“You want to take your baby to you to Italy?” This is something I heard a lot leading up to our Italian adventure. My reasons aside, I understand that traveling with kids is not always ideal. But you know what? It’s doable, and millions of people do it every year. Sure, Italy is romantic, but it can also be a great destination for families. Here’s what I learned after my first trip to Italy with a baby in tow.
Your schedules will be different than they are at home. For example, like most of Europe, Italians eat dinner later than Americans are accustomed to. Factor in jet lag, and a tired toddler is a recipe for disaster. Be sure to schedule in nap times, and pack the necessities like snacks and a change of clothes during long days of sightseeing. Bring enough diapers and formula from home too. Supermarkets with large baby selections are hard to come by in the city centers, and you don’t want to be running around the city looking for specific items. Travel-friendly gear like fold-up, compact strollers come in handy when navigating through a museum or packed restaurant. Strollers that fully recline are also key, and we’ve even been able to enjoy a few quiet meals when little one fell asleep after a busy day. A couple brands that are popular with travel blogging parents include BABYZEN and the Pockit Lightweight model.
Find the Right Accommodations
A luxury hotel that’s meant for romantic getaways may not be the best bet for family travel. Read reviews and make sure that kids won’t be out of place at your chosen hotel. When traveling with our baby, I shy away from boutique properties and choose larger hotels with amenities like room service and a pool. another great option is an Airbnb rental. A kitchen and additional living space definitely comes in handy! Booking this Airbnb in Florence was probably the best decision we could have made!
Take Advantage of Local Family-Friendly Activities
Sure, there are romantic restaurants, wine bars and beautiful piazzas a plenty. But there are also parks and museums, and those piazzas make for a great place to run off some energy. Research online to find the best activities.
Enjoy the Food
Luckily the food that Italy is famous for is very kid-friendly. I don’t know many children that would pass on pizza and pasta! Eat authentically and you’re all on vacation, so indulge in that nightly gelato.
Be Flexible and Enjoy Yourselves
I learned the hard way that taking a baby along on our Walks of Italy tour of the Vatican wasn’t the best idea. The three hour tour was way longer than a toddler’s attention span, but we improvised and one of us stepped aside so we didn’t disrupt the rest of the group. Stressful at times, but it worked out in the end. Tantrums happen, trains may be missed or a pacifier may get lost. Go with the flow and don’t sweat the small stuff. Italians have kids too, and overall Italy is a very family-friendly country. We were welcomed everywhere we went, everyone we came across was accommodating and there was even some cheek-pinching by friendly Italian grandmas. Don’t worry about what others think and focus on spending quality time together as a family. Years down the road it will be better to remember the fun memories rather than that time your toddler cried in a crowded restaurant. And don’t forget to take a lot of family photos!