Tips for Trav­el­ling with a Young Fam­ily

Trav­el­ling with kids is not the time to be glam­orous and I will al­ways choose prac­ti­cal­ity over everything else.

Indonesia Expat - - CONTENTS - BY RINKA PEREZ

Ido not en­joy trav­el­ling with my kids. Sometimes the va­ca­tion is worth the pain and suf­fer­ing we go through to get to the des­ti­na­tion, and sometimes it’s not. It has def­i­nitely be­come eas­ier over the years as we have gained more ex­pe­ri­ence, so here is what we have learned so far.

PICK­ING THE RIGHT LO­CA­TION

The num­ber one ad­vice is to pick the right lo­ca­tion that is age ap­pro­pri­ate. Make sure the des­ti­na­tion is kid friendly and ac­tiv­i­ties don’t in­clude long treks out­side of your ho­tel dur­ing which you end up with cranky, whiny chil­dren. We limit sight-see­ing to half-days only, af­ter which we re­turn to our ho­tel to rest. We once took our three chil­dren to Dis­ney­land and it was an ab­so­lute dis­as­ter. They were sim­ply too young to en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence and our time in the mag­i­cal king­dom was mostly spent queu­ing for toi­lets and chang­ing nap­pies. Our travel des­ti­na­tions are now easy spots where our ho­tel is the key part of our va­ca­tion. If ei­ther my hus­band or I have a great de­sire to ex­plore the out­side world and do some­thing more ad­ven­tur­ous than splashing in a baby pool, we sim­ply take turns, one of us ex­plor­ing while the other looks af­ter the chil­dren.

TIPS FOR PACK­ING

I am a very min­i­mal packer. I don’t panic if I for­get any­thing be­cause I can pur­chase it once I ar­rive. Our trav­els are usu­ally to warm des­ti­na­tions where most of our time is spent in bathing suits, so even th­ese tiny items count as out­fits. I also like to bring old clothes for our va­ca­tion. Those ho­ley undies and socks that are on their last legs go on va­ca­tion with us and I throw them away at the end of the trip. This al­lows for more space in our suit­cases for shop­ping and also cuts out the worry of try­ing to keep our clothes clean. I am more re­laxed (and lazy) on va­ca­tion and my kids will get grub­bier than usual, so old clothes are ideal.

Pack­ing Es­sen­tials:

Two days worth of nap­pies and light snacks in­clud­ing UTH milk. This cuts out the in­con­ve­nience of search­ing for th­ese items upon ar­rival. I like to bring enough snacks to last un­til we ar­rive at the ho­tel, such as ce­real and ba­nanas. They are a great fin­ger food or sub­sti­tute din­ner, just in case you ar­rive late are too tired to go out. I also like to pack our own bowls and spoons be­cause they are not usu­ally pro­vided in ho­tel rooms. Re­us­able con­tain­ers for snacks such as pan­cakes and crois­sants of­fered at the ho­tel buf­fet break­fast are also handy.

Med­i­cal Kit:

Pack a small first aid kit to carry with you ev­ery­where, in­clud­ing stick­ing plas­ters, ban­dages, ster­ile wa­ter and dis­in­fec­tant cream. Bring a ther­mome­ter, pain and fever relief medicine, anti di­ar­rhoea med­i­ca­tions, elec­trolyte pow­der, tiger balm, sun­screen, mos­quito re­pel­lent and tea tree oil for mos­quito bites.

TIPS FOR FLY­ING

Trav­el­ling with kids is not the time to be glam­orous and I will al­ways choose prac­ti­cal­ity over everything else. I like to wear pants with pock­ets to hold everything I need within quick reach. I bring a light­weight pram on board the plane as carry on lug­gage. This very use­ful de­vice fits through the aisle of the plane and folds up into a small bun­dle for the over­head com­part­ment. Us­ing this pram, a baby car­rier, and a back­pack, I have man­aged to fly with three kids on my own.

To avoid tantrums I al­ways carry small packs of bis­cuits and 100ml car­tons of milk and juice. Along with some crayons, colour­ing books and any small toys that won’t be missed if we lose them. I know it’s cute see­ing young chil­dren carry their own suit­cases, but un­less they are over the age of six it’s just another thing for you to worry about. In­stead, I pack all their things with ours in one big back­pack al­low­ing me to keep my hands free.

When my chil­dren were ba­bies and needed for­mula, I used a con­tainer that al­lowed us to pre-por­tion the cor­rect amount of for­mula per feed and I sim­ply used bot­tled wa­ter to mix the solution. Most air­lines will al­low you to bring your own liq­uids on­board if you are trav­el­ling with chil­dren (es­pe­cially Asian air­lines). When I was breast feed­ing I wore a chew­able nurs­ing neck­lace to keep my ba­bies oc­cu­pied and this also helped equalise the pres­sure in their ears dur­ing take off and land­ing. I also pre­ferred to use a light, cot­ton scarf in­stead of a nurs­ing cover to feed on planes be­cause a scarf has many more uses and feed­ing in an aero­plane seat is very dis­creet any­way..

Seat­ing ar­range­ments:

Sep­a­rate your fam­ily. My kids al­ways seem to grav­i­tate to­wards me on a flight even when their fa­ther is read­ily avail­able, so my hus­band and I sit apart. I sit with my youngest child and our two older chil­dren sit with their fa­ther. Our chil­dren re­spond re­ally well to this seat­ing strat­egy and are bet­ter be­haved be­cause they don’t need to fight for my at­ten­tion. This also works for one child where one par­ent can take the child while the other one rests.

I don’t rec­om­mend us­ing time on flights to prac­tice the “cry­ing it out” method, or strict par­ent­ing rules. Just do whatever you have to do to get through the flight, even if it means giv­ing them an ipad and snacks as an in­cen­tive to be­have.

TIPS FOR AC­COM­MO­DA­TION

We stay in fam­ily friendly ho­tels with a kitch­enette, kids club and chil­dren’s fa­cil­i­ties. Hot, boil­ing wa­ter from the ket­tle can be used to ster­ilise bot­tles and I like to bring my own bot­tle clean­ing brush and dish­wash­ing de­ter­gent. I use a por­ta­ble clothes­line for wash­ing and hang­ing wet bathing suites out­side on the bal­cony. I also bring laun­dry de­ter­gent in a small bag.

Quick Tip: Small beach toys can be used as bath toys. Bring old toys and toss them out at the end of the trip.

I am go­ing to give you one fi­nal tip that could rev­o­lu­tionise your fam­ily va­ca­tions; con­sider bring­ing your nanny. This is a lux­ury of liv­ing in In­done­sia and you should take ad­van­tage of it if you can.

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