When I use to travel pre kids I did everything off the beaten path and had my days full from early until late at night. That model clearly doesn’t work with kids! Before kids, I use to not plan at all when I traveled, and with kids you clearly need to over plan.
We just returned from our two-week trip with my four year old girl, and it could not have gone more smoothly! The many long flights, jet leg, car seat, food etc. was all planned perfectly.
Here’s a pic of my four-year-old and her new best friend!
So here’s what else I learned on our recent trip to Thailand.
1- Be flexible
2- Only plan 1-2 activities per day. I’d make a morning plan then time to go back to the hotel and play/rest then an afternoon plan. For planning advice, check out: Thailand Guide Book -Lonely Planet
3- Stay at a hotel with a pool. Especially in a hot country. This was major for us after tracking around in cars with no AC and visiting outdoor touristy spots to come back and relax at the pool. If you find a hotel with a kids club you can also get a well deserved break and are sure to be some place that your kid won’t get shushed and you might even meet other families. Our hotel had tons of kids and a kids club. We became friendly will some other families and even went to dinner together one night. Here are some great hotels for kids in Thailand:
4- Figure out something in the local cuisine your kid will eat so you are not struggling or eating at overpriced tourist places every meal. My kid likes eggs and rice. They serve that in many Thai dishes so I learned the words in Thai and just asked for sides of it everywhere.
5- While not something I particularly liked I had to let go of obsessing about her being in a car seat. I brought one, but many forms of transportation we were in didn’t have seat belts. Our post, Car Seats on Airlines, will help with problem solving this inconvenience.
6- Since I am a single mother by choice and had my daughter on my own, I brought a birth certificate showing no father listed. I normally never do this and travel a lot but several single mothers by choice friends recommended it and I actually got asked twice if I had the letter from the father agreeing to travel out of the country. Once on a layover in the Philippines and in Los Angeles. I had to show the birth certificate to prove there was no father.
7- Magnetic activities, sticker books, Wiki sticks, travel board games, play dough and pipe cleaners with beads were all big hits on the plane. Refer to our previous post: Beyond the iPad – 10 Tricks to Keep Kids Happy on a Long Flight.
8- Try to bring as little luggage as possible. Every country has washing machine’s or stores if you need more. ? For some helpful hints check out: 5 Bags Your Kids Will Beg to Carry.
9- Stay on the well traveled path of common tourist spots. This tends to make easier travel with kids. Mainly because English is spoken, western accommodations, plenty of food options, and less travel to/from the off beaten path spots.
10-Bring melatonin! It worked brilliantly! Kiddo actually had very little trouble with the jet leg… however, mine on the other hand was terrible, melatonin was a lifesaver for me and helped her if she woke up in the middle the night, too.
11- You are not required to get shots for Thailand, but I did opt to get yellow fever and flu shots.
12-Oh and did I mention-be flexible! Things will not go as expected!
DeDe Sandler is a single mother by choice from Phoenix Arizona. An avid traveler, she loves to travel with her four year old daughter and show her the world.