Dos and Don’ts for Your Child’s First Big Trip

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Like many expats in Bangkok, my husband and I have a serious case of the travel bug. When we found out we were moving to Thailand, we were giddy with excitement at the prospect of all the trips we could take. We envisioned dashing off for a romantic weekend in Bali, flying to Singapore to catch the latest touring Broadway show, or zipping over to Penang for street food and colonial charm.

Then reality happened.

Your child's first big trip

Let’s be real for a second here: It is not easy to travel with two small children. It is especially difficult if one of said children is little more than an infant, and the other is still angry about having to move to a foreign country and leave all her favorite friends and teachers behind. And while finding a babysitter for a romantic evening out on the town is fairly easy, finding a trustworthy person to watch the kids for days is never an easy task.

So for our first year here, my husband and I laid low. We took to exploring Bangkok’s charms and attractions, which, fortunately, are many. We let our kids get settled, find new friends, and grow just a bit older.

I’m glad we did. Our first family trip was a big success, despite a few minor bumps and hiccups along the way. Although not everything went perfectly, our kids had a good time and are excited to travel again in the future. Plus, we all had fun doing something new together, which was the most important thing.

Here are some of Dos and Don’ts to help you plan your family trip:

DO choose a destination that requires fairly minimal travel time, especially with very young children. One of the main goals of your first trip should be to convince kids that they actually enjoy doing this. A six-hour plane flight is not going to help with that.

DON’T stray too far from your own time zone. Kids may have slightly different sleeping schedules than adults, but they get jet lag too. Worse, really young children have a hard time understanding why they’re suddenly groggy/grumpy. Try to stay within two time zones to minimize adjustment.

DO your homework. Surprises are a lot easier to take when you’re traveling alone or as a couple. With kids in tow, you’re going to want all of the intel you can get. Call your friends, check your travel sites, read your guidebooks, and scout for possible pitfalls.

DON’T be afraid to change your plans. It’s important to come up with a pretty detailed itinerary, but it’s equally important to be flexible. Some of the best adventures are the ones you can’t expect.

DO laugh. Traveling with kids is tough, but it’s also funny. Sometimes those moments of laughter will stick with you long after you’ve forgotten exactly which museum or beach you went to on which day.

DON’T be afraid to try. Your children will surprise you endlessly and may be braver than you think.

Photo Credit: gregglesworth via Compfight cc

Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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