Traveling Alone With Four Boys Across Europe

I traveled Europe alone with four boys for a month. This is the breakdown of the itinerary, our favorite aspects, plus I culminate with answering everyone’s favorite question: how much does a month in Europe cost?

One Month in Europe

Over the past two weeks, I’ve shared content from my 2019 trip to Europe; I will reference these videos throughout, and you can always go to each for more insight.

Want the Full Itenerary?

Where Did We Stay?

During our European adventure with the kids, we opted for Airbnb rentals throughout our trip, except for the last night in Madrid when we decided to indulge in a stay at the Westin Palace before our flight back to the States. This choice was driven by a couple of key factors that made Airbnb the preferred option for most of our journey.

First and foremost, when traveling with a family, especially in bustling European cities, budget considerations are always at the forefront. Airbnb rentals proved to be a considerably more economical choice compared to traditional hotels.

Secondly, with the need for at least two separate rooms to accommodate our family comfortably, hotels often fell short in guaranteeing connecting or adjacent rooms.

In retrospect, our decision to go with short-term apartment rentals worked out perfectly for us. 

How Do We Travel?

We left San Francisco on Tuesday, July 23, on Air France. We flew on the A380, and I have a video showcasing the upper deck economy seats and how much space you get in the duo configuration. It had extra cubbies and a thicker side wall resembling a shelf, great for storing all of your kid’s stuff. The bathroom was directly behind the boys, which was convenient, especially for “In Air Skincare”.

I’ve flown this route four times with Air France and find it super efficient from the West Coast. This flight departs in the afternoon for a 10-hour night flight and arrives late morning in Paris, providing an entire day for exploring.

With four kids and luggage, I typically arrange a car service in and out of airports. I’m willing to navigate public transit with my kids; however, even I have limits. Plus, the Paris metro is a pickpocket mecca, so watch your stuff.

Headed to Paris

As we headed off to Paris, I marked a list of must-see places. After that I had our accommodation needs finely tuned. I had a checklist in mind: the right neighborhoods, adequate space for our party of five, the practicality of a washer and dryer, a trusty dishwasher, and, naturally, an elevator for those cumbersome suitcases. Additionally, I insisted on a kitchen with a cozy dining area – the recipe for what I thought would be the perfect Parisian stay.

The one thing I neglected was air conditioning. I had never visited Paris in the summer. Further, I believed Paris to have mild summers, but luck would have it, the week we visited Paris, it was an epic heat wave.

On July 25, Paris hit 108 degrees Fahrenheit, breaking a seventy-two-year record. Although I was surprised at how hot it was, I was so focused entirely on our trip that I was unaware of this extraordinary heat. We walked nearly three and a half miles for the copper pot at E. DEHILLERIN and groceries that day. Then we returned to the apartment and cooked hot food without air conditioning; it was miserable. I edited that entire night because I couldn’t sleep.

Lesson One: Always have air conditioning, even if a location is typically mild.

Where Did We Visit?

If you want to get more information about our time in Paris and trip to Normandy, check out the blog post linked below!

Next Stop: Madrid

On day 8, a car service returned us to the Paris Airport, and we flew 2 hours south to Madrid. With the wide variety of dining options, I spent a small fortune stocking my boys with enough to satisfy their taste buds. If you want to follow along check out the full blog post about Madrid!

Visiting Valencia

Today’s adventure took us from Madrid to Valencia by train, but it wasn’t without its share of drama. While in Valencia, I had a harrowing experience – I got robbed, and I temporarily lost track of my son, Stewart, in the midst of it all. Before the chaos unfolded, we enjoyed some time at the beach, even squeezing in an impromptu Chinese massage right there in the sand. Thankfully, the beach escapade didn’t end in theft, but it’s a place to be extra vigilant about your belongings. We also indulged in our first taste of paella by the water, although the best paella, I later discovered, awaited us in Alicante.

Note that the beach in Valencia is quite a trek from the city center, so plan accordingly. We couldn’t resist trying the renowned Gelato at La Romana Gelateria, where the menu is in Catalan, so a translator app came in handy. Our exploration also led us to Valencia Central Market to gather picnic essentials, followed by a visit to Valencia Cathedral to catch a glimpse of the Holy Grail. However, a theft at Turia Park left me without my phone or money, but it’s incredible how this setback didn’t deter our adventure with four spirited boys by my side.

On To Alicante

Alicante Spain FOOD Best churros and Beef dishes with kids. After being robbed in Valencia and disliking the distance from the city center to the beach, we switched up our plans and headed to Alicante. Moving to Alicante was the best-unplanned decision of this European trip. I rented a car and started driving south; we stopped in Xabia at La Siesta for lunch. Alicante is ancient, has excellent food, and is on the ocean.

For more information, check out the full Alicante blog post!


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Final Stop: Guadalest

We did a day trip inland from Alicante to visit the unique mountaintop village in Guadalest Spain, and the incredibly blue waters nearby. Get to Guadalest as early as possible if in the summer as it’s hot and it’s quite the climb, especially with little kids. Guadalest has local shopping, where I picked up my woven Spanish bag. Guadalest is a hidden Spanish gem that is a great day trip from Alicante. Click below to learn more!


As I reflect on our summer journey in 2019, it’s clear that our “mom and sons trip” holds a special place in our hearts. Flying from San Francisco to Paris marked the beginning of an unforgettable adventure that took us through the enchanting landscapes of France and Spain. Those weeks were filled with laughter, exploration, and the kind of bonding that only comes from experiencing the world together. It’s not just about the destinations we visited or the sights we saw, but the memories we created as a family.

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