5 Must-Know Things Batman Can Teach You About Family Travel

1. Choose a Sidekick – something or someone to back you up in tough times

Batman has Robin to back him up in tough times.

Batman and his sidekick Robin (image: comicsalliance)

Batman and his sidekick Robin (image: comicsalliance)

Here are Access Riviera’s tips for getting the best from your back-up plan:

Travel tech

Use a private window when booking flights online so airfare search engines don’t remember you and bump up prices.

If you forget your USB plug, charge devices through the USB on a television.

Try sites such as www.free-hotspot.com to locate hotspots, and services such as Tunnelbear, ComfortWay or Tep Wireless when travelling.


GateGuru is an awesome app that gives information on airport facilities, security line wait lines and flight delays.

(image: Gate Guru)

(image: Gate Guru)

Use TripIt or TripCase to consolidate your itineraries..  I still take hard copes of my itineraries with me (I know!), but these apps are helpful so you can still access all your itinerary information when you are without internet.

TrailWallet for expense tracking and budgeting help with your travel costs.

I’d be lying if I said translation apps are a waste of time. I highly recommend TripLingo – it has basic survival phrases, flash card lessons for language learning, a slang tool, a tip calculator, currency convertor and cultural tips.

(image: TripLingo)

(image: TripLingo)

Another one of my favourites – Word Lens – for translating signs, has transitioned over to Google Translate. There’s still a few hiccups with the voice recognition translation, and also some formats (it doesn’t recognise handwritten text) but it’s still handy to have.

Offline tips

Turn your phone to airplane mode and turn off data to use GPS without internet. Load up your Google map before leaving your accommodation and you can use it to navigate at your destination. To use Google maps offline, type ‘OK Maps’ and the visible area will save for future reference.

Sometimes if you’re at a location (e.g a cafeteria) with free Wifi, they can be annoyed if you don’t purchase something. I usually buy a coffee at a minimum out of courtesy, but if you’re really on a budget sometimes a location’s Wifi password may be on FourSquare.

2.  Source advice – research all the information you need, or have someone available who knows already

Batman has Alfred Pennyworth for advice.

There are many options you can use yourself to source advice prior to a trip with your family:

  • Forums such as Virtual Tourist, Lonely Planet, Frommers and Fodors are helpful for destination advice
  • Internet reviews for specific companies using Trustpilot for reviews
  • Social media channels showcase cool new products and keep you updated with travel blogs
  • TripAdvisor is user-friendly for destination-specific reviews. I like TripAdvisor because you get a broad spectrum of reviewers from across the globe
  • Travel agents and tourist boards

Reference websites such as:

Wanderant is an easy-to-use trip planner for help creating custom itineraries and suggestions on things to do at each destination

(image: Wanderant)

(image: Wanderant)

excuseme-whereis.com is super useful if you’re travelling to Paris, south-eastern France or major cities in Italy. It gives good information about location of public toilets, supermarkets, post offices etc

WikiVoyage for directions and destination information

PlanMy.Travel and LocalFu use local experts and travellers who have ‘been there done that’ for customised itineraries (pay option)

Komoot is an Android app for cycling/hiking in Europe

www.travelbydrone.com is a fun (and addictive!) website with drone-videos at global locations so you can check out your destination before you get there

A few other mentions: Detour for audio guides around the Bay area (eastern USA), TravelSmart for handy information about making the most of Metropolitan Vancouver via cycle, carpooling, public transport

3. Being anonymous is OK too

We all know Batman’s true identity is Bruce Wayne, his comfort zone for anonymity.

Don’t feel the need to put yourself on show to family and friends with constant photo posts to Instagram, or status updates and tweets about every moment of your trip.

Go offline from Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest/Twitter/emails/Skype/technology and enjoy the experience of your destination.

4.  Be prepared for sticky situations

Batman’s ready for signs of trouble, and he gets prompted from the Bat signal when there’s a sticky situation.

The Bat signal lets Batman know when there's signs of trouble (image: comicsalliance)

The Bat signal lets Batman know when there’s signs of trouble (image: comicsalliance)

Unfortunately, I don’t have a patent for a global Bat signal but I have more tips to prepare for sticky situations you may encounter:

Copy important travel documents

Make photocopies of your passport, itinerary, and any other important documents and store them in a different location than the originals in case the originals are stolen.   I have an extra hard copy in my luggage, and also a scanned copy of everything on a USB memory stick.

