Family Trip to France

Updated on March 13, 2012
M.Y. asks from Pasadena, CA
19 answers

Hi ladies. My husband has a two week work conference in France in June. His work is also paying for spouse and kids if they would like to cone along. My husband really want me and our two kids to come along. Our kids are 2 1/2 and four months and my June our daughter will be six months. I think there are more cons than pros to this trip with our two kids. First is the time difference , our kids' awake and sleep schedule will be totally out of whack and I will still be pumping breastmilk and feeding my little one in a bottle. I told my husband that I don't think I can go with him unless our kids go since I don't think I am ready to be away from them. I also can't imagine being on a 14 hour flight with two little ones. What do you ladies think and what would you do if you were me? Thanks.

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answers from Portland on

Honestly, I wouldn't go unless I could leave the kids home. You aren't going to be able to enjoy the trip with 2 really young kids. They won't remember it anyway.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

France is beautiful you should definitely go! I have a 2 year old and an 8 month old and I would take them in a heartbeat! Seriously I would do anything to go back!

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from New York on

This is so tough...a free trip to France?! Personally, I don't think I could handle a flight like that with two young child, one of whom is only 2 1/2. But you know your children. Do you nurse? Because if you do, then keeping infant occupied during the flight will be easy. The toddler may be a completely different story. No, I would not ever leave 2 young children and go without them. Once you are there it should be ok but then there is the issues of strollers and what about car seats? I think you need to give yourself a couple days to really mull it over. I LOVE France but I would sit this one out.

The people who are encouraging you mostly seemed to have had only 1 child when they went. As you know, there is a huge difference between 1 and 2!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My father planned a family trip to Paris when I was about 15 and my sister was 12. Sleeping on the plane was hard. Getting sleep the night before the trip was also hard. He had a trip to the Opera planned for a few hours after we checked into our hotel. I had a special dress bought for the occasion and was really looking forward to wearing it, but I was so exhausted and battered from the trip that as soon as we got into the room, I vomited and passed out. My parents left my sister and I behind in the room to sleep while they went to the show.

We slept for most of that first day and woke up in the middle of the night the next day. The taxis are expensive and drive pretty dang scary so we stuck to the metro system and took public transit for the majority of the trip and only took a taxi to and from the airport.

My mother nearly got pickpocketed in the metro by a toungless man trying to get his hand into her purse while she was trying to pass through a turnstyle. My father had gone through first and my mother was following him, and we her, like little ducklings when he cut in front of me to push up against my mother and try and get his hand into her purse. She must have thought it was just the crush of people so she didn't turn around but my father had turned around and saw what he was doing, reached over the style to grab him by the front of his shirt and shoved him back and away so hard he landed on his butt and slid backwards on the ground. We found out he had no tounge when he opened his mouth to hiss at us before running away.

The thought of bringing small children along with all your burdens to Paris makes me uncomfortable but then again, I didn't much like my trip to begin with. I was tired all the time and just when I was starting to get used to the time difference, it was time to fly home! The french, at least from my experience, don't like to wait in lines. So if you're polite and don't like to cut yourself, a line to a bathroom someplace could take you an hour. I remember people would just walk up to a stall they wanted, bypassing the line that was formed behind them, and hold onto the door, like they were staking claim. I really had to pee and people kept cutting in front of me until two nice English ladies stepped in front of another french cutter and loudly proclaimed, "Excuse us! The queue is back there!" And thumbed the snooty lady to the back of the line. Bravo English ladies!

I remember when we got back to the states and were trying to collect our bags from the turnstile at the airport. Two french guys were elbowing their way to the front to get their bags and my father blocked their path and said loudly, "Welcome to America, now get the f--- in line!" Two very ticked off French guys indignantly spoke to each other as they made their way to the back.

People clapped. It was awesome. To answer your question, I would wholeheartedly NOT take little babies on a 14 hour plane trip to Paris. I'm sure other parts of France are wonderful... but not Paris. If you could find someone to watch your kids and just go with your husband. Do it. In a heartbeat. There are a lot of nice things to see there but of course, a zillion other people want to see them too, so you have to worry about all those people and your two little babies. When we went to see the Eiffel tower, I felt like I was going to get pushed off while waiting for the elevator to get back down. The pushing was so bad my father had his arms around us and was pushing back into the crowd so hard so we didn't get crushed into the metal guard rails...

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I would go, but only for one week of it, leaving kids with grandma. Tell us what city and we may have more to offer you. FYI that flight is brutal for an adult! Honestly, wonderful as france is, you won't really get to enjoy it with that age group. As a tourist, in Paris, you'd be getting around on the metro. Let me tell you there were many times I was happy I smuggled my mace in my luggage. Once we got off on a wrong stop and found ourselves in the middle of the red light district. Your husband will be free in the evenings I presume and you could tool around instead of putting babies to bed and stuck in your hotel room. Yes, go, leave kids and shorten your part of the trip to lessen your mamma guilt and so you don't miss your kiddos so bad. As a mom of two who has done some European traveling (before kids), my advice is, if its all or nothing, bring the kids or stay, I'd stay home and cry a few bitter tears of disappointment. Which will be far fewer tears than what you will cry traveling overseas with little babies.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I think I'd rather chew my own arm off and beat myself with it!

