On our mother’s 60th birthday, the entire family went on a long-weekend trip to Hong Kong – our parents, my siblings and our other halves, all nieces and nephews. We rented a flat at Lantau Island to make it convenient to bring the kids to tourist spots they would most likely enjoy. It was a mess. It was difficult to keep track of all kids, their clothes, if they already bathed or ate. Itinerary had to be adjusted a few times because it took too long to get everyone up and ready. In the end, most of the time, every couple and family just went on their separate ways and just met for dinner to bond and catch up. It was fun but it could be better.
We went around several sources and found the most do-able and practical ways to make traveling with your kids easy for them and you.
Ondine Cohane of Business Mirror suggests to let “everyone pick an activity” and to “not overload the itinerary”. No matter how much you want to go to all monuments and tourist spots, not everyone will enjoy them and with the kids along, it might not be so easy to mobilize to and from these places. I like her suggestion to assume normal life scenario. I would add having the mindset of a regular weekend where there are things you do that was decided by the kids too. This will help you figure out how much time you actually have to go around.
Accommodations & Transportation
Ondine also mentioned “not to change sleeping set-up drastically but think about what type of accommodation will best suit your family.” Whether you choose to stay in a hotel or Airbnb, think about its accessibility, facilities for children, types of transportation available and how easily or difficult it would be to use them with your kids. It will also determine whether you should bring carriage, stroller or sling. And No, I do not agree that you should bring everything.
Sarah Pinault wrote on Wired that a good way to help you with mishaps while on a trip is to let kids wear pajamas sets when traveling. Make that thick-enough PJs to keep them warm. They are easy to manage in case of a diaper change or vomit clean-up.
For the diaper-wearing babies, Momondo.com reminds us that your preferred diaper brand may be hard to find elsewhere. Although I wouldn’t recommend that you go with their suggestion to test your not-so-preferred diaper brand prior to leaving to see if your baby has any type of reaction, I wouldn’t recommend you do that. Instead, pack light but do bring enough extra diapers that suits your baby.
Wired recommends bringing NEW toys and books to hold their attention. If your kids are bit techy, load up on the apps, moves and tv shows.
Momondo.com also suggests putting your contact information on your kids, literally writing your name and phone number on their arm. Now, if you live and will visit any tropical country, that’s just going to sweat right off. In fact, toddlers can find a way to smudge it or write more on it. What my brother did when kids were younger was to write down his contact information on a piece of paper, place one copy in the kids’ pockets and one tied to something else like ribbon on her dress, clip or toy. And he made sure the kids knew where each copy.
My eldest sister, on the other hand, is more cautious. Aside from planning, she likes to think about and prepare for things that could possibly go wrong. That means she has emergency numbers and contact information of friends and family who live in the area or country. We also make sure to get travel insurance for everyone including the kids. Why? Because if an emergency happens, we’re not sure if we have enough cash for medical treatments or if hospitals will even accept us. Because if tragedy, man-made or by nature, happens, we want to make sure we get home at the soonest possible time. And practically speaking, if there are extreme delays in our flights or if airlines lose or damage our luggage, we want to be compensated somehow. Many families purchase their travel tickets online which makes sense to get your travel insurance online. This is why Malayan’s travel insurance – Travel Master – is available online where you can check how much, pay for and get your travel insurance online. The reason why we choose Travel Master is because its partner is Assist America which means that whatever happens, we just contact Assist America and they will take care of us. Check it out at www.malayanonline.com.
Could our family vacation have been different if we did these? Absolutely! But we are the kind who learn by experience and I’m happy to share these tips with you so you don’t have to. What are your proven ways to travel with ease when you’re with your kids?
Written by Kristina Relampagos
Cohane, O. Business Mirror. “Travel with kids: Make it easier for them, and you”. 8-Feb-2018.
Momondo.com. “25 essential tips for traveling with kids”. 25-Oct-2017. < https://www.momondo.com/inspiration/traveling-with-kids/>
Pinault, S. Wired.com. “13 Tips for Traveling with Kids”. 16-May-2012. < https://www.wired.com/2012/05/travel-tips/>