Traveling is always an adventure and there are times when you may not feel especially up to the challenge, but if you’re willing to include a fair amount of patience and more than a bit of adventure in your travel plans, you can enjoy a tremendous vacation with your infant or toddler along for the ride.
Use Public Transportation and Stay Close
You’d likely want to avoid the busy city streets in Italy if you’re traveling with small children. Packing multiple car seats, strapping everyone into the small local cars and then trying to navigate the roads is a special kind of nightmare on the bravest among us are willing to try. You probably brought a car seat on the plane, and it might fit into the back of a rental car, but travel is even easier if you bring along a front carrier or sling for sleeping on the plane, and a stroller for travel on trains or buses throughout the city, leaving the hassles of car seats far behind.
By the same token, consider the location of your hotel and how close you are to certain attractions. With small children, it’s far more convenient to walk with a stroller or carrier than hop on and off busses. Stay in the center of the action or close to it so that you can get from restaurants, cafes, museums and shops without too much trouble.
Respect Bedtimes and Naps
When traveling with small children in Italy, the schedule of the people works in your favor. There’s a lot to do in the mornings and mid afternoon, but a lot of the city rests after a long lunch, which makes it easy to adhere to a nap schedule. Do your most active things in the morning, and then encourage your little one to sleep in the stroller while you enjoy quiet museums, parks or piazzas in the afternoon. Or return to your hotel to allow everyone a good nap before a busy afternoon and evening.
Meal times are later in Italy with family dinners lasting several courses into the evening hours. Be ready for this with snacks picked up from cafes or shops during the day and consider eating on the patio early in the day with a big lunch and a light dinner so that you’re able to get back in time for bedtimes. If you arrange a room with a balcony or large windows, you can still enjoy seeing the city go by while your children sleep behind you.
Even if you’re not fortunate enough to have a balcony, turning in early may cause you to miss some of the night life in the big cities, but it will allow for a well-rested family to go exploring in the city long before many of the other tourists and locals are up to create crowds.