Backpacking with Children » 5 Reasons To Do It

Do you know what backpacking means? If you type the word into Google you will find about 235.00 results. According to Google, ‘backpacking’ means a lower-cost independent travel, often with a backpack that can be easily carried as the backpacker moves from location to location. Backpacking means freedom, adventure, fun (and sometimes less fun) people, new experiences and little or nothing to fall back on. In short, a journey of discovery! So when you have children, does this all change? As a mother of two, people often me and my partner how we ‘do it’ and they wonder if backpacking with children is even possible. I wasn’t always this flexible about travelling with my children so I understand where this question is coming from. It sounds exciting and adventurous but maybe it’s a bit too much? Here are 5 reasons why backpacking with children is always a good idea.

1. Create Forever Lasting Memories!
The great advantage of backpacking is that you get to travel and therefore you experience more. For children, it is often an impressive experience. They experience new things they have never seen before. We make the lives of our children richer by showing them the world. And best of all, you and your  family will create memories that will never be forgotten.

create-memories
Cheryl’s family Backpacking through Asia

I loved traveling when I was single. I love traveling with my wife. But I love it more now that I have kids. – Santorini Dave 

2. Freedom and Adventure
Backpacking means travelling around from location to location. You don’t need a fixed plan. The whole idea of backpacking is to be flexible. Arrived some place and want to stay longer? Then do! Our advice for backpacking with children is to prepare your trip. For us this means we select a view accommodations at each location (so when we arrive we can make fast decisions). Flights we book in advance, any other transport we arrange at the destination. Choose train & bus above the plane (unless your kids are very young, then travel less locations or lower the distance). Any other preparation is not necessary, you’ll handle it!

3. It’s good for your budget
Feel like exploring the world with your children but you don’t have a large budget? Backpacking is low budget travel. Sometimes you’ll find a hidden gem, sometimes you end up in a little less more pleasant environment. Don’t focus to much on what the accommodation looks like, as long as it’s clean it will be fine (and the kids will be ok). Try to select your next stay with the children. Keep their wishes in mind!

Taking care of their own backpack makes them more independent

4. They learn to be a little bit independent
It starts even before you head off on your little adventure.Give older children in your family some responsibility during traveling. It makes them grow in their self esteem because they contribute to family interests. Taking care of their own backpack makes them more independent and last year our daughter Jessie (then 11 years old) purchased and carried her own backpack. Of course you need to decide as a parent if your child is physically able to handle this. Not every eleven-year-old is the same. Our daughter liked to have her own backpack. Because she’d have to carry her own stuff she packed less! responsible!

5. You realise anything is possible
If you decide to take your children on an adventure, you are taking a leap of faith and yes, it can be scary. But how cool is it when you’ve actually done it! Backpacking is all about surprises and backpacking with children is the 3.0 version of that. A lot of people regret things in life, just because they didn’t do something. Break the rules and be different. Be that person that has no regrets. And look back at it with pride, no matter how the experience was. A fact is, that you did it and that itself, is pretty damn awesome.

Backpacking with children
Traveling by boat, Cheryl has done it all

Tip! Lower your expectations
If you are a hardcore adventurer and backpacker, you might want to lower your expectations a little bit. The truth is, backpacking with children will be a bit different from doing it by yourself. You have more responsibilities and it starts with the items you pack. This time, bring the first aid kit that you would normally leave at home, research the area you’re traveling to and the list goes on. Once you are prepared, your backpacking adventure will be a lot more relaxing.

Tip! The less you bring, the better!
A suitcase with 30 kg of clothes, shoes (and more) sounds interesting until you have to travel from one location to another (and you have to carry that large heavy thing everywhere). From my own experience: this will make you cry. The suitcase is a NO-GO, buy or borrow a backpack.

Tip! Take care of yourself and invest in a backpack!
Find an outdoor shop and try a number of different backpacks. You will see (and experience) that there’s a real difference in types. I can’t advise about which backpack you should buy. Find a store on and try several (including weights!).

Love,

Cheryl

*Cheryl is a mother of 2, with a love for travel. Having 2 kids didn’t stop her from traveling the world and she has become somewhat of an expert when it comes to traveling with children. She will write for Wander-Lust once a month where she will provide you with the best traveling tips for and with children! Find out more on her blog: travellingwithkids.extrememedia.nl

Wander-Lust now has a TRAVELING WITH KIDS section, check it out!

