Taking your kid(s) on long distance travel. Here’s what to do and what not.
You taking your little one? Uhm, yeah….!
This is the question we’ve heard a number of time when we mentioned we’d go on holiday to Bali or Thailand. You gotta be kidding, we don’t leave our little one behind for 2 weeks. Of course, things are different when you are traveling long distance with an under two little person but as long as you adjust to their rhythm everything works out fabulous. Here’s 5 do’s and 5 don’ts that we found helpful.
1: Research on our accommodation and their child friendliness. Swimming pools, shallow water beaches and playgrounds are the best combination for any kid. Our place in Thailand was on a hill, so the stroller was impossible with the stairs, so yay to the sling (and the little hotel shuttle….)
2: Bring long sleeve swimwear and a sunhat with a neck protector if you are going to a sunny destination. Trust us, rubbing sunscreen on them will be impossible. Look for these ones La Roche-Posay Anthelios Kids Body Lotion SPF50+.
3: Listen to the locals. Whether it is hotel staff or tour organizers, they know best when it comes to what is suitable for kids and what not. For example, we wanted to visit the ‘James Bond’ island/beach but that is either a long and bumpy speedboat ride or a 4 hour slow cruise just to get there. So we opted for the half day beach trip which was only 20 from the pier and then got to relax for three hours.
The Flopsy family getting ready for the speedboat trip in Thailand. Age 22 months.
4: Build a routine of things they like. For example, a swim after breakfast or a trip to the playground after lunch. Go for that little ice-cream or other little treat a few times so that they know what they are going away for.
5: Take time for yourself. Miss flops likes her massages, so mister flops takes care of the little one for an hour and bit at the pool or the playground. Mister flops likes his beer and a good read in the evening, so miss flops takes the early night turn sometimes.
1: Let them run around the airplane too early on. Try stalling as much as you can, because once they are out it is really really hard to get them back into that cot or seat. So bring some new toys or books. Our little one loves stickers and drawing and will amuse herself with it for a long time. We also brought her own suitcase/backback with toys. Ow, and if they sing, sing along, even at 3am during a transfer and she’s belting ‘twinkle twinkle…’
2: Forget about naps! When planning your day activities, don’t forget about naps. Try to keep your little one(s) in their usual rhythm. Ours likes a nap at 11.45 before a lunch break and would often do a quick nap around 3.30.
Elise asleep at hipster beach lounge Potato Head in Seminyak, Bali. Age 7 months
3: Pack too much. Having lots of stuff with you is just annoying at the airport, at transfer and even in the room. Alternatively, pack as light as you can and use the local washing options. They usually aren’t that expensive (especially compared to the hotel) and have your clothes washed within a day or two.
4: Force them to eat if they don’t want to, they will take it if you keep on offering. Grumpy kids at dinner usually are created by their parents because they just don’t want that particular thing at that point in time. Just make sure they keep on drinking, much more important. We also found it useful to find out what local food they like and just ask for it. Example, Thai sate became chicken lollipops and she loved it. And in Bali she loved the prawn crackers. Ow, and if they do make a mess in the restaurant, just leave a little bit more of a tip.
Elise munching on a prawn cracker in Bali trip #2, age 15 months
5: Let it get to you when things don’t go to plan, just go with the flow. You are not in a rush, you are not on the clock. Take your time, enjoy your holiday at their pace. Jump in the puddles if they do, its only water!
What has worked for you? Let us know and well do a follow-up post on this topic.