Cheers Sippin Gypsy Travelers! This post comes to you from my friend Kayla of Our Start with some great tips for helping you prepare for flying with kids. As a mom and lover of travel, I really appreciated her suggestions, and have used several myself when traveling with my boys! Enjoy!
How to Survive an International Flight with Kids
Travel has so many benefits. Traveling exposes people to new cultures and new ways of seeing the world. Kids benefit from travel just as much if not more than adults. While traveling is fun and exciting, getting there requires a lot of steps. Flying is efficient and quick. At the same time, international flights with kids pose certain challenges. An international flight may take hours or even days to complete if there's a long layover. Parents need to think about ways they can help their kids relax and even enjoy long international flights with their children. There are many ways to help kids cope with the stress of leaving home and heading to another country. Careful, detailed advanced preparation along with an understanding of each child's precise needs is the best way to have a happy family trip from the very first moment it begins.
Ready and Rested
All kids need sleep. In fact, they need more sleep than adults. Teens also tend to have a clock that makes them stay up later at night and makes it harder for them to get up in the morning. Several days before the flight, push kids to get to bed earlier. Having enough sleep is one of the best ways for kids to feel at their best before boarding, during the flight and afterwards. Sleep also enables kids to communicate better with parents and reduces their feelings of being out of sorts.
While luggage restrictions make it hard to bring what children want when they're traveling by plane, it's possible to be thoughtful and work with such restrictions to help kids items they want with them as they travel internationally. Kids can participate in the act of packing. Let them do the investigating before boarding. Many airlines have a detailed list of what is allowed and what is not. Let the child do much of the packing of their own bags so they'll like what they have with them as they travel.
Interest Kids in the Route
International travel by air is incredibly exciting. During the course of the route, travelers can cross many bodies of water and many different countries. Kids should take the time to learn about where they're going. Kids can explore the exact route they're going to take in great detail. For example, if they are flying over parts of Europe, before the trip is the time to study the cultures of places like France and The Netherlands. Parents can encourage kids to study the history, culture and languages of each place and then point it out as they travel.
Flights between borders can take a lot of time. Now is the time to encourage kids to find clothing that lets them sit comfortably and move about freely. Little kids should have clothing that a parent can take off with ease if it gets dirty. Layers such as a jacket and a short sleeved shirt allow the child to respond to changes in temperatures as they leave and the flight continues. Older kids should be encouraged to look for fabrics like cotton that breathe and allow them to remove any stains fast.
Parents should remember that even international flights may not always much to eat or may offer food that kids find unpalatable. Provide kids with a small treat budget of their own. Spending time in an airport before the plane leaves typically means spending time in an area with lots of eating choices. Many airports have dozens of food choices from simple snacks to complete meals. Give kids the option of spending a small sum of money on food they like to eat.
Take Turns Parenting
In the course of leaving for a trip, boarding a plane and staying in the air, parent may be with their kids for hours at a time. Parents should set aside a designed time for each parent to supervise their kids and pay attention to their needs. The other parent can be the person who handles other details at this time such as interacting with airline officials, checking in baggage and staying on top of all necessary arrangements at their intended destination. One parent will make sure each child is adjusting to the plane ride and be there to answer any questions the child might have. This allows each parent some adult time during the flight and time to deal with their own personal needs.
Corresponding With Friends
Today's kids are more in touch with their friends than ever before. Many have updated social media accounts they use to share their experiences with the world. An international trip offers a way for kids to talk about their lives with their friends. Encourage kids to keep a flight journal they can share with friends. Let them share their excitement with their peer group. Many kids also have friends who live overseas. Kids should be reminded of the possibility of finally meeting with a friend for the first time. A long flight is easier to endure when they know someone's waiting for them at the other end.
Kayla Clough is the email specialist here at OurStart. Kayla is a recent graduate of Eastern University in PA where she majored in Marketing and Human Resources. Kayla loves all things fashion, her golden retriever Max, and coffee. When she is not working, you can find her binge watching Sex in the City and baking her latest find on Pinterest.
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Travelers! This post comes to you while enjoying my Sippin Gypsy Sorbet Sparklers! For this post my sparkler has gin and raspberry sorbet with fresh mint from my garden, while my sidekicks (my sons) are enjoying the nonalcoholic version of this tasty refresher.
This summer we piled in our Jeep and traversed the country from South to North by way of Atlanta GA, then onto Louisville KY and finally to Chicago IL for a family get together before trekking back home. My boys are turning 12 and 13, and this was their first ‘Road Trip’ vacation. We all had so much fun! To make the drive easier we purposely broke up the drive with overnight stays no more than a 6 hour distance from one city to the next, with time to stop for lunch/dinner after 2-3 hours in. This worked beautifully!
