Traveling with the kids – Yay or Nay?

When you think of travelling and holidays, what comes to mind?

Warm sandy beaches, relaxing spa visits, lying by the poolside deck, trying out exotic local food, late night shopping?

I hate to burst your bubble but when you add kids to the travelling equation,  you’ll never utter relaxing and holiday in the same sentence again. For those with young kids, you’ll probably agree that just the thought of packing for them is enough to exhaust you before the trip because we all know that the younger the child, the bigger the suitcase. Not only do you have to pack their milk powder, bottles and sterilising tablets, there’s also the diapers, countless changes of clothes and baby food.

Speaking of baby food,  on our first overseas trip to Penang when Sophie was 10 months, hubby was so worried that she’ll not have anything suitable to eat that he made me pack a slow cooker. Yes, you heard me a slow cooker, along with my fruit knife, carrots, potato, broccoli and rice. While I did cook her porridge, I also convinced hubby that we can buy bottled baby food from the supermarket and mix it with porridge or rice with soup. It’s okay!

Anyway after a few family holidays to KL, Penang and Bintan, Alexis decided that we should lay off family holidays until Sophie is older to appreciate the places we’re taking her too. Plus the logistics traveling with a child is just too much of a headaches, watching her nap time, bed time, meal times, … you get the idea.

And so for the past two years, we’ve been doing a bit of traveling on our own to Bangkok and Korea while Sophie is left in the good hands of her grandmothers. I know that it’s not an arrangement that a lot of moms can find, so we’re very grateful to our moms.

Even though I’ve enjoyed all our couple holidays, I think I’m prepared for just a bit more hassle so that we can go for our family holiday together with Sophie. After all, the memories of a family holiday will be a deposit in our memory banks which cannot be bough by money.

A friend recently reminded me this quote from the movie, Lilo and Stitch, “‘Ohana means family. Family means no one is left behind – or forgotten.” And yes, no one will be forgotten for our up-coming holiday.

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Now let's hear your take on this topic. Cast your vote below.

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Drop by my blog again this Saturday and see what other parents feel about travelling with their kids.

See my earlier post on holidaying without my baby.

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  1. littlebluebottle November 14, 2012 at 11:45 am Reply

    Hey I did the same slow cooker thing too! When K was 11 months and we went to BKK.

    We have now embraced holidays with the little ones. I think it’s hectic but fun too! We’ve decided that we’d only take couple holidays when the kids are older.

    • Susan November 14, 2012 at 2:01 pm Reply

      I always tell my hubs that when Sophie is older, we can send her for a camp and we can go for our Europe holiday that I always dream of.

  2. San November 14, 2012 at 11:47 am Reply

    Definitely a YAY from me. I’ve brought Jay to Bali and Malaysia and Bangkok, and would love to also go for a trip to HK soon. The bonding on the trips are priceless!

    Yes, the packing is a huge headache, but I think worth it! (P.S. Leave the slow cooker at home la… bottled baby food is fine! Hahaha…)

    • Susan November 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm Reply

      Yes I’ve become wiser after that incident. Sounds so silly thinking back. Hehe.

  3. E November 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm Reply

    I voted “no,” but I really meant not till they’re a bit older. 😛

  4. Dominique@Dominique's Desk November 14, 2012 at 12:03 pm Reply

    We have done both travelling with kids and without kids on holidays and it’s certainly easier to pack when it is just us travelling. However I disagree that it is a hassle and for us there is no need to pack the slow cooker and stuff as there are packet baby food etc which you can bring along. Also if you are breastfeeding exclusively and the baby is less then 6 months old there is no need to even pack food for the baby.
    You will get used to it in time with/without the kids. I’ve bring the kids on holidays countless times and they are certainly looking forward to their upcoming trip.

    • Susan November 15, 2012 at 1:34 am Reply

      When Sophie was much younger, we took her to KL and it was easy as I could breastfeed on the go. But thinking back, the slow cooker was really unnecessary. Just making do with baby food would probably be the best.

