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The original world nomad "Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance." - Confucius.

(More) travel with Children

INDONESIA | Sunday, 7 January 2007 | Views [4342] | Comments [2]

The boys playing with whatever is to hand; in this case Mum's hat and shoes.

The boys playing with whatever is to hand; in this case Mum's hat and shoes.

Our boys are now aged 2 and 4 and are, well, quite a handful. At their worst they grow horns or worse, but they often just buzz, like flies, that you can't swot away. Much more demanding than at this time last year.

If that sounds harsh then you either:

    1. don't have children or
    2. don't have two energetic boys.

    Everything is so hit or miss and unpredictable it is almost impossible to actually plan! It's hard as hell to even plan the simplest things. Sometimes they eat everything on the table leaving Mum and Dad with the scraps, other times they pick at their food and we end up with too much and have to take it back to our room. Sometimes they walk, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they want to explore, sometimes they don't. Sleeping patterns all over the place and neither has learnt to rest during the hottest time of the day between 11am and 2pm meaning they are often too tired to try anything at the end of the day. They always seemed to find each new place super-exciting as it was somewhere new to explore and hurtle around. This also means they can't can't settle (sleep) too easily but within a few days this wears off and things become a little more manageable.

    One of the great disappointments of travel with young children is the near impossibility to sit and read quietly or write a diary or even write postcards home. With two vivacious energetic boys demanding constant attention, there is certainly no time during the day and by the time they go to sleep I am drained of all other energy, let alone inspiration. Does it get easier as they get older? Anyone?

    But they both like travel and exploring so we should be thankful for that I suppose.

    But for those interested, here are some additional tips we have learnt from this trip. These are very personal for our circumstances and won't apply to anyone but we hope they might be useful to other travelling families out there:

    I take my small travel laptop stuffed full of movies and photos. This have proved much more useful on this trip than last year, particularly on flights with no in-flight entertainment system and for those hot afternoons when you just want them to rest quietly. Perhaps inevitably, the bag of toys (trains and lego) has become significantly less used than last year.

    The only down side is that some of the great times of old are simply disappearing, I suppose replaced with new ones. Before the advent of laptops with DVD's we sometimes went to local cinemas in Thailand and China and watched local language films on hard benches with the local children. The plots and films were often so ridiculous you certrainly didn't need translation but the experience was certainly memorable. While DVD's provide good easy entertainment, especialy when travelling with children, there is certainly some loss of connection to the local community that we had before.

    Well, we're half way there. With Riu (4) fully toilet trained the quantity of nappies wasn't quite the problem it was last time when they filled almost half our luggage. Kai (2) uses less too and is now off formula and onto plain milk which again makes things miles easier.

    The food in Bali is never a problem but the timing of getting them to eat can be. We found having several plastic lunch boxes very handy for when they are too distracted to eat breakfast but are damn hungry by 11am when you are in the middle of nowhere. We often secreted away half the toast from breakfast which was perfect. A couple of plastic picnic plates to cut up fresh mango's on isn't a bad idea also.

    Another handy item this time was a TUBE of Vegemite, which we found a great supplement at breakfast to replace those horrible little packets of jam you get everywhere that are a disaster with sticky fingers.

    Water. You need tons of it. And even here in respectable Bali, you can't rely on the stuff that comes out of the taps to even brush your teeth. We must have bought perhaps 4 x 1.5lt bottles a day, often more. However, we also brought along a nice colourful water bottle for each of the boys that we took absolutely everywhere and these were priceless in avoiding any potential sickness.

Tags: adventures, challenge, family, travel with children



Your trip with children sounds very brave.
When i was travelling with children started at 3 &5, were no where near as adventerous as you with the types of countries you are travelling. But yes, it was a challenges. Exhausting, demanding and frustrating. Now my children our 23 and 20 and I wonder where the time went. Because of their travelling their thinking is so broad and accepting of others. My daughter, 23, has been travelling since she left school at 18 and has seen some amazing places in the world.
When I read your comments it brought it all back to me - but someone said to me once on my travells regarding children - the days drag and the years fly...... oh so true. savor every moment if you can. it great you document it as then you never forget it. I didn't.

  Ruth Woods Jan 18, 2007 6:01 AM


Ha! Ha! My boys are now 10 and 11 and you described them to a tee when they were 4 and under. We always joked and said they were like Texas cockroaches when the lights went out, anywhere and everywhere within seconds. It does get better. I promise. Safe travels!

  Julie Jan 17, 2014 8:14 PM

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