Packing and Travel Tips for Families
Kids Europe Newsletter
Many of you are getting ready to leave for Italy; I can tell
because of the number of Italy Discovery Journals I am sending
out. Here are some of our ideas on what to pack and how to enjoy
your vacation in Italy.
P L Byrne
Advice from the Kids
If you wear your best shoes, they will get ruined on long walks
and rough streets. We wore sports sandals and sneakers. Thong
sandals break, thick ones are wobbly on cobblestones, and thin
ones let things poke through into your feet.
wear new shoes; break them in before your travel.
clothes to cover tiny ones: If you wear tiny clothes, girls, be sure
to bring something to cover shoulders, stomach, and thighs, or you
may be forbidden to enter some really interesting places.
nice outfit: If you have only your favorite holey tshirt and baggy shorts
to wear, you might feel a little wierd going into some nice
places, like a really delicious restaurant. Let your Mom buy you
at least one polo shirt and a pair of chinos.
a book: Hanging out waiting for planes and hotel check-ins can be
boring business. Bring several books (paperbacks are lighter) to
read. English books are not easy to find in Italy. Also the Italy
Discovery Journal is a nice companion to help you while away
some of that waiting time.
Pointers from Parents
A Few Practical Ideas
sized rolling suitcase per person is our standard family
luggage, except for Mom who gets one size larger. Even small
travelers can have their own suitcase and enjoy the
responsibility. However, any distraction can erase it from their
minds, so, as usual, parents need to be ultimately responsible. We
also give each child a backpack to carry the things they need to
have near them throughout the trip.
take two collapsable bags, like this Zip
Out Tote that hold laundry and allow us to reallocate clothing
to make room for souvenirs.
recommend the travel-sized
vacuum bags. They really work; when you roll them up the air
is squeezed out and it stays out. They are perfect for underwear
bottles of mosquito
repellant in a formula you like are a good idea. Mosquitoes in
quantity aren't usually a problem, but few Italian buildings have
screens, so even one hungry mosquito can ruin a night's sleep and
leave everyone scratching. And, yes, Italians do have repellant
but puzzling out the ingredients could be a shopping challenge.
Great Ideas from Gail
Traveler, Teacher and Mom Shares Her Tips
I recently sent a copy of the Italy
Discovery Journal off to Gail Pattison, a teacher who
specializes in gifted children, but also a very experienced
traveler. She sent me a wonderful email, filled with great ideas
for traveling families, so without further ado...
Journal arrived a couple of days ago and I have been having such
fun going through it! You have included so much! (I LOVE finally
getting the rules to Italian card games!) And I have little to
offer as far as ideas...
PARENTS: Don't take what you can buy there. I met a Mom who was
struggling with a giant backpack filled with coloring books
crayons, candy, paper, pencils, snacks, even bottles of water...
It is all THERE and more fun for kids to purchase themselves.
it is good for kids to take a backpack of favorite things,
especially for the plane trip, hotel and long train rides, I don't
think anyone should carry anything that can't be comfortably hung
across their chest while sightseeing (leaving hands free). Purses,
backpacks, etc. are too easy to leave at the last outdoor café,
or get stolen. Wear a fanny pack, or some small bag with a tiny
medical kit (two band aids,a couple of wask-ups, a travel size
Neosporin, aspirin, two antacids, and two ImodiumAD. They all fit
in an old Altoids tin. If you need more stuff, there are
idea to grab a card or matchbook cover of where you are staying,
and I include a small family picture. Euros can be kept in a very
small change purse or baggie (The snack size baggies are
invaluable) We were given little hard sided cases to carry a cell
phone in, and they would be perfect for kids. And I think all kids
should have a little camera for their OWN pictures, not what
parents want them to take.
teacher in me says to take one "read-aloud" paperback to
quiet kids before bed. The
Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by Konigsburg or Walk
Two Moons or something very good and long. A few pages a
takes a lot of choices away from kids, so giving them any possible
choice is a good thing. "Do you want to eat at this café, or
that café?" and if traveling with more than one - each day
one is the "decider." Works really well if your kids are
born on odd and even days, but if not - colors work. (It is a blue
day, so Megan makes the final decision."
great debrief for each day, while you are waiting for the not-too-
speedy Italian waiter to bring dinner, is to have each person
respond to the following: ( And someone writing it down for each
day) What was the Best______? What was the funniest
______________? What was the worst __________? What was a
surprise? What tasted best? A collection of these make a great
Some ideas for Kids to Collect and Display: Magnets from each
place, then at home, decorate a cookie sheet with Italian colors
in a ribbon-border and/or paint a map in the center and display
all the magnets by where they were purchased. The same could be
done with soccer club badges.
mentioned the flags in Siena - they look great hung on a curtain
rod. (Also the soccer flags) And all those cheap souvenirs? ( I
believe in letting kids make their own choices with their own
spending money) How about a Shadow Box?
had a friend who had her kids send postcards to themselves at home
- instant collection and fun to see when they returned. Ticket
stubs, menus, travel guide sheets, etc. make a great collage frame
for the Best picture for each child.
were right on about picking a specific thing to look for in a
museum and then just find that. Also, You are right, the catacombs
are always a real hit. You can also go out in the countryside and
see a cross section of the aqueduct.
The Best Italy Guide For Kids
Adventures, Quests, and Wierd Sights
kid-focused guide book and journal offers more than 500 ideas to
help kids and their families enjoy travel in Italy. It reduces
whining and gets them engaged in popular culture, goofy
observations, and strange history.
Harriman, author of Take Your Kids to Europe, reviewed the Italy
Discovery Journal and wrote: "Italy Discovery Journal is
the best educational travel-guide available for kids. Starting
with the reasonable assumption that other guides already list
places to go and things to see, Pat Byrne has largely skipped
those listings. In their place, she's created a unique collection
of activities that encourage kids 6-16 to truly observe and
interact with Italy during their visit..."
Family Friendly Travel Insurance
Protect Your Vacation Investment
if you and your family arrive in Italy and your baggage doesn't?
if your vacation is interrupted by weather or other unforeseen
if you lose your long-planned vacation investment because you have
to cancel your trip?
happens to travelers every day. Airlines and accommodation
payments are usually non-refundable except in the most narrow of
circumstances and, even in those cases, they may only apply your
money to future travel.
recommended solution is travel insurance. Travelex
is very affordable, plus it is designed for families: children
under 16 are covered at no cost when accompanied by a covered
Plenty of Room at this Family Friendly Place in Tuscany
one-bedroom apartments at Villa Colle are the best value in a
Tuscan vacation I know of. The spotless apartments are in the
heart of Chianti, an easy drive to Florence and Siena. Popular San
Gimignano is so close you can see it from the nearby hill.
you don't mind using the sofa bed, four people can stay here for
$165/night. Enjoy the pool and walk to the medieval town of Colle
di Val d'Elsa. And, you don't have to stay or pay for a week, four
nights stays are accepted.
this is just right or isn't quite what you have in mind, send me
an email with your
dates and needs and let me see what I can find for you.