Atlanta was the first stop and a city I love dearly. This would end up being my forth time really enjoying the city. The boys loved the Aquarium and the chance to see all the different habitats and ecosystems influenced by oceans, lakes and rivers. The boys also really enjoyed finding some of the street art sprinkled around the city. They loved that people are allowed to paint pictures and murals on the outside of buildings! I loved watching their appreciation for all types of art and how it inspired them.
For more suggestions of what to do in Atlanta: Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Playin': Atlanta
For dinner we spent time at Ponce City Market trying a little bit of almost everything there. We all agreed that HOPS Chicken was one of the best fried chicken we had ever had. We stocked up on desert between my favorite, Batter and the new Five Daughters Bakery…we had enough sugar pumping through us to certainly keep us awake for another drive, but we wanted to enjoy the city, and Centennial Olympic Park is beautiful at night. Atlanta was only a one-night stay for us on the way up North. It is an easy drive from where we live and decided to give ourselves more time in cities that were a bit further away.
For more suggestions of where to eat and drink in Atlanta: Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Sippin': Atlanta
For suggestions of where to stay in Atlanta: 6 Cool Hotels in Atlanta and Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Restin': Atlanta
We woke up and started into the mountains of Northern Georgia and into Tennessee. I always find the mountains so majestic and humbling. We took turns picking songs on Spotify and sung our hearts out together as we wove through the countryside. Lunch was in Nashville. What a fun city! I am looking forward to spending a few days in this city soon. There were so many restaurant options. We ended up atThe Row which has seen several famous artists over the years.
Louisville Kentucky was our next stop for two nights on the way up, then again for a night on the way back home. One of my top priorities was to visit the Angels Envy Distillery, one my husband’s favorites bourbons. I have just begun to develop my pallet for bourbon, so this was an incredible way to truly understand the art and history of this dark spirit. Our tour guide Julie was fantastic. She not only has a passion for the Angel’s Envy brand, but also for the art of bourbon.
For more suggestions of what to do in Louisville: Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Playin': Louisville
The food in Louisville was incredible. I took my time and did a lot of research before our road trip. I had read that Louisville had some new farm to table restaurants and some really impressive bars. I couldn’t stop eating. Everything was so delicious. A few memorable favorites were Butchertown Grocery and Naïve, both with fresh local foods and delicious well crafted cocktails.
For more suggestions of where to eat and drink in Louisville: Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Sippin': Louisville
In a town packed with distilleries, it really raises the bar (no pun intended at all) for bar programs. Bartenders need to know their history of bourbon and respect the deep dedication to this spirit. Kevin and I used a booklet that also serves as a ‘passport’ to visit the bars and distilleries in Louisville proper, also known as The Urban Bourbon Trail. This guided us to some of the most amazing spots with passionate bartenders and mixologists and artistic and classic cockatils including Proof on Main and the Lobby Bar at the Brown Hotel and of course the Angel's Envy Distillery!
We spent one of the afternoons walking around historic Louisville, and the beautiful Victorian mansions. I picked up a book by local author, David Domine and we used his book to find out more about the haunted homes we walked past. We also really enjoyed The Big Four Bridge. What a great place to walk off dinner or pack a picnic and enjoy the river! Louisville definitely needed more than three nights. There was so much more we wanted to eat and explore. Kevin and I committed to coming back and bringing our bourbon loving friends along for a couples getaway.
The drive to Chicago from Louisville was so easy. The boys especially enjoyed the miles of windmills. We lost count, but it was hauntingly beautiful to drive through.
Then came the bridge into Chicago. What an experience. The boys hadn’t seen a city so big yet. It gave me chills to hear their excitement of the skyscrapers. This was Kevin and my second visit to Chicago. We opted to stay right in the River North neighborhood. We were close to everything.
Exploring Millennium Park was one of my boys favorite things to do in Chicago. We also spent a wonderful afternoon in the Art Institute. My cousin studied there, and has a passion for art, so having him as a tour guide was perfect. We also truly enjoyed the Architecture Tour from the boat. It was fun to ride through the city and sail past the concrete giants that adorn the city’s skyline.
For more suggestions of what to do in Chicago: Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Playin': Chicago
The cocktail and cuisine scene in Chicago is amazing. We had so much amazing food and beautiful cocktails it really was hard to pick favorites. I loved the view of the river and skyline from Raised Bar. The boys really loved the food from Green Street Smoked Meats. Kevin and I enjoyed the sultry ambiance of Bavette’s where we ventured down a candle lit staircase into a speakeasy style hidden bar with incredible cocktails.. We concluded we needed a lot more time in Chicago. We felt we could’ve spent a week there and still not experienced everything on our lists.
