Italy, Lifestyle, Little Kids, travel, Traveling With Kids, Venice

Travel To Venice With Your Little Kids

Traveling to Venice With Little KidsVenice is the ideal vacation spot for lovers and honeymooners. It is probably on every couple’s travel bucket list. Who wouldn’t want to be serenaded in a gondola under the night sky?

So now you have the money and the time to go to Italy. But you’re already past your 20s. You’re a mom or dad in your 30s or 40s and you have little kids. Do you fulfill your travel dreams or do you wait until the kids are older?

I am telling you right now that traveling with small children can be difficult, but not impossible. Here’s the good news: you can enjoy the beauty of this enchanting sinking city with your little ones! It is not going to be romantic but it can still be very exciting!  Allow me to share some tips on how to make the most out of your Venice trip with your little kids.

Go during the low season for Venice travel.

If you have been following my blog for a while, you will know that we are an expat family living in Siena, Italy. Venice in the winter can be amazing! February is Carnevale month, and many tourists flock to Venice to enjoy the fun and festivities. Since we did not want to contend with the peak season crowd, we decided to visit Venice a couple of days after the major celebrations. Sure, we missed all the parades and floats, but we did not mind since we were still able to see the Venetian masks on display.  I encourage you to go during the low season to save money and to avoid the crowd.

Venetian Masks on DisplayVenetian Dottore MasksLeon Chasing Pigeons

 Pack like a pro…and nurse on the go.

It is a good idea to put everything you need in one bag.  A versatile and ergonomic backpack is a travel must-have.We used my husband’s Kelty Redwing backpack for all our personal belongings and documents, including the baby stuff (diapers, wipes, clothes, snacks, water, etc.). I know that is close to impossible when you have a baby and a toddler but we had to do our best to bring only the essentials. If you are a nursing mom like me, just bring your nursing cover (if you use one) and skip the bottles and accessories. Just nurse on the go.

We also brought our Ergobaby carrier to carry Lucas around and our Brevi stroller for Leon. Also, bring a stroller organizer with a detachable wristlet like the Merry Milestones stroller organizer. We used the stroller on the day of our check-in and on the first day of our tour. The next day, however, we decided to leave the stroller at the hotel because Venice has plenty of bridges and stairways. Personally, it is good to have a lightweight stroller like the Brevi stroller, but once you are at your hotel, I would advise you to just leave your stroller there.

Travel with a friend who is good with kids.

I am so grateful that my husband’s buddy joined us on our trip. An extra set of hands is a huge blessing!  He was the official “juice carrier” and “snack bae” at one point. He was also the “official family photographer”! I returned the favor by taking his pictures as well.

Bellissimamma, Lucas, Babbo, and Leon

Take the train.

If you are already coming from Italy, it is best to take the train! We took the train from Florence to Venice. Check the Italotren’s website for information on how to get to Venice from your current location. You will love the Florence train station because there are coffee shops, snack bars, restaurants, and stores everywhere. It is common to pay to use public restrooms in Italy. It costs 1 euro to use the train station’s restroom. You can also use the restrooms inside restaurants if you are a customer.

Italotren has comfortable seats, vending machines, restrooms and free Wifi. It is not uncommon for trains to be late in Italy, so just go with the flow and maybe have some coffee at the standing bar while waiting.

Day 16: Play #familyfunfeb #travelingwithkids #granadventure @drpuneetsekhon @okokami

A post shared by Bellissimamma (@thebellissimamma) on

 

Book accommodations near the Grand Canal.

Venice

I recommend Romantic House at Calle dela Lona Onesta, Cannaregio. On the outside, it looks like a typical ancient-looking Italian building. But you will be pleasantly surprised to see that the interior is new and very modern.  It is fully-furnished (flat-screen TV, refrigerator, dishwasher, bathroom and kitchen supplies). It has free Wi-Fi too! It is close to the Grand Canal, Piazza S. Marco, and Ponte Rialto. Remember to bring your TRAVEL DOCUMENTS (e.g. passports, residence cards) because you need to present them upon checking in.

