10 week trip with toddlers

Old Nov 2nd, 2005, 03:44 AM
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10 week trip with toddlers

Hi
can anyone help me please? my husband, two children (they will be 14months & 3years) and I are planning a 8-10 week trip next june,july august. we were thinking of exploring southeast asia but are not entirely sure which would be the safest locations (socially and from a health point of view). we would like to explore jungle, encounter wildlife, play on the beach etc is this kind of trip with toddlers advisable? any help or advise would be grately recieved. thanks
We are also thinking of other parts of the world so are open to suggestions.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2005, 04:39 AM
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IMHO I would not bring children of this age to SEAsia. First of all the long plane ride will be a problem for them. second the heat and humidity will also be a problem for them. Then there is the food- they will not be used to it.And there is always the chance they might eat something that would diagree with their system and then there goes your vacation!
If you have a choice-better to leave them with grandma-you and your husband will have a much better time in SE Asia without the kids. You can always bring them to Disney- which again IMHO they would enjoy a lot more anyway.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2005, 05:13 AM
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I suggest posting this question on the Lonely Planet's ThornTree, under "Kids to Go". If you take your children to the beaches in Thailand (Phuket, Ko Phi Phi, Ko Lanta), you will see many families with toddlers. We have traveled in SE Asia with slightly older children. If you are traveling with a 14 month old, I think that Thailand and Vietnam would be easier than, for example, Cambodia (with the exception of Siem Reap). You might also wish to consider Costa Rica - more expensive, but very safe, with jungles, mountains and beaches, and lots of tourists with small children.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2005, 05:47 AM
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One of the things to consider is that you don't want to go to malarial risk areas, as malaria can be deadly for children. Check the cdc website: www.cdc.gov/travel

Certainly many people travel to SE Asia with children (especailly to the beach areas) whether this would be a vacation for you depends on you and your children.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2005, 06:00 AM
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Hi - I couldn't leave my child with her grandparents for 10 days let alone 10 weeks!

Whilst I appreciate what Bill is getting at, I do think such a trip is do-able and would also enjoyable. I think the points he makes though are very valid and you do need to take them into account in planning your trip.

We live in the UK and are taking our 2 year old to Thailand next summer. We have travelled extensively through SE Asia (prior to having a child) and there are certainly some places that I wouldn't travel to with a toddler - I would be comfortable (from my own experiences) taking her to Thailand, Malaysia (peninsula), Singapore and Bali. However, within those countries would select my locations carefully - in particular avoiding malarial areas. We've been through some of the thought processes already about the whys and wherefores of this trip - so have set out my thoughts/tips below and hope some of it is helpful

As regards the length of the flight, we have a 12 hour direct flight from the UK - it is overnight and we have premium economy seats so a good deal of room for her to lie out as well. Where are you travelling from? If you are coming from the US then as Bill states, that is a really long plane ride. You might want to consider if it can be broken up at all - am sure the US posters here can help you with that. See also the postings on the forums I have recommended below on flying with kids - some great tips. Check out these pillows also - both for you and the kids - http://shop.thejetrest.com/acatalog/frameset.html

Heat and humidity - we are going to stay in aircon places and we are spending 3 weeks of our time on the beaches where it is more breezy (and also more fun for her - playing on the beach etc). Dehydration is obviously an issue for anyone in the heat but more of a concern with children and we are going to be very vigilant about Bella's water intake. Luckily, she is a complete water guzzler so hoping that shouldn't be a problem.

Food - we have introduced Bella to some Thai style dishes already, such as the fried rice, pad thai. In the countries I have listed above, western food is so readily available. You obviously need to take care where you eat - no hawker stalls, buffets, make sure all food is well cooked etc. In Thailand, in our experience there is always a dish on the menu without chilli in it (we travelled with a girl who hated hot food) and we don't plan on giving her chili as it would upset her stomach I think, being an irritant. Avoid ice in drinks and salads also - as local water may have been used. You can find out more about kids and food and drink in Thailand at http://www.thailand4kids.com/freestuff.html - there is a free leaflet you can download there on the matter. It is a really useful resource which we plan on taking with us. You may also want to consider that there is Avian flu in the area and whether the children should eat poultry and eggs. (NB - there is an extensive post on this board recently on this so take a look - especially at Kathie's advice. The US and UK governments are not currently advising to avoid eating poultry and eggs - just to check that it is well cooked but I mention it because you will probably see some posters saying they are not going to eat poultry and eggs.)

Illnesses - first sign, go to a doctor. Before we go, I am going to get names of recommended doctors and hospitals in each area we are staying in. You can never be too careful wherever you go - Bella got a food bug when we were in San Diego this summer and had to have medications prescribed. Do find out from your doctor as well what innoculations you and your children will need before you go.

A little bit more about what we are planning: this trip we are going for 5 weeks in July/August next year to Thailand for our wedding and honeymoon. We are travelling along fairly well trodden paths with good infrastructure and are staying in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Ko Samui and nearby islands. We have family with us for the first half of the holiday, then the wedding right in the middle, and are then with friends for the second half of the holiday.

