As an expat, I have traveled in and around southeast Asia several times over. I have my favorite places as a business traveler, I also have favorites when I am with my family. But overall, Southeast Asia as a whole is an awesome place. The cross-cultural experience is simply breathtaking you really would love to share it with family and friends. In this case (other than my husband), with my two kids, the youngest is 3 while the eldest is 7. When traveling with my kids, I have developed several practices I picked up along the way (over the last 7 years) on how to make my life easier when traveling with my family. Let me share with you some of them:
- Help your kids sleep during a flight
It’s a 15 hour flight from LAX to Manila, Philippines. You need to make sure your kids get a lot of sleep during the flight. The cardinal rule when flying with an infant is to request for a bassinet. Check out our article on Stress Free Air Travel with Your Kids! Most airlines have bassinets inflight you just have to request them when you book your flight. You can also check our article on How to Help Your Baby Sleep On A Plane for more tips on helping your kids sleep during flight.
- Take a Travel Crib
On a given occasion, we travelled to 3 different countries, to 12 different locations over a 30 day period. That is a lot of hotels and resorts. I am used to transferring from one hotel to another, practically living out of my backpack. But not for my kids. So I make sure I have a collapsible travel crib handy. Not endorsing any brand. Just make sure it is light and durable and you are good to go.
- Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine
I am so not saying that you can get any dreadful disease during your visit. My mom has a very politically correct explanation when asked why she needs to get vaccinated before leaving the continent. “You can get sick anywhere. It is just a safety precaution so as not to spoil your vacation.” Just check the CDC website for the type of vaccine you need to take (depending on the country you are visiting).
- Use a backpack
Why? You need to pack light. Why? This is South East Asia, you can buy awesome clothes and other stuff at a very cheap price. You need space for all the stuff that you are buying so pack light and make sure you have enough space for your shopping spree.
Ok, seriously…..pack light, since you will be moving a lot and visiting different locations, often using local transportation, you need to be able to move fast and comfortably. Imagine towing a very large suitcase while you transfer from a beach resort to a mountain cabin. Too clunky right?
- To Gate Check or Not to Gate Check
Strollers and car seats. To gate check or to bring it aboard. What to do? I always make sure that my kid’s stroller and car seat are gate checked. You’ve heard the stories, about strollers and car seats checked in along with your baggage. If it’s not damaged, it gets misplaced by the baggage handlers and your car seat gets delayed by a day or two. It is not worth the hassle! So better get a car seat travel bag. Check out AMT PRO and get this awesome car seat travel bag ONLY $29.77! TOTAL CONVENIENCE for a gate check car seat bag FOR LESS THAN $30.
I still have a number of tips I would love to share. Will work on that next week.