As schools come to the end of the academic year, I know I am not alone in getting ready for the joys that the summer holiday brings- juggling work with childcare, keeping the children entertained, making play dates (because you know how much they miss their friends when they don’t see each other for like 12 hours!🙄) and of course ensuring that you’ve remembered all the things to pack in your luggage for the all important summer holiday!
This year, we are going on a holiday to Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia. That means being prepared for everything I could possibly think of. We’ve been to Singapore before so we know what to expect with Singapore, but Vietnam and Malaysia are firsts for us so it’s all about planning and preparation. I’ll try to keep this short so it doesn’t sound too exhausting.
Visa requirements: Please check the validity of your passport as some countries want more than 6 months before it expires. Check whether you need visas before you travel! For British citizens you don’t need a visa for Malaysia or Vietnam but it’s always a good idea to double check with the embassy.
Travel Insurance: We always buy travel insurance when we travel, and some U.K. banks offer this as part of their service so check with your bank. Ensure they cover all your family members and the country you’re going to. Check that there is health cover to include the cost of hospital stay, in the unlikely event that something happens.
Travel money: I normally use the internet to compare the best deal to buy foreign currency and then get it delivered. So shop around! Check with your bank about the exchange rate for using your credit card abroad as these little things add up. It is also a good idea to inform your bank that you will be travelling. I use Compare currency to fund a good deal, but there are so many more options available.
Holiday essentials: For my family, our essential list include the folllowing: Sunblock , insect/ mosquito repellent, hats , sandals (spare ones for the kids), sunsuits for the children (to protect their skin from sunburn whilst in the water), swim nappies (because they are better than normal ones for a pool or beach and so far I’ve not seen them in supermarkets in Singapore). I normally pack a few essential toys and book for the baby and take entertainment for my son, like a tablet, toys and books he enjoys (comic books at the moment). For myself I pack my essential makeup and skincare products (for my face). My hubby – well his essentials are mostly in the form of gadgets!
Travel health: Travel vaccines are advisable so check if you need them before you fly. Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia are fairly low risk for malaria, but do check before you travel whether you need them or not. Most importantly I take a medicine bag with things like paracetamol and ibuprofen (for adults and kids), loperamide, gaviscon (sachets), and an antihistamine of some kind. I also pack a little first aid kit, you can buy these at most pharmacies. My children suffer with eczema so I take a tube of hydrocortisone (prescribed) and their skin moisturiser (one I could use in the bath/ shower). I also pack a soothing cream in case they get bitten by mosquitoes.
The long haul flight: Between myself and my hubby, we take a few essentials for the plane. Our six year old son takes his own back pack with his “essentials”. Investing in children’s headphones 🎧 is a must, these are much more comfortable than bog standard plane ear plugs. I normally download movies, interactive apps with games( puzzles etc) on the tablet for my son. Most importantly, I pack a few snacks for him. I can entertain my daughter with a few key toys, her favourite book and also a few videos on the tablet.
I normally have a huge back pack for long haul flights , because I can take everything I need and it easy to carry as a back pack. I take a small push chair that can lay flat for the baby to sleep and can also folds down quite easily. I’ve had my current one for 5 years now!
In my back pack, I take pjs for myself and the kids so we can be comfortable on the plane (my hubby also packs his pjs). I take spare change of clothes for both children,(nappies and wipes of course) toothbrushes and toothpaste (some airlines will give you these but for the kids I’d rather give them their soft ones).
I always take a selection of snacks for the children and some drinks. My daughter still has a bottle so I take hers. She drinks normal milk so I buy little UHT packs at airport. There are various formula options at the airport too so we are spoilt for choice.
We are flying at 6pm so arriving at the airport early is essential since l’ll have to feed the children dinner before we get on the plane. The time you fly is important, night flights the children sleep and I don’t have to entertain them, day flights (in my opinion) are a bit tricky. There are several accessories you can buy to help make your kids journey more comfortable, for example, the Fly tot inflatable cushion that fits in the space between your seat and the one in front. This adds an “extension” to the seat so your children can be more comfortable. Once they are sorted hopefully you will be able to relax. Remember to stay hydrated during the flight and do some inflight exercises.
I hope you find this helpful. Enjoy your summer and look out for my next blog on things to do in Singapore with kids- a local perspective!