In Bangkok we are staying (initially at least) at the Marriott Resort & Spa which has more of a resort feel than other hotels in Bangkok and is a good place for kids. We are not planning on taking Bella around the tourist sites but will take her out to eat or if we are going to one of the air conditioned malls. We have grandparents staying with us there so have onsite babysitters if we want to go see a site or do the legal stuff for our wedding. (NB at Marriott there is a kids club and babysitters). We are in Bangkok on 3 occasions throughout the holiday and on the other two occasions are also considering the Shangri La (where we have stayed lots of times before) and the Oriental.

In Chiang Mai, we are staying in air con places. We are staying a few days in the city and a few days out of the city (again in a more resort type of a place with pool and gardens etc). Whilst in Chiang Mai, we planning to take Bella to the elephant conservation centre at Lampang -http://www.changthai.com/ - you might want to check that out. My boyfriend and brothers will be going on a trek into the jungle/hills around Chiang Mai but we are not proposing to take Bella there. I've been on treks there in the past and it is very hot and humid with bugs and not really the place for one of her age I think.

Samui, Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Tao - in all these places, we are staying at places with air con and swimming pools that are on the beach as well. We've tried to pick places where reviewers on www.tripadvisor.com or www.sawadee.com have mentioned that there were other children and have avoided the exquisite romantic coupley places. These are all islands - we are flying to Samui on Bangkok Air but will be catching boats to Pha Ngan and Ko Tao so before we go, we are ordering Bella a special baby/toddler lifejacket.

I would recommend 2 other places to go for advice on the topic of travelling with children (I hope this doesn't offend the incredibly helpful fodorites, but both of the forums I am going to recommend are specifically focused on travelling with children).

1) Lonely Planet Kids To Go board: It is by far and away the best site for advice on taking children (and toddlers/babies) abroad (including SE Asia) and can be found at: http://thorntree.lonelyplanet.com/ca...s.cfm?catid=37. There are a good number of people with extensive experience of undertaking a trip such as the one you are proposing and, having done it themselves, can give you a realistic and informed opinion on the merits of such a trip and excellent planning advice. The board is not specific to SE Asia so you will find experience there of lots of different countries with kids.

2) Dea Birketts Travelling with Kids forum - http://www.deabirkett.com/.


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Old Nov 2nd, 2005, 06:33 AM
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Bella - what a great response! you've obviously done your homework!
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Old Nov 2nd, 2005, 06:45 AM
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Thanks Kathie - it is all from the internet. Such a fantastic resource - all the guidebooks are a bit lacking on this subject. I am an avid planner though - always looking for more tips so v interested in everyone's opinions on this subject
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Old Nov 2nd, 2005, 06:45 AM
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Yes my hat is off to you Bella. When my children were young we took them to Disney, when they reached teen status we ventured out to Eurpope with them.
Now that they are grown and out of the house we do Asia. Given the new concerns about avian flu in SE Asia I would still leave the kids behind- why risk it?
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Old Nov 2nd, 2005, 07:29 AM
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Re. the Avian fly thing - we are keeping our eye on this. Our view having researched this and looked at all the pages suggested by Kathie (who is measured, considered, informed and unhysterical about medical issues I think - hence the great advice) is that at the moment, the risks are extremely low as the virus is transmitting bird-human rather than human-human. If you look at the number of cases and fatalities, these are very low. If you also take into account the circumstances in which the sufferers developed the virus, well, we simply are not going to be undertaking such activities. We will of course take all the precautions suggested on the US CDC website and the UK Foreign Office website.

If this changes (i.e. it becomes human-human) or our government's advice changes, we will reconsider. However, in that circumstance it is likely to be a global pandemic so staying in the UK would not keep us safe from the virus at that juncture anyway.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2005, 04:39 PM
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We have a toddler as well and are headed to SE Asia with him in 2 weeks. We have traveled with him to Europe, the Middle East, and Canada and it definitely is an individual choice. It is less stressful to travel without the kids but we just enjoying spending time with him and going on these adventures together! Like Bella suggests, we are picking our spots very carefully (Malaysia, Singapore, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and maybe Bali--still deciding) and avoiding high malaria areas etc plus giving him the Hep A shot. It definitely asks for more planning and isn't easy for sure but we think its worth it--and hope that this trip will be fun! Bella, thanks for the advice on the lonely planet site--will check it out.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2005, 01:17 AM
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After I posted my message mentioning Bali, I did think given recent events I probably wouldn't book to go there with my child at the moment. A pity, because it is such an easy island to travel around and the people are so friendly - it would otherwise be perfect.
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Old Nov 5th, 2005, 09:32 AM
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Thank you so much for all your advice. We are still very much in the early planning stages and all help and advice is gratefully recieved. (with the exception maybe of leaving the kids at home! not really an option, its a family trip or no trip at all!)
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Old Nov 7th, 2005, 04:56 AM
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Ok - you gotta take the little tikes- make it Singapore and rest easy- no worries!
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Old Nov 7th, 2005, 06:02 PM
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Hi,

I have a 5 month old and a 26 month old and we're going to Asia with them next week. I think it's like Ford said, If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right."

I think that as long as you go with an open mind, prepare well in advance, and go to bigger tourist areas that tend to have better medical facilities, you'll be fine.

Singapore is a good starting point and Thailand is great too.

This will be my son's 3rd trip to Asia. The exposure is wonderful and he's smarter everytime we come back.

Teaching kids travelling skills like being organized, patient and flexible, can keep them in good stead throughout their lives.

My husband and I are both 1K travellers on United and we love to travel!!

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