There are things that I know for certain about myself. I love God, I love my family, I love books and I love to travel. Fortunately, I married a man who loves the same things. The husband doesn’t go out at night, doesn’t smoke and doesn’t drink. His only “vice”, which I share, is travelling with the family.
Some parents, however, have apprehensions about bringing the kids out of the country . It’s going to be too expensive. They’re too young to remember–when they get older na lang. It would be a nightmare! How can we survive without “yaya?” The aforementioned are just some of the concerns I’ve heard. So I thought I would write about our family’s travel escapades to allay the fears of other parents. But first, some tips…
PREPARATION IS KEY
1. Plan your trip well ahead of time. Information is literally at the tip of your fingertips. Use the internet to research about the place/country you want to visit.
For us, the family decides first where we all want to go. Then, it’s my task to plan the itinerary. I look at hotels that suit our budget and considerations –proximity to the malls, hospital, museums, availability of non-smoking rooms, no pets etc.
I print everything that looks interesting and go through it with the husband. If it’s a theme park, I show my son M and daughter R the attractions on the web. This way, they know what to expect and it ups the level of excitement for the trip.
2. Get in touch with close relatives and friends in the area you’re visiting. They will be helpful in planning your vacation. Ask them for tips on where to go, where to eat and where to shop! If they offer you to stay with them, consider it. Staying with friends or relatives will definitely cut your travel expenses. If you decide to take them up on their offer, be sure to get a very nice gift for your host or ask them what they want from home.
We prefer to stay in hotels so we can do whatever we like — sleep late, lounge around, order room service etc. I wish I can say we live like rock stars but even in hotels, husband A requires ORDER. It prevents us from losing things and nobody wants to get Daddy in a bad mood. Plus, kids will be kids. We don’t want to subject our friends and relatives to my daughter’s 24-hour dramatics.
3. Pack your kids’ luggage first. I have a ten year old son and a three year old daughter. The boy chooses his outfits, I edit and we’re done. It’s s different story for the little girl. I like to dress her up and she likes to dress up. In our last trip to Malaysia, we ran out of tops (but had cutie skirts to spare) because it was so hot! Her dad put a shirt on her and she kept on asking “Why am I wearing this shirt? Change Mom,please.” (Note to Mom: more tops when travelling to a tropical country.) Did I mention that I hand-carried her Hello Kitty crowns? That’s why I’m partial to big bags. Fashion and function combined.
Pack the essentials too. Medicine, special toiletries like unscented soap (Oilatum for R and Dove extra sensitive for M), Aveeno lotion and apparatus (we always carry a nebulizer). If you need to get your doctor’s prescription for the medicine you need to bring, then get it ahead of time. You don’t want to be looking for medicine in a foreign country. In addition get medical insurance. Blue Cross has good coverage for the family and is affordable.
4. Check your weight allowance. Travelling with kids means you can take advantage of the weight allowed to them. We put smaller pieces of packed luggage inside big pieces of empty luggage. This way we can carry more goods back home. Travel light? We only do that one way.
5. Bring US dollars. All countries will buy this currency.
TRAVEL IS THE ONLY THING YOU BUY THAT MAKES YOU RICHER
I’ve been asked a number of times why we always bring the kids with us. The answer is simple – Husband A is more OC than I am when it comes to the children. Truthfully,though, we just really love being together and enjoy doing things as a family!
All year round hubby A works hard so we look forward to time alone with him. He is not the boss when we travel. He is DADDY. He changes diapers, bathes R and carries her pink Frozen bag. I feed R, wash her bottles, act as referee when she fights with her brother and comfort her through her crying fits. My son now helps in getting the luggage from the carousel, carries my shopping bags and pushes his sister in the stroller. In return, I ride the roller coaster with him. We exercise patience, tolerance, discipline and teamwork because we love each other.
M has been to seven countries at 10 and R to three at 3 years old. To experience is to learn. We all come home from each trip more aware, more appreciative and definitely more knowledgeable of the world we live in. Why would I want my children to miss out on the wonders of this planet?
So the next time you think of exploring the world, save up , prepare, take the kids and JUST GO!