Have you ever considered traveling to Asia as a family, but the thought of traveling with kids, especially young ones, seemed too daunting? Safety, long travel days, and knowing what and how to pack can make traveling to Asia feel impossible.
With a little thought and planning ahead, however, traveling to this continent doesn't have to be stressful or out of the question! In fact, according to an article from Travel + Leisure, experts say that traveling with kids can increase their development. It can also make them more empathetic toward cultures that are different from their own and help them adapt to changing situations.
If a trip to Asia with your family is something you'd like to pursue, this article can help you prepare and start your trip off on the right foot. Here are some practical tips and 10 things you need to know before traveling to Asia with kids.
Like many other vacations and travel arrangements, be sure to take some time to think through and plan your trip before you go. As you decide on what activities you'd like to do and where you'd like to go, keep in mind that traveling with kids is not the same as traveling with adults. Kids may find some activities like taking a long bike ride too difficult. Be sure that the activities you choose are kid friendly and flexible. Additionally, consider booking hotels with a pool as an added perk for the kids. As you plan, talk to your kids about what they'll do and see when they get there as well.
Visit the Doctor Early Before You Go
While many locations in Asia may not require additional vaccinations, it's in your best effort to visit with your and your children's physical to be sure. Keep in mind that some vaccinations must be administered in rounds and can take some time so it's best to make your appointment several weeks before your trip. While you may not need any vaccinations depending on where you're traveling, visiting with your doctor before you go can give you peace of mind that your family is healthy and ready for travel.
When traveling with kids, packing light can seem like an impossible task. There are of course many things that you'll need, but try your best to stick to the essentials. Choose clothing that's light and creates space in your luggage. Also, choose items that are easy to wash and re-wear, or consider the fact that you may buy more clothing when you're there. Additionally, when it comes to packing entertainment items for the kids, stick to simple items like card games and a Kindle or tablet.
Bring Sunscreen and Mosquito Repellent
If you're headed to more tropical countries, mosquitos are common and can bring malaria with them. You'll want to make sure that you have insect repellent handy. Sunscreen is also an important item to pack. While you may be able to find sunscreen locally, it will likely have ingredients you and your kids aren't used to and the SPF may be much lower than what you can find in the U.S. Additionally, having these items already on hand can save you time by not having to search them down later.
Leave the Stroller at Home
While strollers may seem like a good idea, many places in Asia are not pedestrian friendly and the streets have rough and bumpy surfaces. You're better off packing a quality carrier if you have a baby or toddler in tow. Not only does this allow for more convenient travel, but your child can sleep or rest while you sightsee.
Pack Diapers and Wipes
While these items may take up more room in your luggage, they tend to be a luxury in some parts of Asia, so the cost can add up if you need to buy locally. They can be easier to find in resort areas and bigger cities, but the sizing and brands tend to be different. Moving to wipes and diapers of lower quality can lead to allergic reactions or irritations. Additionally, as you use up the diapers and wipes that you packed, you leave room in your bags for the extra clothes or knick-knacks you purchase and want to bring home.
Have an Emergency Kit
It's always best to plan for emergency situations and inevitable accidents. Similar to sunscreen and insect repellent, antibacterial cream and other items can be purchased locally, but keep in mind that these products may include ingredients that you don't normally use. When preparing your emergency kit, consider including hand sanitizer, travel sickness medicine or bands, bandaids, antibiotic ointment, and antibacterial cream. Also, consider other safety measures like placing a lanyard around your child's neck with emergency information.
Swap Out the Diaper Bag for a Multi-use Backpack
When you travel, you'll likely be moving around frequently. Instead of carrying a diaper bag, consider taking a multi-use backpack. This allows you to bring the pack along on day trips or visits to the beach. Be sure to find one that has pockets in multiple sizes and has a special place to store electronics like phones, laptops, and tablets.
Bring a Travel Crib or Foam Mattress
Bringing a travel crib provides a safe a secure place for your baby if you're traveling with one. When traveling, you might find yourself moving between hotels or resorts, and having a designated sleeping spot for your child can help with consistency. Additionally, these items make a great playpen or mat that can be used when you're relaxing in your room or need a secure place for the baby to stay while you hop into the shower.
Pack Reusable Water Bottles
Many people recommend steering clear from drinking tap water while traveling in Asia. This can require you to purchase several plastic water bottles to use. Bringing a large reusable water bottle can help to cut down on the amount of plastic you use as well as reduce the number of bottles you need to carry with you as you travel.
Bonus tip: Be Flexible and Have Fun
The most important thing to remember as you plan to travel to Asia with kids is to have fun and be flexible. You may have a detailed plan of what you'd like to do and see while you're there, but your kids may have other ideas or simply need a day to recoup. Don't be afraid to scrap your plan, catch a movie, or head outdoors to burn off some energy. There are plenty of family-friendly activities to enjoy in Asia so it's ok to change plans and take on a different adventure.
Checklist: 10 Things to Know Before Traveling to Asia With Kids
- Plan ahead
- Visit the Doctor early before you go
- Pack light
- Bring sunscreen and mosquito repellent
- Leave the stroller at home
- Pack diapers and wipes
- Have an emergency kit
- Swap out the diaper bag for a multi-use backpack
- Bring a travel crib or foam mattress
- Pack reusable water bottles
- Bonus tip: Be flexible and have fun!
While the thought of traveling to Asia as a family may seem daunting, it's certainly not impossible. With these ten tips listed here and a little planning ahead, traveling to this continent can be fun for everyone and create memories that last a lifetime.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Ground Picture/Shutterstock.com.