7 tips to make traveling with your kids as relaxed as possible

7 tips to make traveling with your kids as relaxed as possible

Do you have children? Then you might recognise yourself in this daunting thought; traveling with your kids. This fear may even lead to the decision of not traveling long distance at all. I have some good news for you, it’s not that hard! It’s even possible to sit down relax and enjoy the ride… These are 7 useful tips to make travelling with kids as relaxed as possible.

1. You will survive
Inhale and take a deep breathe. Accept the fact that travelling with your kids won’t always go as planned. It might be an overwhelming thought, but the most important thing to remember is: this will end. You will get to the destination. You will survive!

2. Well begun is half done
Do yourself (and others!) a favor and prepare yourself and your kids for the trip. If your children are old enough, the best thing to do is inform them about the travelling time and what the day will look like. For example: ask them what they need during the 12-hour flight. My kids love their Donald Duck magazines or books they can read. Bring some snacks, travel games and their favorite cuddly toy. The little screens in the chairs are a godsend for those traveling with small children, and for those sitting around them. If you have your own technology, bring it!

Traveling with kids
Keep them busy

3. Pack smart
In 2014, we traveled through Asia with our family (2 adults, 2 kids, age 6 & 10) with only two backpacks! We seemed to forget that almost everything can be bought abroad. It might not be ‘your’ favorite brand but you’ll manage. When your kids are old and strong enough; let them carry their own stuff (it will make them think twice about all those clothing and footwear they want to pack! My tip for smart & easy packing: packing cubes. Travel packing cubes are the ultimate luggage organizers and maximize the space in your bag.

wander-lust-3
Traveling with your kids to Thailand? No problem!

Be flexible on your trip, because a child’s mood and interests can change constantly.

4. Track your kids
It’s THE worst horror scenario for parents: your child lost. From our own experience, we can strongly advise: never assume a friend or relative is watching over your kid. We did this once and lost our daughter for about 30 minutes at the airport (not cool, and thankfully she was OK). A simple solution is to write your own name and phone number on their arm. That way, if they are found, you can be contacted easily. It’s also possible to invest in a GPS tracking device. These days you cannot be careful enough and this way you might feel a lot more at ease.

5. Necessary preps
Some country’s really need some good preparation, for both pre- and during the journey. Does your baby need a visa? Should you bring medication, e.g. malaria tablets or get vaccinations? You don’t want to get caught out last minute. Check your local health authority for all the info.

6. Be flexible and go with the flow
Of course, the goal of your travel is to create memories. Keep in mind that children need time to burn off energy and enjoy the company of other kids of their own age. Parents also need quiet periods to rest and some other adult-company as well. Be flexible on your trip, because a child’s mood and interests can change constantly. (but i’m sure you knew that!) If you and your kids find something else you’d rather do, be spontaneous and go with the flow. No stress means happy holidays!

7. Keep calm and enjoy
Go easy on your kids and leave the over-disciplining at home. This doesn’t mean you should let your kids run wild (this will not be appreciated by the people around you) but if you’re working on something with your child and it comes up on the plane, well you’re probably best to not use this as a learning experience. Keeping the kids calm is more valuable than using every teachable moment. Those around you will appreciate it. This certainly made my traveling experience a lot more relaxing!

Hope these tips help!

Love,

Cheryl

*Cheryl is a mother of 2, with a love for travel. Having 2 kids didn’t stop her from traveling the world and she has become somewhat of an expert when it comes to traveling with children. She will write for Wander-Lust once a month where she will provide you with the best traveling tips for and with children! Find out more on her blog: travellingwithkids.extrememedia.nl

Europa Park » Fun for the young and old

If you have kids and you’re looking for an awesome day out, we have a weekend tip your child(ren) will love! Oh, and we think you are going to like it too! We sent Elke’s sister Miriba and her family to Germany’s Europa Park.