(image: notonthehighstreet.com)

(image: notonthehighstreet.com)


Research a country’s prohibited items rules prior to travel, and take a copy of your doctor’s prescription if you travel with medications (I’m asthmatic and while preventative inhalers are usually permitted as a drug at most airports, don’t assume your own medication will be accepted as legal in another country).

If you have any food allergies or intolerances, print out translations of foods to give to local restaurants or research companies that sell dining cards online. If you have a dairy intolerance and are visiting France, print out this handy translation in French https://www.brokerfish.com/food-allergy-translation-cards/dairy-French

Triumph Dining has dining cards for gluten-free travellers that cover ten languages.

Travel insurance

Always buy travel insurance. Look at benefits, and policy inclusions and exclusions, not just the initial cost.

Working in the travel industry for over 10 years, I have heard good and bad stories of choosing to buy travel insurance or not. Good = A colleague purchased travel insurance and ended up with altitude sickness in Kathmandu, medical costs were well over $100K. Bad = A family went on an island holiday to Fiji, one of the children received a nasty coral cut which resulted in infection and eventuated in surgery and a lengthy hospital stay costing them thousands of dollars in medical treatment. Cost of a policy that would have prevented this: $120

Change of clothes and basic essentials

Ever since I lost a large suitcase after an international flight, I now carry a spare change of clothes and basic essentials (toothbrush & paste, deodorant, moisturiser) in my carry-on bag so at least I can feel human until my stuff is found (P.S. my suitcase was returned to me within 3 hours, thank you Air France).

A backpack is handy for hands-free travelling (image: Amazon)

A backpack is handy for hands-free travelling (image: Amazon)

If you’re traveling with kids, carry extra food and diapers to allow for delays and a change of clothes for your kids and yourself – I’ll never forget the poor man who half an hour into a 13-hour flight was covered in his baby’s vomit….the smell lingered that’s for sure. I usually travel with my carry-on as a backpack if I travel with my son so I have my hands free.

Extra food

Taking extra snacks or food can counteract the limited variety in train station vending machines, or overpriced airport food. I’ve fallen into the ‘no food’ trap before and paid the princely sum of €90 for 2 lunches and snacks at Singapore Airport.

I have beaten off my son’s hunger many times by taking extra food on my travels – snacks such as dried fruits, nuts, pretzels, cereal bars. Parents need to be aware there may not be any options to heat food or baby bottles on delays.

Cereal bars are great for snacks on flights

Cereal bars are great for snacks on flights

Also, be aware of customs regulations for food when entering different countries – France doesn’t permit you taking any meat from wild animals on-board so leave that deer carpaccio at home. Every country has different rules – Did you know you can’t take fresh fruit or raw unroasted nuts into Australia (without an Import Permit)?

Variety of payment methods

It pays (excuse the pun) to have a variety of options to pay for items when you travel. Credit and debit cards, cash, travellers cheques, money cards.

In France, I have found many tourists have had problems with ticket machines not reading their foreign-issued credit cards so take coins for ticket machines. Most towns (and certainly the main cities) all have banks and ATM’s, though currency exchange providers are usually only found in more populated areas.

Don’t wear a visible money belt (fanny pack) when you travel – that is a sure-fire advertisement for theft ‘Hey look at my bag containing money, passport and other valuables!’.

Local delays

If you are travelling in France, check out Bisonfute for traffic delays, www.easytravelreport.com for transport strikes, and ViaMichelin for traffic conditions and toll costs.

Learn a few phrases in the local language

It’s not essential, but it’s helpful to learn a few polite greetings or relevant phrases to your situation (car hire, child-related terms, transport and accommodation queries).


5.  Use what you have to your best advantage

Batman is well versed in utilising the Batmobile and his bat tools to best advantage.

Family travel is no different – there are ways you can use what you already have to maximise your holiday experience.

Family discounts

Take advantage of group or family discounts on entry admissions for attractions, restaurant deals (buy one adult meal, get one kids meal free) and transport tickets. A useful one to know for the French Riviera is the ‘Pass Isabelle Famille’ that costs €35 for one days unlimited train travel along the French Riviera for 2 adults and 2 children under 16 years of age; you purchase them at the train station counters or online via TER SNCF website under ‘offres’ and ‘cartes/abonnements’.

Flying with kids

Make use of night-flights to capitalise on usual bedtimes, and burn off all their extra energy at airport playgrounds. Parenting.com has a great list of family-friendly information at lots of global airports,  read more in their link here http://www.parenting.com/article/fun-things-to-do-at-the-major-airports and you can read all about Nice Airport here 

Not keen on paying for expensive Wifi at airports? Get free Wifi at airports but adding /?.jpg or &.jpg to the end of any URL (for networks that allow images to download without redirecting).

