One benefit of being part of the military is getting free space-a flights. We took advantage of this recently by taking all 4 kids to Europe (ages 2-10) for 3 weeks.
While some may say this is a crazy thing to do, especially with such young kids (still breastfeeding even), we had a blast. It was seriously one of the best vacations we’ve had so far.
My children are no strangers to travel. My husband and I both like roadtrips. We have visited many places on the west coast, and taken even young babies camping. All in all they traveled like pros.
1st off, the three oldest each carried a backpack containing all their clothes, and a few activity books. I did not want to deal with rolling luggage, or carrying it all myself. Hubby and I also had large backpacks to carry. I brought along my homemade mei tai carrier to carry the youngest, which was great for when he was fussy or tired, and it folded up nice and small for when he wanted to walk.
2nd, we got a eurail pass. We got a family pass, which meant 1st class seats for 3 weeks for all of us. We were planning on covering a lot of ground, and took full advantage of this pass, it was a great use of our money.
3rd, we found accommodations online through booking.com. When traveling space-a, you don’t always know when you will get places, or even where you end up going. We first tried to get to Germany, but ended up with a flight to Ireland 2 days later. No problem, we were planning on visiting there anyway. But, without knowing ahead of time where and when you will arrive, booking rooms well ahead of time is difficult. So, booking.com to the rescue. We were able to find local inns and hotels for low prices, many of whom would let all 6 of us stay in one room together, with only a few hours to a few days notice. Only once did we have to walk around trying to find a place to stay the night (in London). It was also helpful when we took extra long at certain places and didn’t travel as far as expected during a day.
We tried to get in a mix of historic and interesting sites. Not too many castles (or the kids would get bored). And, since I love genealogy, we also mixed in a few places from my family history.
Now on to some pictures from the first half of our trip: The British Isles
On our first full day we took a bus tour of the Ring of Kerry. My oldest really wanted to see Dingle Bay (for some unknown reason). It was a nice relaxing way to start off, and to let the kids deal with jetlag (they slept a lot).
The next day we went to Blarney Castle. Only hubby was brave enough to kiss the Blarney Stone (or the only one not grossed out by the thought). The kids loved the poison garden and the cave underneath the castle.
After making our way to England we rented a car (good thing hubby has practice driving on the left). We took a not-so-small detour up to Edinburgh, and got a little lost. But, eventually we made it back to England and found Alnwick Castle just before it closed. The kids were very excited to see one of the places Harry Potter was filmed.
Some of my ancestors are from the Nottingham area, so we had to stop by. We walked through Sherwood Forest, and saw Robin Hood’s tree. Then we zoomed down to Stonehenge, because how can you miss that. We even met up with some old friends of hubby.
And finally, we made it to London. We made a point of going to Kings Cross Station, and the Museum of Natural History. We took a tour on a double-decker red bus. And on the second day we saw the changing of the guard. After London we were off to the continent…Part 2.