Family travel in Asia: our team’s top tips
3rd March 2017 | by Guest author
Asia is well-suited to family holidays, as it's generally a very family-friendly part of the world, with a good mix of warm clean beaches, welcoming people, cool animals and exciting culture. The prospect of going on holiday with your kids can be intimidating, but many of the Selective Asia team travel in Asia with their children, so they've put together some tips to help make it easier for you.
Check in early, check out late
With the best will in the world, time can become a bit elastic when kids are around. That childlike absence of urgency might be something we all yearn to recapture, and holidays are definitely the ideal time to do just that - except when it's time to catch flights, or check out of your hotel. So, Nick recommends making sure you leave extra time to reach the airport and work your way to the departure lounge - it'll really cut down on stress. And book a late check-out at your hotel, so you have plenty of time to get the kids (and yourself) up, dressed, packed and out before housekeepers start knocking on the door.
Make sure every day is well-balanced
A good travel advisor (like all of ours, of course!) will ask you about the needs of all members of your family and will factor these into every day. It's all about getting the right blend to the day, making sure there is something for everyone, as well as factoring in down time, nap time, distances walked and travelled, and when it's time to eat.
Stephen's family travel trick depends on your airline's buggy policy. Often you can take a buggy on the flight for free, so it's worth buying a bag for it - which you can use to carry nappies, goodies, spare clothes and souvenirs, as well as the buggy.
Films for flights
Don't depend on your airline's onboard entertainment to keep the kids entertained on long flights. Take a portable media player and a few of your child's favourite films and series. Also, child-sized on-ear headphones. Because, those theme tunes - on repeat. When you're on a plane.
Take colouring books and pencils or activity books
You won't always want to rock out the iPad, so take a supply of analogue entertainment, too.
Gamify your holiday
Well, not all of it - that way lies madness. But treasure hunts, immersive games and self-guided exploration of cities adds a familiar motivation for youngsters, and there's nothing like adding a whiff of competition to get people interested. You could try i-Discover Asia, or one of the Cyclo Treasure Hunts that are currently trendy in Vietnam, but new experiences are appearing all the time, so ask one of the team for the latest options when you book your holiday.
Pack baby wipes/wet towels - and lots of 'em!
This one from father-of-two Karl, who also recommends carrying spare underwear in day packs. He suggested doing so for all family members, and not just the kids. We didn't dare ask why...
Take concentrated cordial drops
Getting kids to drink enough water in hot conditions is essential, but can be tricky, especially if the water is warm - cordial makes it a lot easier, and the new concentrated drops are very easy to pack and carry.
Bring unwanted toys
Get your kids to bring some toys that they have just grown out of, and want to pass on (Matchbox cars, action figures, dolls etc), as they are very likely to make friends with the local kids, who will usually want to share some of their own toys.
Always book accommodation with a pool
It might seem like a privileged 'essential' (kind of like Waitrose Essentials artichoke hearts), but when you're travelling with kids in a hot country, a pool is essential - for cooling off, letting off steam, and having that poolside area to relax in.
Be prepared for plans to change
Your plans may well change for all manner of reasons, so try not to get hung up on things being a certain way. But it needn't mean missing out on what you're hoping to do - with *ahem* a well-tailored itinerary and excellent local guides, any last minute changes can be made without disrupting your holiday.
Always take sweets or lollipops on board the plane
Kids, especially very young ones, don't understand when their ears ‘pop’, and sucking on a lollipop or sweetie (or bottle or dummy, if they are really young) helps to equalise the air pressure and relieve any pain.
And crucially... stock up on gin at Duty Free!
Only kidding - parenthood can feel like a whirlwind, but travelling with kids in Asia is very rewarding, sometimes more so than travelling without them, and we encourage you to give it a go!