Advice From a Travel Agent: Europe for Families

Advice From a Travel Agent: Europe for Families

Danny Genung, owner of Harr Travel, offers a few tips to consider when booking family trips to Europe By: Sean Stroh
Thanksgiving is a great time to take a trip to Europe. // © 2016 iStock
Thanksgiving is a great time to take a trip to Europe. // © 2016 iStock

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The Details

Danny Genung, owner of Harr Travel, has gained his extensive knowledge of the world from experiencing it firsthand. Genung, a former president of the Southern California chapter of the American Society of Travel Agents, has not only visited more than 100 countries and lived in Europe, but also has personally led hundreds of travelers on trips across the globe. Student travel groups and families make up a large part of Genung’s clientele, and he has several tips for travel agents booking parents and their children on trips to Europe.

Hotels may be convenient, but there are other options, such as:
Hostels and family campgrounds. There are many hostels that are specifically built for families in Europe. Clients will find many Australian and Canadian families at these hostels since they are used to traveling that way. Clients will get a different experience than they would find in a hotel. I’m not sure many people are aware that there are family campgrounds all over Europe. They are pretty amazing, especially in Italy.

Don’t get fixated on:
Any particular airline. It really comes down to the contracts that you can book and how the airline takes care of your clients — but I do prefer to use European airlines for trips to Europe.

Try booking a trip to Europe in the offseason during:
Thanksgiving. If clients can avoid traveling to Europe between late May and early September, it’s a huge advantage. Thanksgiving week is probably my favorite week to go to Europe since it’s not a European holiday. Travel in the offseason if at all possible, first and foremost.

A less expensive European vacation would be in:
The countries of Eastern Europe. Destinations such as Prague in the Czech Republic has exploded with tourists, but Slovakia and Slovenia are far less visited, and they are beautiful as well.

A place you wouldn’t expect to bring the kids but should is:
Normandy, France. Most people tend to think of it as a place for seniors or veterans, but the Caen Memorial is great for kids because they have done all the work for you. The kids are given a booklet so they can embark on a scavenger hunt throughout the museum.

When families visit Rome, they should take the kids to:
Villa Borghese gardens. One thing I love to do when I am with students in Rome is to bring them to the parks, which are completely underutilized in Europe. Villa Borghese has a cool petting zoo that the kids always like to visit.

Learn what the kids in the family enjoy so you can:
Tailor the itinerary accordingly. I had a parent whose kid was obsessed with BMX racing. So, we were able to book them for a day in Switzerland at one of the big BMX downhill shows there.