market, we have stayed there 8 times, it's central, very friendly and best price in town.
Off in another direction- You could do Northern Italy(I've only been to Pisa) and then follow on to Croatia and a day ferry trip from Split to Dubrovnik through many islands down the adriatic coast.
Or stay on the french/spanish border(Mountain reagions will be snow covered at that time, but the coastal regions would be much ,milder. Maybe Perpignan in France as a base and do day trips to the coast, inland, mountains, Barcelona etc.
Ryanair would operate from Barcelona, Reus and Girona(so lots of destinations to choose from.)
Have fun planning your trip.
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