Deciding to take your family away on an exciting overseas adventure can be great fun, but it can also be a little bit daunting. There’s so many things think about about and organise – travelling with kids is a whole new ballgame. With that in mind, here’s a few tips to help you maximise the fun and minimise the stress.
Deciding where to go
This is isn’t quite as easy for families as it is for those without kids. Just slinging a backpack over shoulder and heading off to Thailand probably isn’t an option for most people with young children. If your kids are old enough then try to include them in the discussion as this can help to make it feel like a proper family holiday.
If you have little kids, then distance may well be factor – long-haul flights are not something that all small kids can deal with. You also need to make sure that you choose somewhere that has a good balance of things to keep children happy and things for grownups.
For most Aussies, and those in certain parts of SE Asia, Bali usually ticks all the boxes. The flight times generally aren’t too long and there is a well established tourist infrastructure there. There are also plenty of great accommodation options available, an interesting and very different culture, and tons of fun activities for the whole family, including white water rafting, surfing and, of course, a lot of amazing beaches for you to relax on. It also doesn’t hurt that the Balinese, in general, love children and will always be happy to make your little ones feel welcome.
Before you go
To make sure your holiday goes as smoothly as possible, its best to get the admin out of the way as quickly as you can. Once you have decided for sure that you are going overseas, make sure that everyone’s passports are up to date and have at least 6 months left on them – remember that even babies need passports these days. Taking out some good quality insurance can also be a good idea, just to be on the safe side.
If you plan on driving when you get there then make sure you have the correct documentation sorted out for that as well.
Obviously the required jabs will vary from country to country, so make sure to check the list of recommendations for your destination of choice. Bear in mind that some vaccinations require several injections for full coverage and that these courses often take a few weeks to complete.
What to pack
Once again, this is obviously going to vary a great deal depending on the climate you are travelling to and the type of holiday you are after when you get there. There are a few basics that it’s always a good idea to travel with though, as well as a few things that might make life easier for the kids.
- Travel adaptor
- Suncream / aftersun (these can often be expensive in tourist areas)
- Travel documents, including insurance if you have it
- A few favourite toys for the kids
- Bug spray
- A rudimentary first aid kit can often come in useful as well
Flying with kids
Most airlines are pretty good at accommodating families these days – letting them board first etc.
If you are travelling with a baby make sure to pack their cabin bags carefully. You will be allowed to take formula, breast milk and baby food on board but make sure you are aware of the airline’s liquid allowances. Do not forget to bring a dummy as these can help with any pain your baby may experience during take off and landing.
For slightly older kids, pack a few books and fun activities / toys to keep them entertained. If you can, load up an iPad / phone in advance with a few kid’s cartoons or movies.
Most airlines will let you check in a pushchair and baby carrier in addition to your other checked luggage and many will let you keep the pushchair with you right up till you get to the gate. Carrying your baby in a sling is sometimes the best option at an airport though as it makes it a bit easier to negotiate a crowded space.
Just remember to check ahead and find out what your particular airline’s policies are.
Where to stay
One decision you will have to make is whether to stay in self-catered accommodation or to go for an all inclusive holiday. Both options have their pros and cons, especially when it comes to travelling with a family.
A villa or apartment will obviously give you a bit more privacy and a lot more space than a standard hotel room would. If you want to stay up and enjoy a few cocktails once the kids have gone to bed you will be able to do so without worrying about waking them up. You also get to prepare your own food, which can be helpful if you have any fussy eaters (not to mention working out cheaper than eating in a restaurant for every meal).
A resort on the other hand will provide both you and your kids with more opportunities to socialise and possibly have more facilities. There is also the likelihood of a kid’s club or babysitting service being provided.
You might be worried about the cost of a villa, but depending on where you are going, this need not be an issue. Going back to the Bali example again, you can get some amazing villas (with staff, private pool and gardens and in good locations) for unbelievably good prices.
There are also plenty of private companies that can provide babysitters and a few that can provide you with things like stairgates and pool fences. Just do a bit of research in advance and make sure to check a few reviews and you shouldn’t have a problem finding somewhere reputable.
What to do
Whilst it can be tempting to luxuriate in the thought of having a couple of weeks with absolutely no fixed plans, kids usually appreciate a little bit of structure (even if they may try their best to convince you otherwise!), so having a rough idea of activities can be helpful. This can be as simple as planning a couple of pool / beach days followed by an outing.
Try to mix up purely fun days, such as going to waterparks, with a few more cultural activities – that way everyone gets to do something of their choice and you get to show your kids a little of how people live in other parts of the world.
This guest post was contributed by Bali Villas.
With extensive experience in servicing Australian clients, Bali Villas know exactly what families are looking for in terms of location, style and pricing. Each of their family friendly villas situated on the beautiful island of Bali have been hand-picked by their ‘family expert’ – someone with children who knows exactly what families are looking for.
Contact Bali Villas on firstname.lastname@example.org for a short consultation, and they will be able to find you the perfect villa. Bali Villas aim to take the stress out of planning your holiday, so you can concentrate on creating lasting memories with your family.