Sunday, May 6, 2007

Traveling through Europe with Toddlers and Other Fairly Stupid Ideas.

After traveling around Europe with the Captain over the last year, I've learned a thing or two. First, it often sucks. Second, you better be damn sure before you take it on. But if you're like me and the Dad, there is very little that can deter you from giving into that wanderlust. You may have the absolute worst time of your life, but pride and desire makes you believe "I think I can" and you don't care just how bad a time you might have. So I offer the following tips for anyone else out there who is stupid enough to try:
  1. There is no such thing as a high chair in Europe. If you want one, better lug along your own. I recommend this handy Eddie Bauer seat;

  2. Milk is a luxury in some places. If you are still bottle feeding your baby or even if you're on sippy or straw cups, bring a fresh bottle down to breakfast, fill er up at the cereal bar and put it in your room's mini-fridge. Bring small boxed milks (a la irradiated kind) and buy them at any market you find them along your travels. You would be shocked how hard they are to find;

  3. Strollers and ancient ruins do not mix well. I cannot stress this one enough;

  4. Watch out for ugly Americans. They are the only one's giving you dirty looks when your toddler is going bonkers;

  5. If you are able to, bring your own portable crib. You will be shocked at how many of these hotels put out death traps on wheels and how badly that can fuck up your night's sleep as you worry that Junior Mint won't make it out alive. Also, beware of hotels that charge you extra for the portable crib;

  6. Make your own cocktail hour! Inevitably you will discover that when all those fancy European-types are sitting at cafes and bars, you will be sitting in your hotel room giving Junior Mint some much needed playtime. Why be left out? Bring your own bottle opener, borrow some hotel wine glasses and get blitzed whilst the kiddo is tearing apart the Gideon bible;

  7. Tipping, it's not just for Americans anymore. Nothing can smooth over a really bad dinner out like a nice fat tip. It will also alleviate your embarrassment about all the food he's thrown on the floor;

  8. A solution to that toddler who pulls off his shoes...just bring a pair of dad's stinky socks. Chuck them over Junior's shoes. They will make it harder for him to get his shoes off and provide the proper level of embarrassment to Junior for his/her malfeasance;

  9. Invest in a white noise machine. Not only will it diminish the noises outside your hotel room it will provide some nice cover noise for Mama and Dad to get busy; and finally

  10. If all else fails and you find yourself losing your sanity, find a nice naval war museum and put him in front of a firing squad...

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