Travelling with Family

Feeling: Rested, not rested

*Picture heavy post ahead!*

So we went on holiday last week!

It wasn’t a particularly eventful holiday. The food poisoning hadn’t quite gone away and I was having trouble stomach-ing a lot of food (which is devastating since we went to Penang – land of hawker fare), and we did get a bit of precipitation over the last few days we were away, but overall, it was pleasant. we did things, saw things, went places and the bub got to sit on his very first plane ride!

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It wasn’t quite a trip of exciting proportions, but I’m certain that we did stuff that will remain in our memories for a while to come.

At least for the adults anyway.

One thing we brought back from our family holiday this time around was that when your baby becomes a toddler, the overseas trip really isn’t for you anymore as much as it becomes for your child.

It’s been a big debate for me and the hubs though – would bringing our child for overseas holidays and trips at such a young age really be beneficial for them? I mean, what are the chances that your baby is going to remember that they went to this place and saw this or that when they are much older?

When we were much younger, we were both lucky enough to have gone our own individual family trips to places like the States, Europe, around Asia…  We were truly blessed little kids that’s for sure.

But we barely remember the details of the trip. Merely that we went there. Certain aspects like running into an onsen in the snow for my hubs and buying a Tamagotchi in Austria with some gift money from my aunt are particularly highlights for us, but the museums, the plays, most of the sights.. they’re all a blur.

It’s all about the fact that we’ve got different priorities at different stages of our lives.

I mean, take for example, this trip. We visited quite a number of places with cultural significance. While we, the adults learnt stuff, I’m pretty sure that the bub really wasn’t as impressed with the architecture or conservation efforts of the area quite as must as we were.

Observe:

  1. Instead of pondering the significance of all these friendship bears gathered internationally to be displayed at this one spot at the Esplanade Padang, the bubby was way more interested in playing with the huge soap bubbles that people were blowing in the field.
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  2. Instead of marveling at the view or the workmanship of a 35-metre high bronze statue of the Goddess of Mercy, Guan Yin at the Kek Lok Si temple, the bub was more enraptured with the millions of turtles in the dirty, tepid water at the Liberation Pond, deep in the bowels of the temple.blog-compare-3
  3. Instead of being amazed at the history and architecture at the Cheong Fatt Tse Peranakan Blue Mansion, the kiddo was more interested in running away from Papa on its 100-year old hardwood floors and climbing up and down the opulent staircase.
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But he was happy with all of that. And times like this, I thank God that we are truly blessed to have a child that is easily amused with simple things like this. Although we did suffer a couple of times when he showed his displeasure for the long commentary from our tour guides.

An easy child is not a perfect child after all.

But moving on, there are still yet other considerations to think about when you bring the kids on a holiday.

There’s obviously the money and hassle issue.

We are actually contemplating a big trip to Japan in 2019. Rugby world cup, yo. And while we are thinking about bringing the bub to watch can international match in an atmosphere that is impossible to replicate, we’re deathly afraid of the costs of flight tickets and all of the additional fees not to mention the extra baggage that we’d have to bring on the trip in order to ensure the kids have the things they need to survive the holiday.

We made the most out of our bub’s age to snag him a lap-seat, i.e. seated in my lap, for the duration of the trip because under the age of 2, you don’t necessarily have to buy your kids a seat on the flight.

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And of course at this age, they don’t really take up that much space in your hotel room – you don’t have to worry about having to bring in n extra mattress or pull out bed for them to sleep on just yet.

Granted that while we saved money doing this, the extra effort you have to put in in order to cater a holiday for a child is certainly worth considering when you plan a vacation.

Food, entertainment especially – how do you find food they will eat? And you’ll need an arsenal of tools to keep an inquisitive 2 year old occupied too in most cases.

I mentioned there was rain too right? It’s no joke trying to find things for the bub to do when you’re cooped up in a hotel with no kids’ program. We ran up and down the hotel corridors a number of times and I’m pretty sure we’ve explored pretty much all inches of the Hotel Bintang Penang.

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And when there wasn’t rain, we’re pretty blessed that despite our lack of planning, we found little nooks that offered us kid-friendly fun while being sufficiently entertaining for the adults as well.

Note to the wise: always have a wet weather plan for your holidays when you go somewhere. I’ve been hearing good things about club med for their kids programs because everything is all-inclusive and all-contained within the premises of their hotel property.

We are double (or are we at triple?) -ey blessed too that our bub is a pretty good eater too! Not too much fuss and muss from him when it came to trying out hawker fare here and as long as there isn’t too much spice or chilli, he was game enough to eat. And eat with GUSTO to boot!

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All these extra things that we need to consider because our kids are coming with us could give us an immense amount of stress if we don’t manage our expectations right.

For us, when we went on this trip, we were playing our daily activities by ear mostly, which isn’t quite the way that things should be done. Again, at the end of the day, all we can hope for is that the trip ends up being uneventful yet unforgettable for everyone going. Maybe even to the point that every second of your trip to the place is etched in our minds forever if possible…

The truth of it is that with kids.. the holiday is hardly the most exciting thing to happen to them for the week, much less the rest of their lives.

I mean, they’ve got different priorities and they don’t quite understand the concept of what ‘taking a break’ is since the rest of their lives is mostly fun and games too.

Our holiday plans have changed enough that we can’t afford to just laze around on the pool and soak up the sun; it’s hardly being able to go clubbing and drinking, or taking the roller coaster rides of our yesteryear quite yet, but there’ll be holidays aplenty in the future for that!

After all, despite all the concerns that we have about whether these family trips are truly going to make an impression on our baby, I dare say that whatever happens on our holiday, it’ll still end up being a break from reality for the adults – something well deserved on our part anyway!

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Even if it isn’t quite the holiday that we envisioned for ourselves without the kids in tow, it’s a break from work still, and getting to see and explore a new area with a child makes the experience DIFFERENT in a certain way too.

Taking a bit more time to explain what’s going on and what he’s seeing in the world around him, making plans to go to places that we wouldn’t normally go to on a normal week… Doing something special together is really all the kids want right?

I’m reminded that I need to forget about all the things that stand to make a decision to go on holiday complicated and remember that at the end of the day, you only have so many opportunities to go somewhere new and do something different.

So here’s hoping that there’ll be plenty more family trips like this in the future. Come what may, as long as the family that holidays together loves each other and is committed to having the best time they can possibly have, you could have fun no matter what you end up doing 🙂

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Dreaming of Jetsetting,
Jess

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