(Seriously, no WAY would I go with a 2.5 yo and a 6 month old!)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

GO ... GO ... Go ... on an adventure!

(Sorry; WAY too much "The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That" in my house these days ;+} )

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Go! You will survive, don't worry. I fled with DS, age 34 mons from Indonesia to US, total we spent 52 hours along the way( because delayed flights). It wasn't as hard as I thought.
What I did before we go:
Making sure your daughter is familiar with plane safety seatbelt.
Do check ups at doctors, and ask some preventive medicine( fever, cough, allergy,cold,motion sickness, diarrhea)
Check their ears, just in case they have wax buildup. I did, and also found he had sinusitis. I was given medicine to " calm" the sinusitis and he slept well along the way.
Bring some familiar snacks and meal, as long as the kids well fed, you are okay.
Bring favourite toy and pacifier to suck if the ear is in pain.

Don't worry! You will survive! Just go! A dear friend also fly alone with her 2 year old, and she made it! Even though she couldn't speak English well and she only booked one seat for both of them, she survived. She said that people in the airport is very friendly to the family with kids, she was helped along the way. So go!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

This is a tough one. But the very fact you're asking the question indicates you're pretty ambivalent about doing this with the kids along, and your gut tells you that you and they are not going to do well with a separation if you go alone.

Here's some food for thought:

We travel to England every year and have done it since our daughter was six months old, so I've done this repeatedly with an infant and with a toddler -- though not simultaneously. BUT: We had only one child. We stayed in a full-fledged apartment with plenty of room and our own kitchen, not in a hotel. We were able to eat what and when we liked, thanks to having a kitchen, so we were not tied to restaurants' hours (which can be quite different in other countries -- I still get frustrated with many English restaurants not starting dinner service until 7:00 p.m.! ). We were able to get our baby to bed on her schedule, without the noise of next-door hotel "neighbors." And so on.

You see where I'm going. I think if it were me, with children these ages, I would not do it despite the free trip. With one toddler or one infant, fine, but with with both it will be difficult. And your husband will be working during the day at least, so if you think you're going to sightsee alone during the day, well, that is definitely doable -- and Europeans do love kids so they'd be cooing over the little ones -- but you will have to have expectations that your daytime sightseeing would be at a very, very limited pace and would have to include naps etc. (An infant can just nap in a stroller but a toddler needs a quiet, regular place to be for a nap.)

Also, if this is a work conference, won't your husband really be expected to spend at least some evenings at conference-related social events? Networking? Working breakfasts, even? It's great that his company is offering to fly over spouses and kids -- in fact, in this economy, it's flat-out amazing that they are offering that -- but will you spend much time with him, other than when you see each other briefly at night? Just something to check on. If he truly would have tons of free time while there (again, not something I'd expect of a work trip) that's different. But you need to know very realistically whether you would really enjoy this or just be extremely exhausted by it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Go you may never get the chance again. It is being paid for. Even if you just walk around the parks there, do a bit of shopping and just enjoy the
scenery, it will be worth it. So the flight might be a bit tough, but you will
survive!!!! Kids are pretty incredible and adjust to changes well. Even if you have to spend a day getting them back on a schedule, you still have
two weeks!!!! OMG what I would give for that. Have fun!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

O*M*G*!!!! You would not have to ask me twice!!!! I LOVE Paris!!! (though not sure if you are going there). We were there in June and it was amazing. The food is delish, the scenery is beautiful, and the French are nice. My husband and I have been talking about going this summer with the kids. Mine are older so I know it is easier, BUT that would not stop me. My daughter had been on 14 plane rides by the time she was 2 and I pumped and nursed. Yes, it will be challenging and frustrating at times, but isn't it like that sometimes at home anyway.

My kids have always slept on planes. After take off, they are out. So, you really don't know what to expect from your kids unless you try. Yes, your kid are young, but you will have your husband to assist with them on the flight. Just plan ahead and have snacks, activities and new toys to keep your 2.5 yr old from getting bored. I go to the dollar store before travel so that way if the kids lose somthing, it doesn't matter plus they get excited by toys they've never seen before.

GO GO GO!!! Have fun!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would GO!! While I get your concerns!!! REALLY !! GO!!!

The flight is direct from LAX to Charles DeGaul? I thought they did a lay over in JFK or something like that!

Kids are a lot better at adapting then adults!! When we went to Belgium with my daughter was 3 at the time - she was FINE!! And we didn't have portable DVD players!! She slept for most of the flight as they usually have you leave at night and get there in the AM.

Don't say no!! Check into the flights!! GO!!! Paris is BEAUTIFUL in June!!! OH MY WORD!! There is sooo much to do and see!! GO!! GO!! GO!!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

We have been to France a few times.
From Hawaii, it is a Long flight... 24 hours or so, with layovers.
My daughter, at 7 years old, needed to sleep a lot, once she got there.
She was real tired... and took a few days to adjust to the time difference.