The Park
Europa-Park is located next to the amazing Black Forest in Germany near the border of Switzerland and France. The first thing you see when you enter the parking-lot of Europe Park is the Silver Star rollercoaster. You can hear people scream and see hands up in the sky as they feel the 4G that pushes their bodies into their seats even more…. This will give you a thrilling feeling from the first moment you entered the park and it’s a feeling that won’t leave you for the rest of the day. The Europa Park is, as the name suggest, divided into the different countries of Europe. Lots of people walk through the park country by country but we got a good inside tip; visit your most wanted attraction first. In the morning the waiting times are not that long as in the afternoon. It also helps to download the Europapark app, you can see exactly what the waiting times at the various attractions are and how long it will take you to get there.

Wander-Lust in Europa Park
Miriba and her children walk though Europa Park

The Rides
At Europe Park there are enough rides to keep you going for a whole weekend but the first ride me and my family tried was the new “Voletarium“. It’s located near the entrance and is officially the biggest flying theater in Europe. If you can’t make it first thing in the morning, it is possible to get a so called “time-ticket“ which gives you a time slot to which you can come back have almost no waiting time. The Voletarium is the most expensive attraction in the park and we already got a taste of that while waiting. The hallways were magnificently decorated and as we arrived at the starting point, we didn’t have the feeling to have waited very long. The attraction took 9 months to build and more than a thousand people worked on the project. When you take your seat in front of the 425 m² screen, you see a short film shot from a bird’s-eye perspective and because the seats are moving and the screen is so close you really have the feeling you’re flying! The shots are all filmed by drones or helicopters and all in high definition quality.

Volitarium Europa Park

After that we tried “Arthur“, a ride which is not only great for kids but also for their parents. The waiting area is not as nice as at the Voletarium but they have a great locker system so you don’t have to worry about your belongings while enjoying the fun. You fly over the Minimoys world that is related to the movie “Arthur and the Minimoys“.

Arthur at Europa Park
In the Arthur ride

 

Frau Holle. Europa Park

A lot of rides have water involved and are great fun if it’s hot, such a the Tiroler Wildwasserbahn, Fjort Rafting or the Altantica Supersplash. All three rides are worth waiting but you can get really wet. Therefore it is always useful to bring some towels (or even a rain jacket believe it or not). Not everything in the park is fast and bumpy, there are also a lot of spots that are magical and calm such as the fairytail forest. There are even some countries that have attractions especially designed for smaller kids such as the bumper cars in Holland or almost every ride in Ireland that includes a nice playground with big slides.

wildwasserbahn Europa Park

Unlike many other attraction parks it’s also allowed to bring your own food & drinks

For lunch you can stop at one of the various eating spots the park has on offer. A lot of  the countries offer country specific food such as poffertjes in Holland or a crusty pizza in Italy. Unlike many other attraction parks it’s also allowed to bring your own food & drinks so there are a lot of picknick spots around the park to enjoy your lunch. If you want to give your feet some rest, you can opt for one of the various theater shows they offer in the park. We went to the dark night, a theatrical show with horses, acrobatics and even some magic. There are many more shows on offer but if you only have one day to spent, there is no chance to see them all.

Top 5 tips for a fun day at Europapark:

  1. Go to your favorite attraction or ride as soon as you enter
  2. Download the Europepark App and prepare for your visit
  3. Pay your parking ticket right at the beginning (there are machines in the entrance area) so you don’t have to queue when you leave.
  4. If you can, visit the park for 2 days total. If you only have one day, you will miss out on the nice little playgrounds, smaller attractions and wonderful shows. You can stay in the park hotel
  5. During summer, bring some towels and dry clothes for the kids. There are also some lovely water playgrounds around the park.

We had an amazing day and it won’t be the last time that we visited Europa Park!

Love,

Miriba

Europa-Park
Europa-Park-Straße 2, Germany

Open daily from 9am till 6pm
Website

10 X Child Friendly Hotspots in Barcelona

The summer is getting closer and it’s the perfect time to go out of your house and sit down in a nice café for a brunch or “merienda”. If you are a parent and want a café where you can easily get in with your stroller and enjoy an amazing coffee and at the same time let your baby have a great time; we have the perfect places for you! It is easy to fall into routines and always go to the same places, doing the same things. Let’s switch things up for the summer! Here are 10 child friendly hotspots in Barcelona curated by The Nannyline.

