Hint Mama

Note from Hint Mama: We’re still bringing our big stroller with us when we travel, but I know the day will come when my daughter will be too big for a stroller. When that day comes, I’m going to try out this brilliant trick from Eileen Gunn, founder of family travel site FamiliesGo!

What do you do when your kids are too big for a stroller but still too small for the amount of walking that comes with a city vacation?

Today’s hint is to try a scooter! We took our Mini Micro Kick on this summer’s trip to Paris, following the advice of a friend whose 4 and 6-year-old kids used scooters during a trip to London.

It was a life saver. On any given day we might explore two or three neighborhoods and cover a couple of miles on foot seeing the city (or looking for a metro station). As long as my 6-year-old daughter could scoot, we had not one complaint out of her. Plus, without the scooter we would have taken the metro a lot more (which can add up) and seen a lot less.

Here are three tips for a scooter vacation:

 1. Buy or Pack: Your Choice. I thought about buying a cheap scooter in Paris and leaving it there, but I didn’t want to spend my first few days in a city I didn’t know scouting for a toy store.

So, I decided to pack our scooter. I took our Mini Micro Kick apart and laid it in the bottom of my suitcase. Then I wedged in the helmet in (you can pack small items in the helmet to save space).

While having the scooter was more than worth it, it did make my suitcase heavy. If we were staying longer, if I knew the city, or if we were staying with friends or family, I would have bought a cheap scooter when I got to our destination.

At Baby Chic NY in New York City, you can rent a Mini Micro Kick for $35 a week. Wish this service was available in more cities!

2. Choose Your Scooter. I love the Micro Kick Scooters because they have two front wheels and kids steer by leaning the handlebar from side to side rather than turning it. The scooters are stable and intuitive, and kids as young as 3 get the hang of them pretty easily. They’re also compact enough to carry on subways, check at museums or tuck under the table at restaurants.

If you don’t want to pay what these Swiss-designed scooters cost just for a vacation, you can find less expensive scooters at stores like Target.

For kids younger than 7 or so, stay away from two-wheeled scooters and three-wheelers with a single front wheel unless your child already knows how to use them. They require more balance and steering and have a frustrating learning curve. Skinned knees definitely put a crimp in a vacation.

Scooters that fold are even more compact than the Micro Kicks, but some of the metal ones are surprisingly heavy.

3. Make Sure Your Kid Knows the Rules. As a city kid, my daughter has spent several years scooting to pre-K, school, summer camp and all around our hood. She knows to stop before the corners, stay close crossing streets and not race too far ahead on crowded sidewalks. And we know she has pretty good scooting stamina.

If your child isn’t an experienced scooter rider, the above are good rules to have. And I’d recommend spending a few minutes practicing them before heading out on your adventure.

Have you brought a scooter on your vacation? What are your tips?

Eileen Gunn is the founder of FamiliesGo!, a website that helps parents plan better family vacations more easily. She’s a veteran journalist, fearless traveler and mom of one. Her hotel-loving 6-year-old has been out of the country nine times (plus 2 in utero), taken 2 cruises, boarded several planes and taken a bunch of car trips. You can follow Eileen on Pinterest or Twitter.

Photo credit: FamiliesGo!

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