Sunday, 5 May 2019

How To Go Back Packing In Europe With Kids

Have you ever thought about taking your child on a trip around Europe? Being a single parent shouldn’t stop you from doing it. Kids learn so much from travel and they grow as a person as they travel too. As a single parent, I took my daughter backpacking in Europe when she was 6 years old and was remarkably surprised by how well she coped with the experience. When you make your own trip up like this it is so affordable and you can do it in the height of the summer without prices rising through the summer holidays. There are a few things to think about before you do this kind of trip, but we are here to help with some tips and advice.

How Are You Going To Travel?

We used so many different public transports when we travelled through Europe. We had booked an Interrail pass because up to 2 kids travel free with an adult. An adult pass can cost you £405 for a 22 continuous day pass, which may seem a lot if you are on a budget, but if you think that you also have the kids passes in there for free too, then it is an incredibly cheap way to travel. The interrail doesn’t just cover trains, it also covers some local metro networks, buses and boats (if that is the only way to travel). You can use the pass in 32 countries in Europe, but you cannot use it leaving from the UK. We had to fly from Stansted when we did it. You can, however, use the pass to the point of a port in the UK, including the airport. You could take your car if you drive, even better what about a campervan? That would solve your accommodation too but it involves a lot of driving and can be slower than the train. What about travelling by coach?
We have travelled to a few European cities before by coach and it is a lot easier than you would think and you can travel between some major cities for as little as 5 Euro. You can travel overnight and the seats recline for comfort. You even get WIFI and power points on coaches these days. Ouibus are the most affordable coach company to travel with or Flixbus. You have so many options for travel these days, and if you are in a rush to travel between cities, you can always fly between destinations using affordable budget airlines, but you need to put your luggage costs on top of the flight price.  Whichever way you want to travel, make sure you book it well enough in advance to get the best discounts.

Where will you go?

There are so many cities to visit on your journey but obviously, you can’t visit them all on this holiday. So you need to decide what you want to do and where. Make a list of what you want to do and then tailor make the holiday to your benefit. Once you have made the list, decide which are the most important places to visit and which places are not really viable to visit on this trip. When you have decided about the places that you want to visit, then get a map of Europe and mark the best route that you can take on your chosen transport. Also do your research, because you really don’t want to go somewhere that isn’t safe for you and your family.  Think of a theme that you might want to follow, We chose fairy tales and made a fairy tale trail across Europe that we wanted to follow. Tilly also wanted to go to the top of the world, so we went up a mountain where she believed she was on top of the world.

Choose Accommodation carefully

When we decided to go to Europe, we booked all of our travel through, it seemed natural to use a website that millions of people use every day, that you could trust the accommodations as being okay, as they were advertised on there as good places to visit. But we went to a few places where the accommodation was actually disgusting! We were in Budapest and it was 10 pm, we arrived at a hostel to find the beds dirty, plug sockets falling away from the wall and food left on a table. We quickly found somewhere else to stay, but it could have been so much worse. With the wide difference in economies throughout Europe, you can get some really good accommodations in the less fortunate countries for a cheaper price but in the better off countries, you will probably need to stay in a hostel. Make sure you stay close to the city or town centres, otherwise you can find yourself dragging a kid for miles, trying to find your accommodation.

Don’t pack too much

Remember you will be carrying your life around in a bag for however you choose to go on holiday for. Try to carry as little as possible and make your bag smallish. Don’t be afraid to give your child a backpack with their belongings in. They will carry it without a problem and you only need to pack a couple of pairs of shorts and a couple of t-shirts as well as a couple of dresses and a pair of trousers (in case it is cold). You don’t need to take straighteners with you, they are heavy and take up valuable space in your bag. You really don’t want to be taking a suitcase with you. A backpack is better for travelling on public transport.

Research the money that you will need.

If you are going to different countries across Europe, you will find that they are not all under the Eurozone and there may be another currency in some of the countries. Research the currency in each country and work out the rates. You can buy a prepaid card and put all of your different currencies on one card. If you lose the card, you can contact the company that you got the card from and usually, it gets replaced within 24 hours. I had a prepaid card for my trip but also took cash because not all places take a card. You can easily work out exchange rates on your phone when you buy things.  Have your budget set out before you go, so you know how much you have for each day and what kind of accommodation you can afford.

Make sure you have adequate insurance

It’s always worth a call to the travel insurance company to check your insurance will cover you for this kind of holiday, especially as some insurances have a limit to the number of days that you can be away. The insurance might not cover some activities that you want to do on holiday too. Check that the countries that you want to visit are covered by your insurance and whether you have sufficient medical coverage. It’s worth paying extra for gadget cover for your phones and tablets, just in case they get damaged, lost or stolen. Sometimes it's worth paying a bit extra for no excess too, especially if you’re running out of money on holiday.

Have Fun

Try not to get too stressed out, although travelling with kids in a foreign country can be quite stressful sometimes. But it's still your holiday and you need to relax and enjoy. You are really broadening your kid's zest for adventure and they will always thank you for it.

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