Whoever thought of fast-track queues for families for airport processing is a genius. G-E-N-I-U-S. The last thing you want is to queue behind 500 people at security/immigration with an over- tired toddler who’s barely slept on a 12-hour long-haul flight. Didn’t happen to me, honest 🙂

Nice Airport is a 'Famille Plus' airport with dedicated family security lines (image: Nice Airport)

Nice Airport is a ‘Famille Plus’ airport with dedicated family security lines (image: Nice Airport)

What are your own ‘super-hero’ tips for family travel? Comment below, drop me a line via facebook.com/accessriviera or tweet your tips to me @accessriviera



New company, Bébé à broad, eases stress of family travel on the French Riviera

The challenges of family travel with little ones

A few years ago, I flew long-haul with my baby son and due to a change of airline I had to collect our belongings from the luggage carousel in Melbourne, Australia before checking in again for our next flight.

The airport queues were long. The luggage carousels were busy. There were no luggage trolleys left, and no airport staff to assist.

It was a nightmare for a parent flying solo with a baby.

Eventually, I found a luggage trolley and had all of our belongings – 1 large suitcase, 1 large duffel bag, a pushchair, plus carry-on bag with diapers, baby food, clothing.

flying solo with my 4.5 month-old son, this was my nightmare at Melbourne airport

flying solo with my 4.5 month-old son, this was my nightmare at Melbourne airport

A helpful airport employee – who told me she was a mother too – helped me haul all our stuff through immigration and to the next check-in counter with 15 minutes to spare. I never knew her name, but whoever she is she saved my sanity that day.

Things don’t always go to plan

I thought my ‘flying with kids’ experience would improve – until a year later I flew from Singapore to France with everything destination-labelled, stacked and labelled again and my son’s pushchair never appeared at all on the carousel.

After an endless lengthy wait and with no staff available who spoke English to lodge a missing item report, we had no option but to leave the airport without our pushchair.

With these two examples, in hindsight, I didn’t need to travel with our car seat (a family member hired one locally) and our regular pushchair was more a burden than a saviour when transiting multiple international airports.

Being a parent can be hard work and things don’t always go to plan so if I can eliminate any stress with family travel it’s a winner for me.

Let Bébé à broad do the hard work for you

I’m pleased the French Riviera has a new company – Bébé à broad – that offers solutions to ease the travel burden for other families visiting this region.

In a nutshell, Bébé à broad is a baby equipment and toy hire company so whether you are traveling for the holidays or visiting family, rather than you bring your own childcare items for feeding, sleeping, bath time, playtime and transport they will rent it to you for the duration of your holiday.

bébé à broad offers baby equipment and toy hire on the Côte d'Azur (French Riviera)

bébé à broad offers baby equipment and toy hire on the Côte d’Azur (French Riviera)

Why should you hire childcare equipment?

Travel light: With Bébe à broad, you eliminate the need to pay excess baggage costs and having less luggage with you means it saves time and effort for your family, especially at French Riviera train stations that have lots of stairs or busy airport luggage carousels.

Convenience: Pre-booking your equipment means more time to enjoy your family time, whether you are here for one week or one month.  Your order will be delivered and collected from your holiday address whether it be a self-catering apartment, a villa or yacht.

Stress-free: No driving around an unfamiliar country sourcing stores that sell age-appropriate toys, or wondering whether your own car seat is legal under European regulations. Bébé à broad will have everything ready to go on your arrival, customised to your child’s age.

Last-minute emergencies: If you have ever arrived at your destination and realised you have forgotten to pack that one special toy, or checked-in to your accommodation and realise there’s no baby cot then Bébé à broad can help with a selection of age-appropriate toys, baby cots and other forgotten items.

5 top reasons why you should choose Bébé à broad:

1.   Bébé à broad’s owner is a mother herself of two children so you are not just hiring from any company – you are hiring from someone who is familiar with the preparation required and challenges of traveling with kids.

