Before packing suitcases, booking hotels and flights… even before applying for a passport… some parents stop and wonder, “will your kids enjoy a trip to Germany?”
Germany is a wonderful place for Adults to vacation, but is it worth the cost to take kids?
I agree, it is expensive.
BUT! I don’t regret spending the money for a moment. The once-in-a-lifetime experiences gained were priceless!
I can see you are still worried…. Will your kids meet other kids? Or will they feel like you are their only lifeline (well, in the case of the big kids… will they focus on Facebook and ignore the world around them).
Drop your kids into a new country, and their world will open up.
My kids aren’t terribly shy, but they aren’t massively outgoing either. They do, however, love sports, love video games, love board games, and love outdoor activities. They met kids… they made friends… they were not lonely, and they didn’t spend all their time communicating with people back home (in fact, I confiscated all phones and computer thingies upon arrival!)
Now… remember… you are dealing with kids. Touring museums, Cathedrals and Castles all day EVERY DAY will not make them happy. (And frankly, it won’t make you happy either…) Before going, decide what you REALLY want to see, then limit yourself to the “best”. I even included the kids in the planning sessions, so they felt like they had a stake in the fun. Plan in down-time. Plan in play-time.
Special Tip to Save Money– Stay in apartments or vacation cottages for a few days to a week, instead of hotels. You can cook your own meals (cheaper… and far less aggravating to kids). Also, by staying in one place for a while, you really get a chance to SEE things, and become part of the action in town.
The most memorable part of our travels came when we did activities that we couldn’t do at home. My kids STILL talk about the Rodelbahn in the Black Forest… and the Kletterpark, where they were responsible for their own safety, gave them an amazing rush. Even something as simple as going alone to a bakery to buy Broetchen is an adventure.
Take the kids to a park, and let them play. Little kids don’t seem to need language to play. The sandbox is an equalizer no matter what language you speak. A soccer ball on a field is a kid magnet… they come out of the woodwork to play. Let your kid play a hand-held video game in the public square … some kid will come watch over the shoulder, and they will communicate. And remember, many towns have a Schwimbad, swimming pool, open to the public (often they have Saunas or Spas for mommy too…)
Kids in Germany start to study English when they are 10. And they love to practice on other kids (and bonus! kids are less exacting about grammar than scary grown ups). Staying with my Aunt in a small town was wonderful, the neighborhood kids just showed up. My kids were a 9 day wonder. They got invitations to play games, go swimming, they even got an invite to play in a local soccer game. Suddenly, they were even learning German words to help things along.
When we stayed on the Moselle River, it was a Dutch Resort, yet the kids never had communication problems. The Dutch kids sought my kids out daily. They played, danced, and even sang Karaoke (my daughter singing in Dutch was HILARIOUS… but so fun).
Even cities can be kid friendly! Go off the standard Tourist path, and look for parks, playgrounds and interesting shops (my daughter could spend hours in the Gummi Bar store). If you see a local festival… join in! Promise Eis for good behavior….
Don’t worry, your kids will put down the electronics and make friends.
(Note… maybe take along some extra T-shirts or baseball caps from home… leave them with your new friends… take with you addresses to keep in touch. Who knows what that can lead to? Making new friends in other countries can only be a good thing.)
Looking for Family travel Tips? Click HERE–> Family Travel Tips
Need advice about Flying with a Baby? Click HERE–> Flying with a Baby
Read more about our Family Travels in Germany HERE–> Family Trip to Germany