  5. Angie November 14, 2012 at 12:55 pm Reply

    We’ve waited for 9 years before Dana came so we’ve travelled to far flung places as a couple. When the baby came into the picture, we switched to more family-friendly places. At 9 months, we brought Dana to Melbourne; subsequently, she’s also been to Adelaide and Gold Coast. We love Australia as it’s such a family-friendly country. Closer to home, we’ve brought Dana to Penang (her daddy’s hometown!), KL (where her cousins live); Bali & Bintan (resort stays), Hong Kong (Disneyland and OceanPark), Bangkok & Phuket (short getaways). Next month, we are headed to Korea for a winter vacation which she’s requested. It’s exhausting to travel with a kid but the family memories forged are priceless. We will continue to travel with her as long as our resources allow 🙂

    • Susan November 15, 2012 at 1:38 am Reply

      Wow sounds like a well travelled family 🙂 Its great to have our kids with us when we travel so that we can share the beautiful memories of the countries visited. I think it’s also lowering expectations that we can’t go to very far countries or have a packed itinerary.

  6. June November 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm Reply

    Hey Susan, I think there’s a time for both (traveling alone, or travelling with kids), though I must say when the kids are younger, it’s cheaper but more of a hassle. There are probably only a handful of places I would go to with babies/toddlers in tow. So…my vote goes to “maybe when they’re older”! 😛

    • Susan November 15, 2012 at 1:39 am Reply

      I know. What’s more you have two under 4 years old kids! Definitely will be more challenging.

  7. Ai Sakura November 14, 2012 at 1:43 pm Reply

    We have traveled with Lil Pumpkin countless times and do really enjoy it. I love bringing her to places that the boy and I have grown to love, and to show her where we first met, where we enjoyed watching the autumn leaves fall, where we studied etc. Even if it’s a new place, I love exploring it with her and building memories too. It may be more expensive and be a bit more of a hassle with a young child, but it’s an experience that I love. She may be too young to remember, but I certainly do.

    Of course, there are times where you need a trip with just hubs alone to build and nurture on your relationship and that’s perfectly fine too! Like June said, there’s a time for both 🙂

    • Susan November 15, 2012 at 1:40 am Reply

      Fully agree!

  8. Rina November 14, 2012 at 1:43 pm Reply

    I am open with holidaying with kids. In fact that is what we have been doing since we don’t have that ‘luxury’ arrangement like yours 🙁 My mom is not the kind who will be happily taking care of her grandsons while giving me and husband private time to relax on our own.
    Next year we are looking at Genting for holiday with the boys. We had our honeymoon there (and KL) and we think it would be fun for the kids.

    • Susan November 15, 2012 at 1:42 am Reply

      Genting is a family friendly place. If you have time, can go to the water theme park in Sunway Lagoon too.

  9. Double Ls Mom November 14, 2012 at 2:54 pm Reply

    My hubby loves holidaying with our kids; we do it a couple of times a year, going to place as far as Australia. I remembered my son was only 2 months old when we brought him on a road trip to Malaysia with my elder daughter. I like travelling as a family but travelling with very young kids also makes me a little ‘short-fuse’, that I must admit.

    • Susan November 15, 2012 at 1:43 am Reply

      Exactly my hubby’s point about me being short-fused (whoops) , hence the decision to lay off the family holidays.

  10. Adeline November 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm Reply

    Hey Susan! In my entire 12 years of motherhood, there was only one occasion where I left the kids behind to follow hubs to KL for a 2 day biz trip. They were then 3 and 1 year old. A handful if you asked me to bring them along while I had to manage alone. After which all other annual trips were revolved around them. As long as there’s at least a day for them to enjoy – theme parks, farm stay, swimming at a resort, we’re more than happy to take them travelling. Always challenging but hey, the family sticks together. 🙂

  11. Kless November 14, 2012 at 5:58 pm Reply

    I think travelling with the kids is always fun, but comes with super a lot of tiredness and frustrations too, especially when the kids get overly excited and hyper! So, to get the best of both worlds, I’ve decided that for every future holiday with my kids, I’m bringing along one grandparent. haha!

  12. Adora November 14, 2012 at 9:31 pm Reply

    We used to travel quite a bit before the kids. After Poppy I went for two all-mums-no-kids holiday while hubby watched Poppy. Hub and I went for a mini weekend getaway while we were on a big trip visiting his family in Canada (my MIL watched Poppy) but that’s it. Other than that, it’s all been with the kids. Actually I kinda can’t imagine having a holiday without them now. Maybe when they are older we’ll feel less guilty about leaving them behind 🙂 Maybe when we’re I dunno, RETIRED???