2. Clean and safe baby equipment including:

  • Travel cots and mattresses
  • Pushchairs and strollers
  • Car seats and booster seats
  • High chairs
  • Baby baths
  • Baby monitors
  • Safety gates
  • Play pens
  • Toy boxes
  • Beach packs

3. Delivery and collection of your hired equipment across the Côte d’Azur (French Riviera) from Saint-Tropez to Monaco means you can stay where you want and get what you need

bébé à broad rents baby equipment between Saint-Tropez and Monaco

bébé à broad rents baby equipment between Saint-Tropez and Monaco

4. Cost-effective rental rates means there’s no need to purchase large expensive items or toys on your holiday that never get played with again

5. English-speaking company means you can avoid any miscommunication or errors in translations of baby equipment, sizes or ages in French

If you are visiting the French Riviera, you can pre-book directly with them via:

Website: www.bebeabroad.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bebeabroad

Or follow them on Twitter @bebeabroad

What is your best (or worst) travel experience with children? Share your story by leaving me a comment, message me about it http://www.facebook.com/accessriviera, or tweet me @accessriviera

What To Do on a Rainy Day on the French Riviera

Last Sunday we planned to take our son to the Cannes Film Festival.  The weather forecast was for rain, but undeterred we packed our umbrellas, coats and rain cover for the baby stroller.

We walked along the Croisette and took tourist photos of the red carpet and billboards hyping the latest movie premieres, though sadly there were no celebrity stars to be seen.

The rain did come, so we sheltered at a kiosk on the promenade drinking espresso while our son slept soundly under his rain cover.

Rain is rare on the French Riviera, however on those few days when the outdoors are wet and grey there are plenty of indoor family activities to keep everyone entertained.

Here are some suggestions for rainy day activities:


  • Take the family bowling at Bowling d’Antibes, 1er ave Nova Antipolis, 06600 Antibes.
  • Indoor soft play centre – Royal Kids – with climbing equipment, slides, ball pits, electric cars (additional charge), cafeteria selling hot and cold drinks, snacks.  Wheelchair and baby stroller accessible premises, free car parking outside or accessible via bus from Antibes. Read my review of Royal Kids here www.royalkids.fr
  • Y’a Un Croco dans l’Atélier is located near the main playgrounds in Antibes Old Town and offer arts and crafts workshops for 4 years upwards. Possible to drop-in during school holidays without reservation. €10 for a 1-hr workshop including instruction and materials, or half-day and fll-day rates.
  • Try the Junior Ceramic Artist Workshop with Céramic Créa, 94 boulevard Beau Rivage Prolongé, 06600 Antibes.  From age 5, children are introduced to ceramics and decorative techniques, and can decorate their own piece (the ceramics are fired and ready for collection 8 days later).  2.5 hour workshops including a snack break.  More information is at www.ceramic-crea.com
  • Visit the Comic Strips Cafe near the Antibes cinema, 3 avenue du 24 Août, Antibes – lots of colourful comics, and figurines.  www.comic-strips-cafe.com
  • Have fun at Laser Quest Antibes (172 avenue Weisweiller, near to Royal Kids and Quick/McDonalds roundabout).
  • Tip Top Kids have a Ludothèque indoor play corner suitable for 0-4 years and various activities and workshops for ages 1-7 years including music, baby gym, kids yoga and Montessori workshops.


  • While away a few hours at the Musée national Fernand Léger, chemin du Val de Pome, 06410 Biot.  Permanent art exhibitions, boutique and cafeteria onsite.  Wheelchair accessible and disabled toilet facilties.  http://www.musees-nationaux-alpesmaritimes.fr/fleger/


  • For 6 years and older, free guided tour and chance to create your own fragrance (reservations essential).  Atelier des Parfums, 43 chemin des Presses, 06800 Cagnes sur Mer.
  • Visit the Château Grimaldi with its Musée d’Olivier and Suzy Solidor art collection
  • Go to the Cap’Cinéma cinema at the Polygone shopping complex (for English language movies, look for those labelled ‘VO’ which means Version Originale).


  • There is an indoor soft play centre/playground at Fun City Cannes La Bocca (refer to Activities – Playgrounds blog post).
  •  Take the family bowling at Cannes Bowling, 189 ave Frances Tonner, Cannes La Bocca.
  • For ages 8 years and older, practise laser shooting individually or in teams at Laser Quest Cannes, 28 avenue des Arlucs, 06150 Cannes La Bocca.  Venue also has snack vending machines and air hockey table.  www.lqcannes.com
  • Kids cooking classes are available at Ecole Lenôtre Cannes, 63 rue d’Antibes, 06400 Cannes.  Choose from ‘Cuisine’ or ‘Patisserie’.  Ages 8 years and older.  www.lenotre.com
  •  Junior cooking classes at Les Apprentis Gourmets are held regularly on Wednesdays.  Suitable for ages 6-12 years. A one-hour session creating 3 sweet or savoury dishes costs €32, pricing subject to change.  www.lesapprentisgourmets.fr


  • Design your own fragrance in Grasse, the Mecca of perfume.  Workshops available where you learn about composing a perfume, then create your own unique fragrance to take home with you, with the perfume formula and a diploma.  Note: Children must be accompanied by an adult.  More information at www.molinard.com
  • Cooking classes for kids aged 3 years and upwards at Candyplaychoco.  They have themed classes through the year (Easter, Halloween etc) and also host birthday parties.


