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FAMILY TRAVEL: China with Children

By Jackie Burrell
Sunday, April 27th, 2008 at 6:30 am in Family Travel.

The Roemer family in China
Planning that next family vacation? The Roemer family gives us the scoop on Beijing and Shanghai with kids.

THE TRAVELERS: Wine sales and Mandarin teacher Julie McCormack and prosecutor Michael Roemer, and their children Conor, age 7, and Erin, 5.

THE TREK IN A SEC: Two globe-trotting, Third World-loving parents from Orinda booked a two-week independent trip to China with their then 4- and 6-year-olds in tow.

The Roemers on the Great Wall BEST LODGING: Shanghai’s Astor House Pujiang Hotel, which has been around since 1846 and has housed many a famous person. “It’s affordable with a fabulous location right on the Bund (waterfront of Shanghai),” says Julie. “Huge rooms allowed all four of us to share a room and still have extra space. And they had Western breakfasts so all of us could chow down on something besides dumplings for a few days, and mom and dad could get decent coffee.”

BEST EATS: “The hole-in-the-wall dumpling house around the corner from our hotel in Beijing (Dongcheng district). We enjoyed homemade noodles, dumplings, scallion pancakes and large bottles of weak beer for the parents! Fresh yogurt sold in ceramic jars on the street in Beijing. Poke a straw through the paper cover on top and enjoy! Our yogurt-loving daughter was immediately addicted.”

Aboard the Shanghai-Beijing train COOL SIGHTSEEING:
“The Great Wall, Forbidden City (yes, our kids loved this) and overnight train from Beijing-Shanghai — affordable and probably our kids’ single favorite thing we did on this trip! And the Panda Reserve in Chengdu, Sichuan, where our kids got to take a photo with a red panda for 50 yuan.”

TRAVEL TIPS: “Set your expectations high and your kids will rise to them. When we were out to dinner with some business contacts in Shanghai, they ordered donkey tongue. When it arrived our Conor, who is a moderately picky eater at home, dove right in and grabbed the first bite! After that, the rest of us three couldn’t refuse to try it. In general, we avoided Western-chain hotels, ate almost exclusively Chinese food and took every form of transportation imaginable … but also knew when to hit the Sheraton for chicken nuggets and a good glass of Sauvignon Blanc.”
Has your family been somewhere wonderful? Share your photos, favorite hotels and outings, and travel tips by e-mailing us. Or click “comments” and share your travel tips right here.
Looking for more family travel tips? Check out these blog posts too:
Kauai with a Toddler
An African safari with the Family
Rome with the Bambino
Colonial Williamsburg with the Kids
Cancun Family Adventures
London with Teens
New York City and DC with a Theater-Going Family
New York City with a Baseball-Loving Family
California Beach Towns
Paris avec le bebe
Vancouver with the Kids
Sweden & Norway with Teens
The Cote d’Azur with Teens
Off the Beaten Path in Paris
A Midwestern Road Trip with Rollercoasters
Myanmar with Philanthropically-Minded Teens
Yosemite with the Kids, and
The Big Island & Volcanoes.

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