Cannaregio is a busy street with lots of souvenir shops and restaurants. It is also within walking distance from the deck where you rent a Gondola. St. Mark’s Basilica is a half kilometer away. The Ca’ d’ Oro station is only 0.2 kilometers away, while the Venice Santa Lucia Train Station is only 1.1 kilometers away. The COOP supermarket is also within the vicinity.

You can really have a comfortable stay at The Romantic House. I think the best part of my vacation was taking a nice, warm shower while my husband and our friend looked after the kids! By the way, there are decorative pieces such as vases and figurines inside the vacation home, so it is best to put those things in a safe place away from active babies and toddlers.

Eat at family-friendly restaurants.

You can enjoy a decent lunch at Tappa Obbligatoria, which was located on Sestiere Cannaregioa street near our hotel. The server was very accommodating. You can choose to get a table inside the restaurant so the kids will be more comfortable. My toddler enjoyed his Pasta Carbonara, and he finished his plate! I also recommend their Pizza Margherita. My husband and his friend both had beers. They also have a menu option that already includes coffee.

Espresso

The next morning we had an early lunch at Burger King. Please do not judge me for eating fast food. Leon loves chicken nuggets and it has been ages since I had a Whopper Burger and Onion Rings. They had high chairs and a restroom, which you can use only if you are a customer. The restroom can be improved if it were cleaner.

Go With The Flow.

Did we get to ride a gondola? No, we didn’t, it was raining on the day we were supposed to go. But, it is okay. We just took a stroll in the piazza and enjoyed the picturesque views. Did we go out for late night drinks at the Venice Jazz Club? No, we just bought our own prosecco and cheese from Coop and “wined and dined” at the vacation home.  The key to a successful vacation with your little kids is to not “sweat the small stuff” and to keep the bucket list short. For us, it is enough to visit The Grand Canal, The Rialto, and San Marco for our weekend trip. Leon chased some pigeons, and that already made his day. We are definitely going back to experience more things in the city, and maybe finally get to ride the gondola!

Venice in the RainLeon and Babbo (Venice, Italy)

 

It is not easy being a parent, and you are doing a great job even if things don’t go out the way you planned. Someday your babies will get older and you will get to more fun things and activities that you can manage. Just enjoy the moments that you have with your children while they are still young.

Tired but fulfilled!

 

Have you ever been to Venice? Any tips on traveling with small children? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!


Read Next: 14 Tips for Disneyland First-timers

Lucy At Home

Lifestyle, Little Kids, travel, Traveling With Kids

14 Tips for Disneyland First-timers

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Disneyland Tips

Traveling in Disneyland for the first time? This article talks about why you should visit a Walt Disney Park or Resort and what you should do to make sure that you and your family will have a wonderful experience in Disneyland.

Why is Disneyland the happiest place on earth?

  1. It brings out the kid in you.

 

 

Nobody’s ever too old for Disneyland, and that’s why it holds such a special place in my heart! Seeing ‘It’s a Small World’ and eating Mickey Mouse-shaped ice cream with my family was a huge part of my childhood. Now that I’m older, I still feel giddy inside whenever I visit the theme park!” – Hershey (Disneyland Hong Kong)

 

“I have an excuse to be seven years old again!”- Rhea (Hong Kong Disneyland)

 

“Disney really caters to nostalgia and makes sure all the characters you grew up with come to life.” –Elika, Disney World Orlando

2. You get to meet your beloved Disney characters.

 

“My girls get to meet and hug their favorite princesses! And me too! I get a bit starstruck.”- Pauline (Disneyland California)

 

Ren and Rye with Mickey and Minnie (Disney World Orlando)

 

“Lizzie was over the moon with the all the characters! In Orlando, Hollywood Studios has the most for small kids, but they are growing the Star Wars area so something to look forward to!”- Joyce

 

Kelly and her kids goofin’ around with Goofy (Disneyland Hong Kong)

3. There is something to make everyone smile!

 

Ezekiel and Nerissa at Disney World Orlando

 

Karen and her family took surfing lessons at Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando, Florida.

