Travel Mom Katelin on Europe with Kids
Travel Mom Katelin joins us to talk about traveling across Europe with kids. Her family’s 3-week adventure included Stockholm, London, and Paris, with husband Ben and boys, Luca (5) and Juno (2).
How long was your trip?
Last Fall, I had some speaking opportunities in Europe. My husband Ben and I decided to turn it into a European family trip with our boys, Luca (5) and Juno (2).
We stopped in New York as a waypoint then went onto Stockholm, Sweden, then to London for a long weekend and then to Paris for a week.
It was a very interesting time to be traveling. Greta was mobilizing for the climate in Sweden. London was going through an election. And the Notre Dame fire had just happened in Paris. There was a lot of energy and a lot of unrest.
What made you pick these places?
As I was traveling for work, the decisions on where we were going were made for me so I could spend the time researching the places and reaching out to my network for advice.
In the planning, I also wanted to maximize family time in each location.
What was the BEST part of the trip for you?
Paris. It’s where Ben proposed years ago. It was fun exploring it for the first time with the boys and even taking them to Montmarte, where he proposed, and on a cruise along the Seine.
What was the BEST part of the trip for the family?
In London, I never would have done this without the kids, but when we were touring the Tower of London, someone handed me a pamphlet for a Medieval Banquet in an old underground cellar in the port. They decked us out like royalty…2 little princes and tons of entertainment and whole chicken legs. We had a ball!
What was the BEST part of the trip for your kids?
The kids loved Stockholm. They are incredibly family-friendly and have unreal parks. Their favorite was in the open-air museum called Skansen with Viking ships to climb and a wolf exhibit. Stockholm is quaint and beautiful right on the water, and it was easy to take the boys to a nice dinner at night. It’s a perfect city in Europe with kids.
How did you engage them in the trip?
I love getting them excited before we go. For London, we watched Paddington, so they were familiar with Big Ben and the Tube. We also read BFG, so he knew about the Queen.
Food is a big thing for our family, and we like to use travel to get them to expand their horizons. On this trip, we tried pickled fish in Sweden and escargot in Paris. And it helps create sensory memories. Months later, we were walking by a crêpe shop near home, and my son wanted to go in and get one as he did in Paris.
Top Tips and Advice
- I got some great advice from my birthing coach before we had our first child. Babies are blank slates. You create the life you want for them. If you travel, keep traveling. They are far more flexible than we give them credit for.
- The kids’ first five years are the most flexible to show them the world. You set the tone for how they view and experience the world around them.
- Look up car seat laws before you travel. In New York, we used the Uber Family option as it has car seats. In Stockholm, we rented a car with one. Then in London, we brought mifold with us so we could use it in taxis.
- Color-coded travel packing cubes! Everybody has their color, so it’s easy to find in the suitcases.
- When looking for the best flight rates, look outside your usual paths. I wound up checking smaller carriers business or first-class seats, including Norwegian Air from NYC to Stockholm, which gave us the extra space we needed.
Why do you travel with your kids?
My parents were world travelers. They met doing a semester at sea. It has shaped who I am and how I view the world.
There’s no greater joy than seeing what Luca has learned come to life. He’s in a very diverse class, and asks classmates, “Where are you from? What language is that?” It’s shifted how he approaches people. It’s made him more curious about other people and places and food and music.
It opens their eyes to what this great big world has to offer.
Next trip you’re planning or dreaming about?
We have a trip with extended family this summer to see Germany from top to bottom. Then down through Switzerland into Northern Italy.