For more suggestions of where to eat and drink in Chicago: Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Sippin': Chicago
In the end, we loved our road trip. Time in the car was spent enjoying music or playing travel games. The boys had prepared for each city by doing a bit of their own research about the history of each city and at least one attraction they were interested in visiting. This kept their interest in each city as they were constantly on the look out for something they researched. The kids were also great at trying new flavors in each city. Kevin and I decided we will do another family road trip with the boys.
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Gypsy Travelers! This post comes to you while enjoying my Sippin Gypsy Jalapeno Margarita, one of my favorite cocktails from EPCOT at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando FL while reading a post from my friend Albion of AlbionGould after her recent trip to Disneyland Paris!
If you're a Disney parks fan, you can't leave Disneyland Paris off your list. Not only do you get some new Disney magic, it's located right next to one of the most beautiful cities in the world. This post will tell you all the details of what you need to know before you visit Disneyland Paris.
We've always flown into Charles de Gaulle Airport. There are multiple ways to get to Disneyland from the airport. Both of our preferred methods depart from Terminal Two. The high speed train option will get you to the Disneyland stop in a matter of minutes--quite literally. The Disney station is Marne-la-Vallée/ Chessy Station. However, we don't take it when our kids are with us because it can be rather chaotic, especially if there's luggage involved. Our most used option is the Magical Shuttle. You can pre-book your tickets online or buy them from the desk. It obviously takes longer than the train, but we've found it to be much easier with the kids. The shuttle stops at all of the Disneyland hotels, a small hub in town with hotels, and at Disneyland itself. The final stop is right next to the train station where you would have ended up had you chosen the train.
Where to Stay:
Like the other Disney parks, Disneyland Paris offers multiple on-site properties. The main hotel (and most expensive) is located right on top of the front gates. All of the hotels have different theming and are comparable to their hotels in the States. There's a large selection of off-site properties that are just a three minute train ride away to choose from as well. We have four kids, so for both pricing reasons and to be able to all be in the same room, our hotel of choice is Residhome Val d'Europe. The hotel is located fifty feet from the train entrance and it's just one stop away from the parks, which is actually much quicker than some of the official Disney hotels.
Getting into Disneyland:
Disneyland Paris is most similar in layout to Disneyland (Anaheim). There's a courtyard where you can choose to go into Disneyland, Walt Disney Studios, or Disney Village. The entrance to Disneyland is quite different from the American versions. The main queue is below the hotel, but I have a secret for you! Go to the right of the building (you'll go under a walkway).
The left luggage office will be in front of you but just off to the left is another entrance. It's never as busy as the main entrance and there's no signage to tell first time visitors that it's there.
When to Visit:
Just as with other Disney parks, there are good and bad times to visit Disneyland Paris due to crowd size, but the schedule you need to watch out for isn't what you'd think. When you're planning your visit, make sure it doesn't coincide with a school break in the U.K. In England, you can't take your kids out of school without getting a fine, which means that they travel only over their breaks. While other breaks will make a difference too, the U.K. is the the one that brings the biggest crowd. If your visit needs to be at the same time, be prepared for quite long lines and some difficulty in restaurant seating.
Disneyland Paris features many of the big name rides that we know and love from the American parks--Space Mountain, Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, and more. They all have a bit of a twist on them, though. Space Mountain, for example, has more of a Jules Verne type theming. Pirates starts with the burning of the town and ends with the cave. There are also Paris specific rides, like Alice's Curious Labyrinth and Crush's Coaster.
I will be honest--I feel let down by the Disneyland Paris food. I love Disney food and was expecting a level above the American parks since Paris has such a great reputation. While the food in the parks is ok, it's really just ok. There are very few themed food options, all of the carts are basically the same, and the food just generally seems to be overpriced and rather blah. Disney Village has restaurant options and I would recommend those over the food actually in the parks.
Do I Need to Know French?
The short answer is no. We didn't encounter any cast members who didn't speak English. However, it is helpful (and polite!) to know how to say please and thank you at the very least. Also, at most rides the cast members will ask questions in French first, so if they're looking for a party of two to jump ahead, you can swoop on that if you can understand the question.
How Long Do I Need?
Disneyland Paris is on the small size (smaller than Anaheim). I would say that you don't need any more than two days to do both the parks and feel satisfied. Because of the proximity to Paris, I would highly recommend taking at least one day trip into the city while you're there.
I hope that this has given you a general overview of what you can expect from Disneyland Paris and that you're planning your own visit!
Lover of travel to charming places dusted with unique flavor. Join me as I explore the world sip by sip. Cheers!