By Boaz Lantsman, CEO, RoutePerfect.com
Travel planning can be daunting, especially when factoring in traveling with children. A European vacation with kids in tow is at times more about playgrounds and trying new foods than museums and churches. Traveling to Europe with your children can be great family fun, creating lifelong memories. Moreover, it’s great parenting, as it helps get kids more comfortable with the wider world. Your children become your ambassadors, opening doors to new experiences and memories.
With summer vacation finally here, many families struggle to find the ideal European trip itinerary to follow when they are with their children. While preferences vary from one family to another, most look for destinations they can explore together, while scoring the best possible deals. The internet is full of options for hotels, airlines and attractions but parents often feel left on their own to plan their itineraries. Add children’s varied interests to the mix and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Travelers want to to spend less time on trip planning and more on enjoying their vacation.
As the CEO of RoutePerfect.com, the leading trip-planning and booking website for European travel, as well as a travel enthusiast, I know what parents go through when booking a family vacation. From deciding on a trip plan, choosing which destinations to visit, how long to stay in each one and what to do there, to finding the best prices and choosing the attractions, trip planning can be challenging. This was also my experience as a parent and busy professional which inspired me to create RoutePerfect, as I found myself spending time looking on multiple websites before booking my trip. Travel is an integral part of my own family life as my wife and I particularly enjoy exploring the world with our children. My son had traveled to eight countries by the time he turned four-years-old!
One thing that I discovered when speaking to travelers and analyzing booking data, is that families tend to choose European cities with important cultural backgrounds and various activities and attractions. For example, Rome is the most popular destination for our users and it’s easy to understand why. Italy’s beautiful capital city is indeed full of history, ruins, architecture, culture, and great food, all of which make up for an unforgettable family vacation. The crowd at Rome’s Trevi Fountain is always fascinating as is seeing the Colosseum and the Spanish Steps. Sharing important, well-known sites for the first time through the eyes of your own children provides a memorable, unique perspective.
Paris is also a favorite destination every year, rich in culture and history. Children may be just as enthralled with the rollerblades at the Trocadero as they would be visiting the Louvre. Plus, with Disneyland less than an hour away, it is always a great option with small children and teenagers. For families looking to be a little more adventurous, Europe also has plenty of exciting options. Eastern European cities such as Prague and Vienna are more and more popular every year with their contagiously joyful atmosphere and fascinating history. Each one of these cities also offers delicious cuisine and exciting sightseeing for all ages.
Wherever you are thinking of going with your family, it is often a good idea to start planning well in advance in order to get the best deals. However, if you’re still looking for your perfect summer getaway, don’t be discouraged, as we find that many travelers actually score great deals last minute.
If you’re looking to travel in the next few weeks, less obvious destinations are your best bets. Not only will you save money but you will also discover some of the most hidden gems in Europe and truly experience those cities like a local. Small French and Italian towns, for example, which haven’t been discovered and overrun by tourists offer unique family fun. Similarly, Iceland has become a popular destination as it offers breathtaking landscapes that will remain in your family photos for years to come. Investing in a European trip now not only builds lifelong family memories, but is a down payment on developing your children to become true citizens of the world.
Below are the most popular European destinations for families. The data was extracted from the trip planning and booking website RoutePerfect.com and was based on over 900,000 trips booked either on or through the site. The comments are by Boaz Lantsman, founder and CEO of RoutePerfect.com.
- Rome– Italy’s beautiful capital city, full of history, ruins, architecture, culture, great food and nightlife.
- Paris– The City of Light boasts fascinating architecture, endless history, rich culture, and amazing cuisine.
- London– London is steeped in history, with a heart of royalty, and can be considered the most progressive and exciting city in the world.
- Barcelona– Barcelona is unique in the world as a modern city with its rich history effortlessly folded in and an extremely creative force.
- Munich– Munich is a fabulous modern city that shows off its past while embracing the future through culture, art, and technology.
- Amsterdam– The Dutch capital, an enchanting blend of bustling streets, canals, unique buildings and culture, and plenty of fun ways to relax.
- Venice– A beautiful, cultural, romantic and unique historic city, famous for its canals. A must see.
- Prague– The capital and the largest city in the Czech Republic, visit Prague and discover a magical city, rich in history and culture.
- Vienna– The luxurious capital of Austria, has a sparkling nightlife, contagiously joyful atmosphere and fascinating history.
- Berlin– Berlin is a must-visit city, not only for its 20C history but also for its past and present cultural vibrancy.
- Madrid– Madrid is where ancient and old meet modern and cosmopolitan, where sightseeing, dancing, and shopping go hand in hand.
- Zurich– Switzerland’s financial, commercial and academic center. It offers over 50 museums, 100 art galleries and a buzzing nightlife.
- Salzburg– Distinct with its narrow streets and golden domes, Salzburg has a buzzing art scene, lively nightlife and heavenly food.
- Brussels– As Belgium’s capital and a center of EU affairs, Brussels is culturally diverse, historically interesting, and undeniably friendly.
- Nice– Known for its famous “Promenade des Anglais,” this port city boasts a rich cultural life and a profusion of modern artworks.
- Florence– The charming city of Florence: beautiful and full of attractions, great art, food and vibe. A must see!
- Lucerne– One of Switzerland’s major cities, Lucerne offers endless cultural options, a beautiful lake and a lively, fun, atmosphere.
- Dublin– The capital of Ireland, Dublin is known for its literary tradition and an entertaining mix of historical and modern activities.
- Geneva– Ideally located on Lake Leman, Geneva has become a global city. It is a major worldwide center for finance and diplomacy.