Yes, is there such a thing, you wonder??! Well, if you want it to be a meaningful holiday that revolves and caters to your family, there is. If you want a fuss free holiday, then no. But then again, fuss free with kids? That’s an oxymoron. That’s like saying pretty ugly in one breath! Ok, so let’s just get to the point.
1) HOMEWORK – GOOGLE!
What do you think years of primary, secondary and tertiary schooling trained you for? LOL! Homework is essentially something you lived and breathed for years, and I assure you, its well worth the effort to do homework/research beforehand. When you google, you get to hear of places that you won’t see in lonely planet. Will you get to find the best indoor playground, hipster café or homestays with slides in your lonely planets? How to Search?
1.1 Check if you are going at the right time, or at least an acceptable time. 1.2 If you want to go to a destination with kids, google “(your destination) with kids”. It will bring you through to many blogs which you can skim through and make you selection of what you like. 1.3 If you know their native language, search in the destination’s native language! For example, going to Taiwan, search in Mandarin. If you know Japanese and are going to Japan, search in Japanese. The resources in the home language DEFINITELY triumph! 1.4 Print out a map and mark the places and google estimated travel time. *Being in a small but beautiful Singapore for too long, we tend to neglect this phenomenal point of consideration. Once you do this, you may have to adjust your itinerary a little. For myself, my children are not trained for long car rides in SG and do not quite see the point to train them for that on a holiday (perhaps when they are older). 1.5 Decide on your mode of transport. It really largely depends on the country that you’re going to. 1.6 Choose a highlight for everyone. Is there something your old folks really enjoy? Choose it. Is there something the young ones would really enjoy? Choose it. Is there something unique or fun you can do together and not what you usually would in SG? When you do that, it’s a very simple message of “I remembered you when I planned”. In other words, you can be on a tight budget, but find something to “surprise” and “treat” yourself. You have already spent much planning and spending to get there. Its worth it. I still remember hang gliding from the Swiss alps during my honeymoon trip. 1.7 Plan your days with a mixture of fast-paced and spaced out. Even on a holiday, everyone needs to breathe and rest. Why not all spaced out and just chill and relax? If doing nothing and relaxing is your family’s gift, by all means, go ahead. For my young children, having nothing and staying in the hotel for long long long hours is absolute pain and discipline issues ERUPT. 1.8 Tourist destination tickets often have deals online at third party website like Klook. Some have clauses like having to buy at least one day in advance etc. Don’t leave it to the last minute.
2) PACKING LIST
2.1 It helps to start a packing list while you plan. Jot down the essentials, first aids and activity or snack pack. For activity and snack pack, with children chances are you will need it. With the packing list right beside, you can easily add or make notes. 2.2 Don’t pack diapers. Bring a few and buy the rest at destination country if you’re going for long trips, this will make more sense. 2.3 Command and control the packing. Don’t let the man do it! Likely, they will miss out something and when you realise it at your holiday destination… Too late. Of course, this is a generalised statement! If your spouse is better at packing and looking into everyone’s needs, then lucky you, let him do it. Point is, pack well. Not overpacked, but sufficient to keep everyone’s needs met.
3) CHOOSE THE RIGHT TIME
3.1 Choose a flight that is most comfortable for all, take into consideration everyone’s sleep/wake schedule. 3.2 Plane rides gone wrong can start all on a wrong footing. But even if that happens, its alright, which leads us to the next point.
4) LEARN THIS PHRASE “IT’S OK!”
4.1 You are already at your long-awaited destination, don’t get upset over the nitty gritty that did not go your way. If you did not get the best price, so be it. Let it go! If you got misunderstood, think about it, resolve it if possible then shrug it off. It’s ok! 4.2 Kids having melt down? Take control of the situation. Loving but firm. Don’t start blame game now. 4.3 Hubby, grandpa, child, whoever messed up something… Learn to say “it’s ok”. This is part of traveling together. 😊
5) DRAWING/WRITING BOOK
If your child is of the age to draw and write, you may want to bring a writing/drawing book along. I brought it when we went Bali and my 4 year old drew pictures of things she did. Her grandpa chipped in and coloured it with her. Little moments like these are precious. Do not use it as an end goal in mind. Use it as a form of expression for your child. Just like you use photos and Facebook, they too can express their thoughts and feelings.
6) BE THANKFUL
For that fact that we are discussing about holiday which makes it seem like a norm, be thankful. Have you watched American Idol and X factor? Some Americans have never travelled out of their country, some Brits have not travelled out of Britain. Do you know your friend/ neighbour haven’t travelled in a while? Don’t take things for granted. You are doing something that is truly for the privileged in this world – traveling! Moreover, you are doing it with your loved ones. You know what is precious about that? The fact that… You have loved ones. *heart*
Have a happy holiday!
~Esther Eio, Director, Curriculum Plus