Socializing with the Natives

Ever lament the fact that traveling sort of puts you in your own private bubble? This is particularly true if you travel to a country where you don't speak the native tongue.

Young children seem to have very little problem making new friends, regardless of the language barrier. Neighborhood playgrounds are a natural setting for integrating with local families. Particularly in major cities in Italy in the late afternoon (when moms and dads come home from work and head to the parco giochi with the bambini), you're likely to find Italians who speak English.

Getting Through the Airport

I used to think the recent invention of the Family Security Line was created out of an airport's desire to accommodate frazzled parents. 

After all, if you're traveling with children, you're likely unpacking and re-packing practically the entire contents of your three carry on bags in the span of a few minutes. Simultaneously unbuckling your pants, taking off your kids' shoes, and ensuring the kids' DVD players--so desperately required for the 12 hour flight--doesn't get confiscated because you neglected to put it in its own bin on the conveyor belt.

Ditto for the emergency boxes of aseptic milk you packed.

Tips for Creating a Kid-Friendly European Trip

If you’ve been considering a family trip to Europe, now is a good time to start planning. As a travel planner specializing in family travel to Italy, as well as being the mother of 4-year old twins whom I’ve dragged across the pond a fair number of times, I like to suggest several ‘rules of thumb’ for making an overseas trip to Italy or Europe more kid-friendly.

Italy: Three Special Places to Take the Kids

Thousands of years of history, art and architecture, and great food make Italy the most popular destination in Europe.  Most families tend to stick to the traditional Rome, Florence and Venice circuit, and while this itinerary is certainly worthwhile, two weeks of visiting the big tourist cities can easily wear out even the most heroic little traveler. The solution?  Combine an iconic Italian city with one of these three inspirational, family-friendly destinations and enjoy authentic cultural interaction and a truly family-friendly vacation.