  • Indoor arcade Luna Park with arcade games, air hockey, Daytona car and motorbike race games, dance games.  More suited for school age children.  12 boulevard Edouard Baudoin (situated on bus route from Antibes (Envibus route 1), there is a bus stop outside the arcade named ‘Luna Park’).


  • Plan a visit to this art and craft workshop for ceramic painting, mosaics, clay model-making, jewellery-making with beads, and a cuddly toy factory – Les Artistes du Soleil, 16-18 boulevard de la Republique, 06240 Beausoleil.
  • Probably the most popular rainy day activity, don’t exclude a visit to the Monaco Oceangraphic Museum (avenue Saint Martin, MC 98000 Monaco) for fear of crowds, it has over 6000 species of fish, corals and other sealife in aquariums, a natural history display and various temporary exhibitions.  Take the elevator to the roof-top cafeteria, pull out your umbrella and go outside for the best panoramic view over Monaco.  Entrance fee payable.  www.oceano.mc
  • NiBOX, an indoor amusement and attraction space with billiards, 10-pin bowling, arcade games including driving games and air hockey, mini football. www.nibox.mc



  • Take your time browsing contemporary art at the free Modern and Contemporary Art Museum of Nice (MAMAC), Promenade des Arts, 06364 Nice.
  • Take the family bowling at Bowling Nice Acropolis, 5 Esplanade Kennedy, 06300 Nice.
  • Experience a parent and child cooking class with Aude Bertaux – taylor-made recipes that are fun and easy.  Make something tasty and sit in the garden afterwards to savour it. Saturday classes for 3-6 years; Wednesday classes for 6-12 years.  At Cuisine sur Cours, 75 avenue A. Borriglione, 06100 Nice. www.cuisinesurcours.com
  • Make your own holiday scrapbook or mosaic – there are plenty of arts and crafts pieces for sale at L’arret Creation, 7 rue de Russie, 06000 Nice.
  • Create clay objects that can be fired and taken home at a pottery workshop for ages 3 and older.  Ateliers de Magali, 26 rue Bonaparte, 06300 Nice
  • Musée de la Curiosité – 39 rue Beaumont 06300 Nice, is a curiosity museum with displays of magic and rare and unusual objects. There is a Tarzan room, ‘haunted’ living area, optical illusions, vintage dolls and toys, automated brass band. Open Wed-Sun 2pm-7pm, and also bank holidays and every day during school holidays. Onsite restaurant with formules available (entrance + meal). Wheelchair and pushchair accessible. Admission fee payable. www.museedelacuriosite.com
  • Confiserie Florian sweet factory at Nice port offers free guided tours every day of the year including Sundays and bank holidays from 9am-12pm and 2pm-6pm, and free tastings. Watch them creating jams, sweets and chocolates (They also have another factory in Tourrettes sur Loup). www.confiserieflorian.co.uk


  • The second Confiserie Florian sweet factory, offers free guided tours in 5 languages and also cooking classes at their location in Tourrettes (surcharge applies). Reservations for the cooking classes can be booked via  creatyvesculi@aol.com or Telephone : +33 (0)4 92 11 06 94.  Their Tourettes address is Le Pont du Loup, 06140 Tourettes-sur-Loup.



  • Browse some contemporary art in an architecturally-interesting building with landscaped grounds – there are enough sculptures, paintings, drawings, graphic art to keep the family interested at Fondation Maeght, 623 chemin des Gardettes, 06570 St-Paul de Vence.  Entrance fee payable.


  • Y’a Un Croco dans l’Atélier offer arts and crafts workshops for 4 years upwards. Possible to drop-in during school holidays without reservation. €10 for a 1-hr workshop including instruction and materials, or half-day and fll-day rates.


  • HiTech2Move is an indoor play concept with lighted dance mats, climbing wall, throwing wall, interactive cycle game, kickboxing game and lighted floor mats.  It is located next to Atlas and Fly home décor stores.  Open Wed afternoons, and Sat/Suns and all days during school holidays.  €12 per child, suitable for ages 6 years and up.  www.hitech-2move.com

Need more inspiration?  ‘Like’ my page on Facebook www.facebook.com/accessriviera or follow me on Twitter @accessriviera