    • Susan November 15, 2012 at 1:50 am Reply

      Gosh Adora, that sounds like a lifetime away!

  13. SengkangBabies November 14, 2012 at 9:53 pm Reply

    Yay for us.
    Actually we are not sure how we survive all the trips with kids, we just adapt along the way. Our itinerary is very flexible, and we always have a Plan B.

    It is tiring, but totally worthwhile 🙂
    Will go for couple trips again when kids reach their teens ..

  14. Edlyn November 14, 2012 at 10:32 pm Reply

    I think it depends on where, and how old or how many kids there are! LOL. (Oh, and maybe even the temperament of the kid?)

  15. The Kam Family November 14, 2012 at 10:38 pm Reply

    YAY for us!

    We have traveled with two kids to a few places, Hong Kong, China (when my girl was only 8 months, and we were there for 10 days), Malaysia (KL, Penang, Malacca, Cameron). No issue with us. We get very relax with their meals and their sleeping time. We don’t rush back to hotel for them to nap, we don’t cook food, we don’t bring steriliser (just rinsed with hot water), just try to be relax so the kids can enjoy their holiday too 🙂 Packing wise, we also have no problem. We went HK for 4 days with a cabin sized luggage for the 4 of us, hehe 🙂

    • Susan November 15, 2012 at 1:51 am Reply

      Very relaxed travellers. I like your chills attitude and should take a leaf off you.

  16. lisacng @ November 15, 2012 at 5:17 am Reply

    You are so right, the younger the baby, the more stuff you pack. I don’t mind packing so much now that our son is 2-yr old. We took a family vacation over the summer to the beach. The hardest part was coordinating what to do with our dogs! We haven’t done any couples vacations yet, but are considering it.

    • Susan November 17, 2012 at 1:39 am Reply

      You should go on a couple holiday if you can find someone to take care of J and the dogs. As a working mom, we totally should get some time off with the hubby and simply relax.

  17. Jacqeline November 15, 2012 at 6:08 pm Reply

    I brought a “cooker” and rice too when I brought my son who was 13 months old when we went to Taipei last year. Well, I can only say, we only used the cooker once and it was totally not necessary. And we are bringing him (now 2.5 yo) and our daughter (13 months) to Hong Kong next month. Please pray for us… Hahahaha… But I’m not going to bring cooker or food (except for rice cereal and milk powder) anymore. I think they can survive eating outside.

    I was struggling between the yes and no.. cause really the hassle of bringing them give me headaches. I’m starting to worry about how to get them to sleep at night in an unfamiliar environment. But in the end I chose Yes. Cause there is still the joy with them around. And i think i will miss them if I don’t see them.. hahahaha… 😛

    • Susan November 17, 2012 at 1:40 am Reply

      Yes, I do agree that most times the memories together with the family is ALL worth it.

  18. Stephanie November 16, 2012 at 3:11 pm Reply

    My husband and I have only taken one overnight trip just the two of us… it was for a wedding we were attending, and the hotel had a fire evacuation from midnight-2 am so our overnight getaway was not all that relaxing! 😛 Otherwise, we have always taken vacations with our girls… mostly road trips with a few trips by airplane. It’s definitely challenging traveling with kids, but the family memories together are precious!

  19. Candice November 16, 2012 at 5:12 pm Reply

    I have only brought my son on short trips so far. Yes, the stuff we bring along is scary! We used the huge-ass luggage meant for long-haul trips for a 3-days trip to BKK.

    My daughter, at only 6 months old now, has been prohibited from traveling by my mum. Haha!

    My husb and I went Italy without the son and before my daughter arrived. I missed my son so much my husb had to try to get tickets to come back earlier. It’s tough!

    • Susan November 17, 2012 at 1:44 am Reply

      How many days was that trip to Italy? We did 8 days to Korea before and thankfully, we all survived the separation anxiety. The upcoming trip will also be 8 days, so we should all pas this separation test again.

      • Candice November 17, 2012 at 10:31 pm Reply

        i think it was about 12 or 14 days. my criteria for getting our apartments was wifi so that i can do face-time with my son. we mommies are such contradictions – want me-time but cannot stop thinking about our children.

  20. […] for our first family holiday after one and a half year hiatus.  As I’ve mentioned in my previous post,  we found it really troublesome to bring Sophie along for holidays as we’re always worried […]

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