With a toddler and baby... who is nursing and you pumping... you have to consider that. Will you still be pumping on the plane, for example? And if so will you be comfortable pumping, on a plane? And have all your pumping gear with you.
Or just direct nursing?

Then car seats/strollers?

Look at about traveling tips and what you can/cannot carry- on board etc.

I would not leave, your kids for 2 weeks.
Also because you are nursing. And if you are gone for 2 weeks, your breasts will get engorged... and maybe dwindle your milk output.

If you go, make sure you have vaccinations in place and their shot records/medical info, with you on the trip.
The baby obviously will not have all her shots by then.

Kids that young, will NOT remember anything about it going to France.

But sure, it is a free trip for you all.
Where in France, is this??? South or North?
Also, is the company providing hotel lodging????

June is a high season for travel to Europe.
Summer time.

Having a toddler or baby in your lap, for 14 hour flight, is hard.

Again, kids will not remember this trip.
But it is a free trip...and you/Hubby would enjoy it... when he is not in a conference and busy.
What will you do, while he is in the conference all day and what is his schedule?
Are you the type... that WILL enjoy, being by yourself with a toddler and baby.... in France and go out by yourselves??? While Hubby is in the conference?
Because to me, THAT Is also a key point.
Will you be comfortable... out on your own with a Toddler and baby.... while pushing a stroller and with baby bags and baby gear.... and holding the toddlers hand at the same time... while out and about?
**Also, public bathrooms... are not easy to come by, in Paris. Or in France for that matter. It is not like the USA.
And, per hotels, only guests can walk in and out of hotels. It is not just anyone. Unlike in Hawaii even.

You did not say you are going to Paris... or some other city.
Each city in France, is very different.

There are also a lot of pick-pockets, in Paris.

People love France. But it is mostly adults or older Teens that do so.

IF you go on this trip.... with the toddler and baby.... YOU will be the one who will be with the kids MOST of the time... being your Husband will be away at a Conference.
AND thus, sight seeing with "Him" will be limited.
AND, museums and sites... have their hours too. Some are closed on certain days/hours/lunch time. For example.
You have to research, where you want to go and when.... around your Husband's conference, schedule.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I just posted about going to Disney but I think my daughter and I will just sneak into your suitcases and just go with you!!!!!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on


Especially since they are being kind enough to pay. Maybe you could find someone who could come and help you with the trip. The money you are saving on not paying for the flight alone would make it worth it.

The sleep schedule would be the only down fall. It will be hard for the first few days....But it is not a huge deal to stay a bit more on homes schedule....So you are eating meals at odd times but there is wiggle room.........This is coming from a mom that has never had her kid out of their time zone so this may not be the best advice.

There is so much that you as a person should see though and a free trip does not come around all the time.

the kids wont remember it in memory....but you could give them some pretty cool picture's to go back to and ''imagine'' with once they are older...and that will be even more real because they are in the photo's.

Go. You deserve it:) It will be stressful. But it is only two weeks:)

My Cousin lives in France and comes over here with her four kids yearly......She has done this for years......To think of all the time spent on a place:)...Make sure you bring plenty for the oldest to do in flight!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

You should do it. Just expect that you will be insanely tired and think to yourself, I will slog through it! Plan to walk a lot up and down the aisle with the 2 year old (or your husband), and bring movies, activities, books to read to him/her. Think of the plane as just hanging out in a small room all day. Then you get 2 weeks in France! Totally awesome. Food, history, architecture, museums, a beautiful city to walk around in with the kids. I hope you go!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

Do it. Just because your routines will be out of wack for a month is no reason to not go. There will be time to see many of the sights that everyone wants to see. This trip is a godsend you are not paying for the hotel, planefares.

Go down and get the paperwork done for the passports and the shots if they are required (been a long time since I have been to Europe) and a French/English, English/French dictionary. Pack up regular summer clothes and a couple of sweaters and GO! The weather at this time of year is in the lower to midl 80s.

Take pictures of the Left Bank, Notre Dame, Eifel Tower, and go to the Louve Museum. Look at the beautiful pictures on the walls done by the old masters. Look at the ceilings of the Louve for more beautiful work. Get some food and go for a picnic and watch the people go by for entertainment.

You are passing up a lifetime chance that many people would give their eye teeth for including me to see Europe. A little culture hasn't hurt anyone yet.

Do reconsider and go.

The other S.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Traveling with small kids is hell. I've traveled to Ireland twice with small children. First time my daughter was 13 months, second time I had a 24 month old and an almost 4 year old. They do not sleep on the plane. The flight over this past time was literally worse than laboring with my son. I am not joking. How does your 2.5 year old sleep?

Some people travel easily with their kids, from the start. Some kids are use to it. For those of us not use to long flights: HELL.

With that said, GO. Take the kids. Immediately get on their time schedule. This means not really letting them nap a whole lot on the day you arrive. It's hard, but the sooner you get on the new time, the sooner things go back to normal.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

Are you kidding????GO ....(take the kids) they will adjust will be fun:)

1 mom found this helpful
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