 

Keisha and her kids

 

Where are the Disney Parks and Resorts located around the world?

Click here to see the complete list of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Check out these Disney Park photos around the world:

  1. Disneyland Hong Kong

“It was our first family trip. Its the happiest place on earth because you get to enjoy like kids. Be carefree, be silly.” -Mariel

 

2. Tokyo Disneyland

“Tokyo Disneyland is a classic place. It doesn’t have a grand entrance like the one in America and Hongkong that I’ve been to, where big Mickey face is there to welcome you! But the hospitality and humility of the Japanese people here and in DisneySea made me feel more than welcome here and what make these places as the “Happiest place in Japan 🇯🇵”- Ana

3. Disney Sea Tokyo

“Disneyland/DisneySea are the happiest places on earth because you get to make a lot of “firsts” with your little ones, and experience fun adventures. No matter how many times you’ve been in these places, the memories are always happy and different. 😊”- Shaina

 

“Tokyo DisneySea has some similar rides to Disneyland but themed differently and it’s different from any other Disney Park in the world. Many rides have a spooky theme and the intensity of the rides are generally designed for the older kids. One of the beauties of DisneySea that I like is its “little Venice Italy” part.”- Ana

4. Disneyland (Anaheim, California)

Tinuke and her family

5. Disney World’s Magic Kingdom (Orlando, Florida)

 

“I love seeing the amazement on my kids’ faces whenever they see their favorite Disney characters come alive. I feel like their childhood is incomplete without visiting Disney World.”- Cyrene

6. EPCOT Center (Orlando, Florida)

“Our first time and our first vacation as a family of four!”- Sara

7. Disneyland Shanghai

Nexplorer Travel and Tours

14 Disneyland Travel Tips for First-Timers

I compiled a list of traveler tips from certified Disney lovers! (Thank you Aja, Mariel, Elika, Hershey, Sara, Keisha, Tinuke, Celeste, Joyce, Charlaine, Chris, Tim, Ana, Pauline, Rhea, Shaina, Kelly, Ingrid, Abi, Karen, Cyrene, and Drew for sharing your photos and tips!)

Before you go:

Download the official Disneyland app.

You can buy tickets, see wait times, browse maps, locate Disney characters, and much more.

Save, save and save…and prepare to spend, spend, spend!

Be ready to spend inside the park! Don’t be that person who keeps computing the currency exchange. Just enjoy it! You can always earn money later on, but moments can pass you by. Allot money for gifts, character dining, and so forth. Food can be pricey. To save money, you can eat outside the park before going in (e.g. there are food trucks outside the Disney arc in Hong Kong). To save a bit of money on food, we get the ones with huge portions to share.

Buy tickets online (e.g. Klook) or via hotel for discounts.

Ideally do not go there on peak dates. Visit the park on a weekday. Fewer people more fun. If you love team “long wait and long queue” then one of the recommended days to go there is Christmas Day! Drew recommends going there during the Christmas season because it is definitely more festive… 2x the happiness guaranteed! If you are going in the summer, prepare for changing weather and crowds. If you are going in the winter, prepare for ticketed events especially in Magic Kingdom, which makes the parks close a little early. 

 

Get (at least) a two-day pass. 

For first-timers, buy at least a two-day pass because one day is never enough. Buy the tickets together in advance so you don’t end up paying full price for both days. Go two or even three days in a row without doing full days, so that the kiddos are not too exhausted or fussy – and the parents won’t be too tired either!

 Book your stay at a Disney Hotel or one of the partner hotels close to the park. 

Stay at a hotel closer to the park or at Disney Resort if you intend to go to the park for more than one day it will be much more convenient. Visiting a Disney Park/ Resort can be tiring so you really want to minimize travel time between the park (e.g. Tokyo Disneyland) and your accommodation, particularly if you need afternoon naps or if you want to rest before heading out for night-time adventures. BUT if you want to save money, book your hotel reservations outside Disneyworld. You get the same 5 star feel with almost half the price. $150/ night at Hyatt vs $300/ night at a Disney hotel (in Orlando).