Parc de la Ciutadella
Passeig de Picasso, 21

Near Arc de Triomf we find the beautiful Parc de la Ciutadella, “the central park of Barcelona”. This 17 hectare big park is filled with fun, exciting things that the kids will love! We find a little café next to a majestic fountain. Right next to the café you can take a 30 min row boat ride in a little lake. The park also has a greenhouse, The Umbracle, filled with tropical plants. Moreover, probably the most exciting for the kids: The Zoo! Parc de la Ciutadella is nevertheless the ground for Zoo of Barcelona. Perfect place for your nanny to bring your kiddo. Test your kids animal knowledge outside the children’s books! In the zoo you will meet hippos, flamingos , monkeys and much more. Parc de la Ciutadella is undoubtedly a park you can spend countless hours in. This is the place for both expats, tourists and locals to hang and enjoy the amazing city of Barcelona.

parc-de-la-ciutadella

CosmoCaixa Barcelona
Carrer d’Isaac Newton, 26

Too hot outside and in need of air conditioning? Explore the wonders of science in CosmoCaixa’s Science Museum! Your nanny and kid will definitely be entertained by this museum placed in northern Barcelona, Sant Gervasi. Boost your kid’s curiosity and creativity and explore the different interactive workshops and activities! They have a recreation of an Amazonian rain-forest (Flooded Forest “Bosc inundat”), a planetarium taking you on a journey through space and time, and a creative space with experiments and games suitable for kids from 7 years and older. They also have workshops like ¡Toca-Toca! and Clik, where you are not only allowed, but supposed to touch, play and interact with different things.

Beach
Build sandcastles, maybe play a little football and take a refreshing dip in the water: the beach is one of the best things of Barcelona. A big city with an accessible beach; can it be any better? You can take your nanny with you to the beach so you can relax for a bit and let the nanny babysit the kids. Here are some suggestions for beaches where you, your child and nanny can go:

  • Sant Miquel and Sant Sebastià
    Near hotel W we find these two beaches. Great for kids because the water is shallow.
  • Nova Mar Bella
    A bit more quiet with space for a picnic and there is a playground nearby.
  • Ocata beach
    A bit outside of Barcelona heading north we find Ocata beach. A big, wide beach with white sand. Perfect if you have the time and ability to go outside the city.

Aquarium
Moll d’Espanya del Port Vell, Website

Barcelona’s aquarium “ L’Aquàrium de Barcelona” will bring you on an fascinating underwater experience. Prepare to meet lots of different little and big sea friends. You have the guided Discover the L’Aquàrium’s secrets tour where they talk about how the aquarium works and how they take care of their fishes. A fun experience with lots of fun, new facts. You and your babysitter can of course also decide your own tour strolling around as you like. Barcelona’s aquarium also offers a clue game, handicraft workshop and a Q&A with the carers while they feed the fishes.

Parc del Laberint d’Horta
Passeig dels Castanyers, 1

Play in the maze of Parc del Laberint d’Horta! Barcelona’s oldest park located in Sant Andreu is the perfect place to spend a weekend or an afternoon. The green garden is filled with small squares, mythological sculptures, flower beds and a waterfall has a truly enchanted feeling to it, great for exploring! Have a picnic, get lost in the maze and discover all the different corners and places of this beautiful park.

Pudding coffee shop
Avinguda Diagonal, 515
Open hours: Mon – Sun 9.30 – 21.30

The wonderful coffee shop Pudding will make anyone fall for it’s charm . Beside the brunches, sweets and good food they offer they also have a special kid’s club. The club can both help you fix an awesome birthday for your child or provide you with a babysitting service. Located at Carrer de Pau Claris near Urquinaona metro station this coffee shop is a must when you are in Barcelona!

pudding-cafe
Pudding Coffee Shop

Parc Turó de Can Mates
Carrer de Josep Irla, 50

This park , located in Sant Cugat del Valles is a lovely playground to bring the kids to. Parc Turó de Can Mates has four different zones: a flat green area with some trees and an outdoor gym, one area with long and fun slides, a climbing frame and a big sandbox. The park is easily accessible and has a good parking lot. Ask your nanny to take your kids here for the afternoon and let them explore the different areas of the park. Play in the sand, slide down the slides and climb the climbing frame!

