Six ways to holiday in Europe with children without going broke

Travelling round Europe and visiting attractions in major cities is expensive, especially with children. Here are some tips to help you see the sights without breaking the bank

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 September, 2017, 7:01pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 September, 2017, 7:00pm

Visiting Europe with children is like taking them back through time. Depending on where you travel, they could see sites and landmarks they may discuss in school, and all while on a holiday where learning is more fun.

However, planning a trip to Europe with children that’s both educational and fun isn’t cheap.

Not only do you have to fork out for international flights, but you have to pay for entry into attractions you deem worthy, plus food, transport and lodging.

If you’re aiming for a family trip to Europe and want to save on the many expenses you’ll face, here are six tips that can help:

1. Skip the hotel and avoid dual hotel rooms

Many traditional hotels in Europe create quite the conundrum for families with more than two members. Since fire codes limit many properties to just two people per room, families often need to book two rooms or a (expensive) family suite, if that’s even available.

That’s why rental condos are a must for families in Europe. You can always try Airbnb, but there are plenty of localised rental agencies that can set you up as well. With a website such as, for example, you can book a Paris condo from a reputable rental agency (not an individual owner) that has bedrooms for the kids and a large living area where everyone can relax.

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2. Eat out just once per day

Dining out is easily one of the most expensive components of any trip, near or far. But when you have your entire family with you, the expense can easily double or triple.

To save money on food, try dining out for one meal per day and eating the rest at “home”. Obviously, this is a much easier feat if you have a rental condo with a kitchen instead of a hotel room.

3. Travel by train

You can zip across Europe easily and cheaply due to the network of high-speed trains.

With children in tow, train travel is especially convenient. It costs a fraction of flying, and you don’t have to deal with airport security drama.

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4. Don’t over plan

While you may feel tempted to pack your days and nights with sightseeing, having children with you offers the perfect excuse to slow things down.

Instead, plan one big “thing” to do each day and go with the flow the rest of the time.

Not only will this help your kids avoid sightseeing burnout, it will also save you money. The last thing you want to do is pay (or overpay) for attractions and events the little ones are too crabby or tired to enjoy.

5. Take advantage of free activities

Especially in Europe’s big cities, you’ll find plenty of free and cheap things to do. Look for city parks and little touristy attractions that will keep your children entertained for hours for very little expense.

A small city carnival, a city parade or even a busy waterfront can give them a place to play while the parents relax and take in the view.

6. Consider city passes

If you’re planning a big sightseeing trip in some of Europe’s biggest cities, a city pass can help you pack in more while helping you save. These passes bundle entry into several different attractions for a single price.

For example, the Rome Pass (Roma Pass) offers admission to two of six important historical sites along with fast track entry when applicable. You also get discounted entry into 30 other important sites in Rome. Most people use their Roma Pass to see the Colosseum and the Roman Forum (counts as one entry if you go the same day) and one of the other popular sites included such as the Galleria Borghese.

The card also comes with free bus and train travel around the city while it’s active.