Plan in advance. 

For instance, there are four parks in Florida, have a plan on which to go. Disney World in Orlando, Florida consists of four parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Plan out your annual passes and set up fast passes (to avoid waiting in line) which are available in your MyDisneyExperience app. The fast passes are worth every penny! Plan your restaurant reservations early as well as they fill up fast on time slots. Plot times for shows and parades in advance, to get good viewing spots — including the fireworks!  Stay for the fireworks display or the electric light parade, it is worth it.

 

(c) Chris Clemente at Hong Kong Disneyland

Set the stage.

Show Disney videos to your children so they can be familiarized with the names of the Disney characters. It makes it more exciting for them when they meet the movie characters in real life!

 

On the Day of Your Trip:

Wear the right clothes, and bring some extra ones! 

Wear light clothing in the summer as it can be very hot. Bring extra clothes for when you get wet in some of the rides (e.g. Splash Mountain)! 

Wear comfortable shoes.

There will be plenty of walking. Go to the farthest part of the park first and work your way back to the entrance to avoid the crowd.

Put ID tags on your children in case they get lost.

Also, teach your kids what they should do if they get lost.

Bring a water bottle and lots of snacks. 

Guests are allowed to bring food items—such as snacks or foods that do not require heating—into Disney theme parks.  Bring your own water bottles, it will save you $5 in drinks.

Get there early.

Arrive at least 30 minutes before gates open to avoid the crowd. 

Hit the most popular rides first (in the morning) to avoid the long queues later in the day.

If you are in Disneyland California, ride the Yellow Submarine and the ship because you cannot find them in Hong Kong Disneyland.

And most of all… Have fun and enjoy! Disneyland is the happiest place on earth.

You get to make a lot of “firsts” with your little ones and experience fun adventures. No matter how many times you’ve been in these places, the memories are always happy and different.

Have you been to a Disney Park/ Resort? Share your travel tips in the comments section!

Read Next: My family went to see some real towers and castles:  A Day Trip To San Gimignano, Italy



Lucy At Home

Lifestyle, Little Kids, restaurants, travel, Traveling With Kids

A Dinner Date (With the Kids): Bar La Favorita Siena

16 febbraio 2018

A Dinner Date at Bar La Favorita Siena

Last night, my whole family (hubby, Leon, and Lucas) went on a post-Valentine’s dinner date at Bar La Favorita Siena. This was a big deal for us because it is NOT EASY to go to a fancy date place when you have two kids under the age of three. We almost did not get to go because hubby was so tired from work and Leon was being moody as usual- but I persisted because I know that we needed this.

We made the right decision to go. First of all, Leon slept in his stroller the whole time we were there. Lucas was just happy to eat his bread and tomatoes. The staff of Bar La Favorita Siena, Italy was so accommodating- the server immediately offered an alta seda (high chair) and arranged our table to fit the passegino (stroller). I was surprised that everything was going so well. Normally, Leon would be throwing a fit and Lucas would be crying, but tonight was different.  My husband and I were like, “Oh my gosh, this is a very special moment. Let’s make the most out of it.”

So we spent the next hour and a half enjoying our food and actually talking to one another. It was a great night and we were so happy and satisfied after our date.

The Food (Buon Appetito)

Pappa Al Pomodoro
Pizza Cipolla e Salsiccia
Cacio e Pepe Pasta

 

Steak

 

The food was delicious! I am telling you, food in Italy is just 100 times better. The food pictures do not do justice. Also, as you can tell, I had a bit of wine. Just a little bit since I am breastfeeding.

By the way, we also celebrated Lucas’s 9th month! He is already eating solid food and he loved the Pappa al Pomodoro! I’d better learn how to make this at home.

Thank you for reading my post! I would love to hear how you spent your Valentine’s day with your family! If you have tips on how to go out with little ones, please share them in the comments.

 


Read Next: Walk Back In Time: Siena, Tuscany

Lucy At Home