Some people will have you believe that travelling in South East Asia with kids is impossible and that it’s only for 20-somethings who’re fresh out of highschool. Not so! In fact, we think that travelling in a completely different part of the world would be the best thing for your kids. Seeing such different cultures and ways of life at an early age is definitely a positive and there is abundant research that shows that. We’ve found that travelling to unknown places has several benefits:
- Brings the family closer together, through good and bad
- Makes kids less scared of the unknown — since they’ve been to places that they didn’t even imagine, things that are unknown aren’t so scary any more
- Cultural appreciation — they’d be able to appreciate the differences between people as beautiful rather then divisive
With that said, however, you’re most likely coming from a different climate and culture so it pays to be prepared a bit more then if you’re going somewhere that’s two hours away by car. The pay off is worth it though, we promise.
So, here are our top 5 things to prepare when travelling with kids.
SE Asia is hot
Especially if you’re coming during the peak summer months, it’ll probably be 30+ degress throughout the day. Make sure to always have a bottle of water, or two, with you to avoid dehydration. We’d suggest getting separate bottles for the little ones and making them carry them, their responsibility. That way they have something they’re in charge of as well as being able to drink whenever they’re thirsty. You should also sample the local fruit that is delicious, nutritious and loaded with water content.
Secondly, the sun is strong throughout the day so we’d also recommend having sun screen on hand and reapplying regularly. You don’t have to get SPF100 or anything like that, but SPF8 with the spray nozzle works wonderfully. Whenever you take a break, spritz them, particularly on hands and face. Hats are also recommended.
SE Asia has mosquitos
Health-wise they aren’t that big of a deal, although I’m sure you’ve read horror stories. In reality they’re a mild annoyance. We’d still suggest mosquito repellent not during the day but for before sleep to make sure the kids are well rested and don’t stay up because of the buzzing or itching.
SE Asia culture is different
Make sure you read up on the stories of places that you visit so that you can explain to your children the significance of why it’s important/interesting to see things. You don’t have to be able to produce a PhD paper on them but being able to tell them about Buddhism for example will help them appreciate the culture as well as stay entertained.
SE Asia can be dirty
Depending on which places you go to, you can end up in some really less then clean areas. The chances of ending up with a dangerous illness are slim to none but a cold or a food poisoning incident can be inconvenient too. Carrying some hand sanitizer or wet wipes is a great way lower that risk.
You know best what your child’s stomach is like so make sure to visit places that are appropriate for the type of risk they can handle. We’ve seen kids on both sides of the spectrum: kids who could eat anything off the floor and never get sick and ones that get an upset stomach from eating toast at the hotel.
We also have to specially mention that food can be spicy and kids who haven’t grown up with it normally can’t handle it. Now, it’d be a shame if the kids don’t get to try spicy food, but only you would know how spicy they can handle. We do suggest that they at least try.
SE Asia is on the ocean
If you’re visiting the beach, remember that most beaches in this region are on the ocean. That also means that the current is much stronger and the waves can be bigger. Now, the benefit is that the ocean beaches taper off much slower so there is a lot of shallows but the waves can get quite rough especially if it’s windy. Also, because of the sun it’s recommended that you get swimming shirts for the beach instead of relying on sun block.
Most medicine here is prescription only and there are no pharmacies (or apotheke) so if your little ones are taking medication make sure to bring it along, with the prescription itself in case you get stopped at customs.