For our month-long trip to Thailand with a 10-month old and a 3 year old, I was desperate for practical information on travelling to Asia. Thailand is a really family-friendly destination and it was a brilliant adventure, but not the easiest travelling we’ve ever done with kids so young. So, for families planning a trip to Thailand, I’ve collated these handy nuggets of knowledge we picked up along the way…
Packing for Thailand with a baby and a toddler
- Pack as light as you can, you’ll want as little as possible when shlepping luggage onto long tail boats, taxis, ferries and Tuk Tuks.
- Don’t bother taking a car seat. It goes against your parental bones but you’ll be hard pressed to find a seatbelt to strap it into. Some taxis and Tuk Tuks have enough room to strap the baby into a buggy otherwise a baby sling can help make you and them feel more secure.
- Pack nappies and powdered baby formula if bottle feeding so you have enough to get by comfortably, but know that you can get both and plenty of other baby essentials in the many 7/11s dotted around the country.
- Pack baby snacks and lots of Ella’s pouches (or the cheaper Aldi ones!) – we found it hard to find healthy little nibbles for bubbas (if they’re not into fruit) or any kind of ‘Ella’s pouch’ type meal.
- Take a lightweight buggy for naps and a Koo-di sun and sleep cover for shade. Be aware though that pavements are rare on the islands.
- If you plan to spend a lot of time on the beach, a tent for shade is good for stationary bubbas. We didn’t bother as little one was far too mobile and would have pegged it out of there in a jiffy.
- Mosquito lotion is a must – you can get special stuff for kids and Incognito, an all natural deet-free one is great. We also tried the citronella rubber bands, which didn’t seem to work at all. Be sure to put your nets down at night if the hotel has them.
- Check ahead to see if your airline offers baby bassinets or seats for babies over 6 months. If they do, this CoziGo is brilliant – it fits perfectly over the airline bassinets providing a snuggly dark snooze area for babies. Great when aeroplane lighting totally goes against the actual hour of the day and bubbas need to shut off from all the excitement. If we ever go long haul again, I’ve totally got my eye on this JetKids Bed Box.
- Try and feed on take off or landing, or if they’re dummy lovers pop one in to avoid little ears popping.
- Take a direct, overnight flight if you can. We found it works far better with adjusting to a new time zone.
- If bottle feeding, pack a thermos with hot water – saves having to bug flight attendants every time your baby needs a formula feed. This is particularly useful if there’s turbulence as you’ll have to wait for the seat belt lights to be turned on before anyone can assist you.
- Pack new colouring and sticker books, snacks, an iPad, new small toys – the novelty will keep toddlers entertained longer. Check out Pinterest for inflight children’s entertainment inspiration.
- Families are given priority in Thailand and you’ll be regularly sent to the front of the queue if you’re travelling with kids – always an extremely welcome gesture!
Getting around Thailand with a baby and a toddler
- Getting around is super easy and everything is so well geared up for tourists. Taxis and Tuk Tuks are everywhere and ferries and speed boats go to other islands daily.
- Go slow! Factor in rest days or an overnight hotel after big travel days rather than trying to do it all in one go, it’ll help the children adjust to the timezone change and give you the energy to transport them to the next destination!
Thailand day to day
- Use bottled water for washing bottles and making formula.
- Make sure you have travel insurance. Our 10-month old got a bacterial infection during our trip – cue clinics, ambulances, private taxis to the mainland and a stay in hospital plus loss of pre-paid hotels, which all racked up. It was all paid for directly by our insurance which took extra unwanted stress out of the situation.
- Stay somewhere with easy access to the mainland like Khao Lak or Koh Lanta in case you need a paediatric doctor. There are excellent drop-in clinics, but it was still a 2-hour ambulance ride to one in Trang from Koh Lanta and I was glad we weren’t more remote.
- Find a restaurant with a little pagoda-type eating area, they’re brilliant for kids and act as kind of child’s entertainment pen.
- Book a place with a pool. In the heat of the day the sand can get really hot so it’s great to have somewhere to cool kiddos down. It also provides hours of entertainment especially if they’re of an age where they can be let loose under a watchful eye.
- Baby changing tables are scarce, which is tricky if your offspring have unleashed the fury inside their nappy and you’re unable to lay them down…
- High chairs are also rare commodities. If your babe is as wriggly as ours you’ll find yourself blessing the places who posess the beloved Ikea chairs, as opposed to the rickety wooden accident-waiting-to-happen ones.
- Thai people ADORE kids and our two became tiny celebrities with people wanting to hold, play, cuddle and photograph them. This was lovely most of the time (especially when the doctors and nurses entertained our 3-year old during our hospital stay), although the cheek-grabbing and picture taking can get a bit weird sometimes.
- Western food is easy to find for fussy palettes.
Have you got any tips for travelling with young children to Thailand? Please share them below.
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