I wanted to get my thoughts down about our trip to Europe with Cannon (3 years old) and Emmy (1 year old) before it all fades and all I remember is the fun! We had a great time and spent almost three weeks abroad.
We flew over and spent the first week in Berlin with my parents. It was nice to have a couple additional sets of hands for the flight as we had no idea about how it was going to go. We had only flown once with the kids before and that was just for our trip to Disneyland in February (recaps HERE and HERE ) We left for a red eye flight at 4pm Denver time and landed about 10 am in Munich then a quick flight from Munich to Berlin. Because the flight is about 10 hours and we left later in the day it worked out well for the kids’ sleep schedule.
We loaded onto the plane and enjoyed take-off. Cannon liked watching out the window and checking out everything in the armrest between seats. We did take both car seats with us but checked them instead of using them on the plane. My research before the trip found that kids aren’t really safer in their carseats while flying so it was easier not to lug them through the airport and both were happier without them anyway.
Soon after take-off they served us dinner which took up some time.
After dinner Cannon was happy to watch a movie, we flew Lufthansa and they had a ton of kid friendly movies. Emmy was happy to hop between people’s laps and make friends with the other passengers. Emmy liked watching part of Life of Pets 2. We packed lots of blankets to snuggle, snacks and kid appropriate headphones.
After dinner they darkened the plane so we could sleep. Around the kids normal bedtime we “got them ready for bed” we took them to the potty, changed Emmy’s diaper and made sure the movies were off when we got back to our seats. Cannon settled right down in his own seat, Emmy had a little trouble. We did have a seat for her but she was happier sitting with someone, she cried for a little while trying to get her down but she fell asleep after that and slept through. Cory and I shared time holding her while she slept. When we got close to time to land they lit up the plane and served us breakfast.
It was not as long as the kids normally sleep at home but Cannon still thought it was awesome to eat on the plane.
We had a short transition time to get to an hour flight between Munich and Berlin. This was a little stressful basically running through the airport and waiting in the passport check. When we got to Berlin we took a car to the hotel and settled in a bit. We were all tired and off our schedule but ventured out into the city to stretch our legs and found a park for the kids to play at. It took a few days to get the kids used to the time change (Berlin is 8 hours ahead of Denver). Emerald had the hardest time adjusting but after 3 nights was doing fine.
While in Europe we spent our time getting around by bus or train ( I will detail our adventures later and just cover travel for now). We took Kolcraft Cloud Umbrella Strollers with us and they were great for getting on and off public transit. We were even able to carry them up stairs from the subway in the strollers when it was hard to find elevators.
We also got good rain covers for the strollers that were key because it rained a fair bit while we were traveling. Instead of my normal diaper bag we used Cory’s REI backpack that also had a rain cover and that saved our stuff from getting soaked.
On our train ride from Berlin to Munich we used our Kids Fire Tablets to keep the kids entertained.
Our flight home left at 11 am Munich time so I was worried about a 11 hour flight that did not include overnight sleep time.
Again Emmy had her own seat but spent zero minutes in it. She bounced between sharing with me and Cory but her favorite was to sit next to Cannon.
Emmy did nap a little on the flight but Cannon didn’t sleep at all. He got a little restless but was always happy to visit the potty, watch a movie (or 6) and eat meals when they were served. We were very pleased with how the kids did on the flight with no big meltdowns. Once we got into Denver and were waiting to get through customs Cannon was DONE it was about 11PM Munich time and he hadn’t had any sleep. We had a pretty epic meltdown while waiting for our luggage.
That is Cannon sleeping on the airport floor. Overall I consider it a win with just one meltdown. Once home we settled in and tried to get back to normal life. Just like on the way there it took about 2-3 days to get back on local time.
It was definitely a different trip than if we had gone without the kids. We didn’t spend time in museums, shopping or lavish dinners. There were many times I would have liked to relax in a coffee shop for awhile but that was just not possible with our two little ones. All kids are different so some might be more okay with these type of activities. Both Cannon and Emerald have a lot of energy and need to be on the move. Even though we missed out on some things we gained so much going on this trip as a family. I really enjoyed sharing this experience with them.
If you are considering travel with small children, I say go for it! Where is the best place you have taken your kids?