Mossèn Costa i Llobera Gardens
Ctra. de Miramar, 50-58

Open hours: Mon – Sun 10.00 – 19.00
Mossèn Costa i Llobera Gardens is a botanical garden at the foot of Montjuïc. Here can your child explore over 800 different sorts of plants. The garden was actually built as an outdoor classroom for students of Escuela de Jardinería de Barcelona but is now open for the public. Take this opportunity to teach your kids about nature while looking at this rather unusual garden. Make sure to not stick yourself on the cactus spines!

mossen-costa-i-llobera-gardens

Baby Deli
Avinguda Pau Casals, 6
Open hours: Monday – Saturday 10:15-14:30 and 16:30-19:45
Baby Deli is a combined store and café. With a sophisticated interior design Baby Deli welcomes us with a warm feeling. This is the perfect place for the whole family. They sell baby food, amazing coffee, toys and clothes. While parents can enjoy a cup of coffee and maybe some snacks, the kids are free to play with a variety of books and toys. It is located close to Francesc Macià and has a nice park just one minute walking distance away. Definitely a new favorite place for the summer!

babydeli-1

Family Room Café
Carrer Joan Gamper, 13
Open hours: Tuesday, Wednesday 09:00-21:00, Thursday, Friday 09:00-00:00, Saturday 10:00-00:00 Sunday 12:00-20:00
Vergós 55. Open hours: Tuesday – Friday 08:30-21:00, Saturday 09:30-21:00
Family Room Café is based on the idea of being “a place for families”. They offers healthy food and a cozy atmosphere on two locations; one in Les Corts and one in Sarrià. The café is spacious and light with nordic inspired interior design. The dried flowers in vases on the wooden tables gives the café a fresh, organic feeling. They have a playground for the kids in both cafés. In Les Corts they have cute wooden houses, toys, a little kitchen and a wooden horse. The Sarría café just opened about two weeks ago and offers a whole floor just for the kids! This is a place where you want to sit down for a couple of hours, eat brunch, drink coffee, relax while the kids have a whole room full of things they can enjoy. A must-see during the summer!

familyroom-2
Family Room Café, Les Corts

Love,

The Nannyline

*The Nannyline is an international agency with highly educated, experienced and enthusiastic nannies based in Barcelona. Find out more at www.nanny-line.com

Boezemvriend » Baby, Boob, Shop and Cafe

Now that I’m a mother, I need to selectively search for those places where I can open my laptop, do some work, enjoy a coffee and breastfeed my baby without people giving me that strange look. Even though breastfeeding is totally natural and a necessity for your baby, some people still think it’s strange when a woman is breastfeeding her child in public. Boezemvriend is one of those places where it’s possible to do this without feeling weird about it while enjoying a tasty latte.

Boezemvriend
Still controversial even though breastfeeding is the world’s most natural thing. Source

Breastfeeding Consultancy
As a new mother I know how tough the first few weeks can be when it comes to breastfeeding. Boezemvriend is a lactation consultancy practice, where you can ask all your questions about and around breastfeeding. You can also book a lactation consultant (if needed, they can visit you at home), you can follow courses and buy or rent breast pumps. (always handy!) If you want to check if it’s for you, you can join their monthly birth cafe where you can ask questions to a professional consultant and meet new parents, for free! 

Who says that breastfeeding-friendly cafe’s can’t be cool?

The Cafe
Super nice! I was surprised about the great tasting coffee, healthy muffins and the best hummus & grilled vegetables sandwich I ever tasted! Yes, this cafe isn’t just a secondary attachment to Boezenvriend, no it’s a place I would recommend to all people. And yes, it’s mostly visited by mothers (or fathers) with a baby or young child. It’s particularly great for that group of customers because you can totally relax. When a baby is crying, no one is looking annoyed because they all understand. Breastfeeding is only encouraged (and the women are still very discreet, covering their breast with a small blanket)

Boezemvriend Cafe Amsterdam

The Store
Here you can find all sorts of baby related stuff. From clothes, blankets, car seats, baby carriers to maternity wear. Labels are mostly organic and super stylish. It’s not cheap but the quality is very good so if you want to score a great baby present for you or a friend, Boezemvriend is a great option! 

Shop Boezemvriend

Who says that breastfeeding-friendly cafe’s can’t be cool? You can find me at this mummy hotspot from now on!

Boezemvriend
Overtoom 205, Amsterdam

020 471 27 29 
Website

Love,

Elke