Part 3: Where did our Experts go?

Try something different - try Malta

Mark Debattista of Malta certainly convinces us that Malta is a destination worth penciling in:

"The tiny island-nation of Malta, right in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea is a great place to take a vacation, especially if you're a single parent traveling with your children, as crime is notably low and the whole nation is child-centric. On arrival, Malta airport is very small and child-friendly with changing facilities in the arrival and departure halls. The layout of the entire airport is over two levels, so there aren't miles of corridors to navigate with tired little-ones in tow.

The best places to stay when vacationing alone with children are either Mellieha or Bugibba/Qawra and in these two resorts, there is a lot to keep busy little minds occupied.

Mellieha is home to the largest sandy bay in Malta, and the sea is clear and shallow, with a sandy bottom - ideal for children. Mellieha bay has full beach facilities, restrooms and a good number of kiosks serving drinks and food. There are plenty of kayaks, pedal-boats and inflatable rides for hire, so that should keep the older kids happy, even if younger children are content to build sandcastles. The hotel by the beach - The Seabank - has a themed restaurant with play areas and indoor and outdoor pools and can provide child-sitting services if needed, and has a kids-club.

The Bugibba/Qawra area is Malta's largest holiday resort, but lacks a natural sandy beach, and swimming is off rocks or a man-made beach. However, all hotels here have pools and are very child-friendly with kids-clubs providing animation and entertainment. The resort has a number of playgrounds, McDonalds, an arcade with children's games and a few fairground rides on the shore. There is also a long promenade which is ideal if you have a baby or toddler in a pushchair."

Stay in A Farmhouse - now wouldn�t the kids love that!

Pauline Kenny of Slow Europe, also believes that we don�t necessarily need to stay in a hotel:

"Taking your child/ren on a trip to Europe is a great way to help them learn more about the world, but staying in hotels and going from city to city is not the only way to travel. Instead, consider spending a week in an apartment or house in the countryside.

"Vacation rentals, also called villas or holiday cottages, are fully equipped apartments or houses that you rent by the week. This type of accommodation has been popular in Europe for decades. Many vacation rentals are on farms in rural locations. Typically a farm has two or more vacation rentals with outside areas for children to play and a shared swimming pool. This type of accommodation is great for kids. The parent has the added benefit of other families nearby and the farm owners to help with local information.

Most European countries have government programs encouraging farmers to offer accommodations and provide websites where you can book farm stays. In the United Kingdom - Farm Stay UK, in France - Gites de France and in Italy Agriturismo.

"You can look beyond the official farm stay websites. Many farms have their own websites. Local agencies and agencies based in the US can also help you find farm accommodations."

Traveling Alone with a Teenage Girl

Terri Fogarty of Europe up Close offers three wise tips following her experiences traveling with her teenage granddaughter:

"I took my granddaughter, Kate, to Paris when she was in the 8th grade. It was a wonderful trip for both of us and from that experience; I can offer these tips on traveling with a teenage girl.

Don�t try to show her everything on this one trip.

The idea is to get her excited about traveling to distant places and experiencing foreign cultures. Whet her appetite and she will want to return.

Let her eat whatever she wants.

We ate in French restaurants and I ordered interesting dishes for myself that she could taste. She ordered hamburgers and coke at first, but as the week progressed she tried some new foods. We had a latte every morning at a Starbucks, but never went to McDonalds.

Make time for shopping.

We walked the streets of Paris and, of course, did go to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the D�Orsay and many other important Paris sights. But every day we had to shop; just an hour or two and Kate was ready for another museum.

And, be sure to just have fun!"


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