10 Travel Tips for Asia with a Toddler and a Baby
We recently traveled through multiple locations in South East Asia with a toddler and a baby, and I have to admit I had my reservations when it came to how to do it safely with super young children. However I am happy to say that we have been with both our three month old and two and a half year old, and we had an amazing time and you can too! Keep reading for some practical travel tips for Asia with a toddler and a baby. These are tips and must-haves when it comes to travelling this part of the world with young kids.
While you are here, don’t miss our five tips for travelling with babies and toddlers to help keep your sanity!
1. Leave the stroller at home
Streets in a vast majority of places through Asia are not pedestrian friendly, much less pram friendly! You will find yourself in riskier situations by trying to get around cars parked on the sidewalk (if there is one) or attempting to cross a busy street while pushing your pram on a bumpy road. Which takes us to our next point.
2. Babywear and toddlerwear
Get yourself a carrier! Typically known as a must have for infants, they turn out to also be must haves for toddlers. I easily carried our 3 month old for a great portion of our trip. He was able to nap and comfortably breastfeed while on the go. For the older babies, you can get toddler sized carriers that allow you to comfortably carry a toddler from 18 months to 4+ years. This is great as it means sightseeing doesn’t have to end when little legs get tired. Our almost 3 year old can comfortably nap while being carried which means we don’t have to make a trip back to our accommodation if we don’t want to or is not convenient to do so. It also means that you are keeping them close and safe when visiting very busy places such as markets or temples.
3. Pack as many nappies and wipes as you can
In general, availability of nappies and wipes wasn’t a problem for us however we do like to consider the following. These items are luxuries in some parts of Asia so the cost will also reflect that, so packing them help us keep some costs down. The quality and materials used will probably be different than back home so by packing a few days worth you will have enough extras so you can try one local brand and make sure your little one doesn’t have a reaction to them. Also, as you use them the room in your suitcase or backpack frees up so you have room for those extra purchases you make along the way.
4. Sunscreen for you, sunscreen for the baby, sunscreen for everyone!
The ingredients of products can vary from country to country and sunscreen is one of them. In some Asian countries they still utilize ingredients that are now banned for use in Australia. We played it safe and brought with us as much as we thought we’d need.
5. The just-in-case kit
For the same reasons as above, I recommend you pack your infant and kid friendly basic pain reliever, teething gel and antibacterial cream. Hopefully you won’t need these but if you do, you will at least know what it is exactly that you are giving your little ones. It also saves you from having to rush out to find these items in a foreign place where you might not be understood.
6. Rehydration salts (at a risk of sounding like a negative Nancy)
I may pack next to nothing for me but I will pack everything health related for the kids. On our first trip to Bali Javi caught the infamous Bali belly. Luckily the oral rehydration salts were there to the rescue…and then later they also came in handy for the rest of us…and then again in Thailand a year later. Super handy I tell you!
7. Ditch the nappy bag
We are very active during our travels and spend most of our time at the beach. A nappy bag has never been something convenient to bring along. Instead bring a light weight backpack that can be multipurpose instead. Look for something sturdy with separate compartments and zips. You can find some with a laptop pocket where to secure your phone, camera and kindle. Believe it or not, one back pack (and a relatively small one at that) single handedly fit all we needed for both our little boys for those long day trips.
8. Foam mattress
On our last trip through Asia we debated whether or not to bring our portacot. We ended up doing something untested which was to just bring a foam mattress instead. I’m telling you this was one of the best packing decisions in the history of packing. Lugging around a 10+ kg portacot would have made those travel days quite the struggle. We found a foam mattress had so many benefits. First of all it weighs next to nothing so it is super easy to transport. It can also be used in the accommodations portacot to make it more comfortable for your little one or as a soft play mat for the baby to chill on. When bedtime came round we used it for either the baby or the toddler to sleep on.
While most airlines include free check in of a pram, many do not include free check in of portacots. As we all know, excess baggage on flights can be quite expensive making this tip a real money saver.
9. The T- word
Unless you have access to a kitchen, you will be spending a lot of time in restaurants and cafes. We prefer to use technology minimally and choose places where there is the option to let our toddler explore a garden or play in the sand. However as that is not always possible, when your kid won’t give crayons or stickers a second look and his favourite activity of all involves running in the opposite direction, a tablet loaded with cartoons is definitely the way to go. Also super handy for when you are yet in another flight and just need to keep them in their seat for a little bit longer. You can also download age appropriate apps and games to get them engaged.
10. Relax and hand over the baby
A beautiful thing in places like Thailand and Indonesia is the people’s love of babies and kids. So please do not be surprised if people come over to meet the baby. Most importantly, don’t be alarmed if they also attempt to pick up or take a photo of said baby.
I have to admit I felt very hesitant at first as a complete stranger stretched out their arms for my little bundle and I kindly declined the offer. However, by the end of our trip I was much more relaxed. The staff at the Beji Ubud Resort would frequently hold and play with our then 4 month old, while we ate our meals and devoted our attention to our toddler.
Have you been to Asia with kids?
Share with us your travel tips for Asia with a toddler and a baby below.
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