Traveling with children in Italy is an incredible experience. True, it can present a few challenges, but with the right preparation, those can be minimized or avoided. Read on for some travel tips for making your trip with your children as fun and smooth as possible.
Italian Train Fares for Children
In most cases, children under four travel for free on trains in Italy. When riding on the Frecciarossa, Frecciabianca, Frecciargento and Thello trains, children up to fourteen can also travel free of charge or at heavily discounted fares. For all other trains, the maximum age for a Child’s ticket is 11. Seat, couchette and other reservations must be made even for a child traveling for free and still requires reservation fees.
Before the Trip the Italy
To really get kids prepared, engaged and excited for their trip, getting them some travel books like ‘Venice for Kids’ and ‘Mission Rome: A Scavenger Hunt Adventure’ is a great idea. ‘Mission Rome’ in particular, which also comes in a kindle edition, is a book that sends kids on an exciting ‘scavenger hunt’ in Rome, where they get to have fun while learning all about the city’s history and landmarks. Just be sure to keep an eye on them while they’re on their adventure.
Children’s Italian language phrase books teach young ones how to say words and common phrases in Italian which will also keep them stimulated, interested and excited to go on their trip.
Don’t Forget to Pack
When traveling with babies and young children, make sure you always carry plastic bags for diapers and dirty clothes. Giving an iPad, cell phone or disposable camera to children so they can take pictures of their vacation keeps them involved and engaged in what's going on around them on the trip. And for older kids, it’s great to give them journals or scrap books in which they can collect ticket stubs, souvenirs and other small reminders of their trip to Italy.
Fun on the Train in Italy
Long plane and train trips can be difficult for children. Pack each child a backpack that they can carry, with amusing and quiet toys. These can include stuffed animals, dolls and crayons with coloring paper. Cards are great for card games and some old fashioned road trip games like ‘I Spy’ or ‘20 Questions’ are always great.
Cool Apps for Kids
If you or your child has a tablet, they can watch TV shows and/or movies on it while on the train and there are some super entertaining apps for kids as well to keep them occupied. Before you leave on your trip, you can download some shows and apps to be prepared.
Some great ones include: Mad Libs - Who doesn’t love this classic? Old school fun meets new school with this app. You can type in adjectives or insert pictures taken (of the beautiful scenery they see outside their window), and read the hilarious outcome. And for kids who get car (or train) sick looking at books or apps in a moving vehicle, Tales 2 Go is perfect. It's an app for kids’ audiobooks and they can listen to books read aloud and follow their favorite characters or choose books by grade level.
There are tons of apps for kids - to keep them busy, learn Italian history and pick up some Italian words and phrases to prepare them for their trip. Just check out http://www.bestappsforkids.com/.
Snacks on the Train in Italy
Snacks are a great way to keep children energized all day long. Children are often hungry, and eating a meal every two hours will break any budget. This strategy also works for adults. Dinnertime in most European countries doesn’t begin until 8 pm, so a late afternoon snack will tide the family over until then. Make sure to pack some in your carry-on bag or your children’s backpacks.
Photo credit: Studio 37