Asian adventure- Phuket-Railay Beach- Krabi-Bangkok-Hong-Kong-China tour.
Here are my top 10 tips for travelling long haul with kids…..
- Take a travel cushion/favourite teddy to snuggle (even teenagers!). The airline provides you with a very small pillow but mine would never have got any sleep without their disney pillows.
- Take sweets or lollies to suck on your way up and down (to stop their ears from popping).
- Take some snacks and drinks. Either buy some water after security or take a refillable bottle to fill up at one of the water fountains. Even though we got fed lots, it wasn’t until a bit later on so the children were already hungry. Hungry kids in our house =whingy kids! Snacks also make good bribery! You can buy plastic boxes with numerous compartments which are great for on planes!
- Be prepared for all temperatures- you may be going to a hot destination but the air con on a plane can make it very cold. You are given a blanket on a night flight, but its always good to pack a jumper (and socks if they are wearing sandals).
- Take a spare set of clothes. I always pack their Pyjamas in my hand luggage. This means they are handy to pull out when we arrive at our destination, but are also there just incase someone has an accident or spills something (mine always do!).
- Pack children’s ear plugs- I ordered a pack of mini ear plugs from amazon and found that these were great on our night flight. Some people even had eye masks for their kids which I thought was a good idea if they are used to sleeping in the dark.
- Pack lots of entertainment- Ipads, Nintendo switches, colouring books, crosswords, comics, magazines, card games etc.. Whatever they are into! The movies will keep them entertained for so long, but you need other options to keep them entertained too!
- Pack their own headphones. The plane gives you a set of headphones, but they are the sort that stick in your ear, which are not really kid friendly. My two had their own over the head headsets to watch movies with which worked perfectly.
- Medication- if your child needs any kind of regular medication make sure you have some in your hand luggage. One of our kids has a condition that can flare up at any time, so I always pack some of his medication in my hand luggage just in case. It may also be handy having normal paracetemol in their too just in case!
- For younger children I noticed that a few people had bought special blow up foot cushions that basically made their seat into a bed and meant that they could lay down (don’t blow them up until the aircraft is in the air though because of the pressure in the cabin.) I thought that these were a fab idea and have found them on amazon for around £15.99.
Transport- BA flights from Heathrow to Bangkok (11 hrs 40), connecting flight to Phuket (1hr 25-with Bangkok Airways) (Found via skyscanner with Travel Up), transfer to Baan Mai Khao (20 minutes) arranged through booking.com via messages to host (costing 800 THB- about £18).
Rather than paint everything ‘rosey’ and perfect, I intend to write all of my blogs as honestly as I can, to ensure that you get a true picture of travelling (especially with children). I have to say that even though I am obviously super excited, this trip is the one I have felt most anxious about as we have never been to Asia and just did not know what to expect. People had told us all sorts of stories about the locals all wanting to take your photos, the food, what to be careful of etc and I had got myself in a right tizzle! This and the fact that we left for Heathrow straight after school on the Friday we broke up for the summer and flew the very next day, and the fact that both children had been ill and the hubby had knackered his back and could hardly walk, meant that by the time we got the taxi to the airport I was an anxious wreck!
We had booked a flight with BA leaving from Heathrow at 16.00 and arriving in Bangkok 11 hours and 40 minutes later at 9.40am Thai time (but 3.40 am our body clock time!). I had convinced myself that the children would watch films on the flight until about 10-11 pm and then sleep for the rest of the journey, which would give them a good 5 or so hours sleep. Boy was I wrong! After a few hours of watching movies and being fed (which was actually quite nice- us Normans like our aeroplane food!), the cabin lights were dimmed and I told the boys that it was time to try and sleep. The airline give you a small pillow and blanket and the kids had brought their own travel Disney pillows too! To cut a long story short they spent a couple of hours bickering over sleeping positions and who was in whose space! I then moved one of them so I was sat in the middle and he spent 10 minutes sobbing loudly, to which point the french lady in front of us turned around and complained that her daughter was trying to sleep! (she didn’t seem to get that so were we!!). It all ended up with one child laying across me (so I didn’t dare move for 2 hours incase I woke him = 2 dead legs!) and one sat with the blanket over his head sulking for the rest of the journey. They slept for no more than 2 hours and then the one nearest the window decided that he needed the toilet so climbed over his brother and woke him. At this point I gave in and let them play on their Ipads! By the time we landed you could hear numerous tired children crying, fussing and having tantrums!
Some tips for changing at Bangkok airport-
- Our flight wasn’t showing on the digital boards but we followed the signs hanging from the ceilings saying ‘Phuket’ along the moving escalators to section B (We spent a good 30 minutes walking around getting stressed as couldn’t find where to go! Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways were both situated there).
- We didn’t need to collect our luggage- it was just transferred automatically.
- On the first flight they had given out immigration cards to fill in, but had said that people transferring onto another flight didn’t need one- WE DID! We arrived at the Bangkok Airways desk and were told that we needed them. Save yourself time and fill them in on the plane.
- There didn’t seem to be anywhere between security and section B to buy drinks except for vending machines- so take some smaller Thai Baht. We didn’t expect to get food on this shorter internal flight, but we were handed a meal straight away after take off and got a bottle of water each free with that.
We landed in Phuket, picked up our luggage and wandered outside where we had arranged a transfer to Baan Mai Khao with the hotel itself. She had told me to leave via exit 3 and someone would be holding a board up with our name on it. It all went really smoothly and we jumped straight into a mini bus taxi right outside arrivals. The driver was lovely and friendly and even stopped the mini bus right in the middle of the main road (in the fast lane!) and said, “one minute please, take photo!”, and then proceeded to turn around and take a photo just of my hubby! (the kids were in hysterics!)
As soon as we drove on the road away from the airport we were all “ooohing and ahhhing!” at what we saw. The boys couldn’t believe how many mopeds there were and that people didn’t wear helmets AND that there were kids on them! There were little fruit stalls at the side of the roads, tuk tuk style carts driving along, shacks, a temple and lots of jungle like greenery everywhere. It was about a 20 minute transfer and the lane that our hotel is on has all of the Mai Khao 5* hotels down it (like the JW Marriott) which cost a fortune to stay at!
Even though the journey all went really smoothly in terms of no delays etc, I have to be honest and say it was still really stressful! But, in reality what 18+ hour journey isn’t going to be?! And I know it is a bit of a cliche, but literally one day later in such a beautiful place and the journey had been forgotton by all of us!
Thanks for reading, and remember, it will all be worth it once you arrive at your destination! The experiences your kids get from travelling are really once in a lifetime!
Can you think of any other top tips for travelling with kids?
We would love to hear from you.
Read about where we stayed in Phuket here and about our private day tour of Phuket (a real bargain at £50 or less for a private driver for 8 hours) here
We also enjoyed days out to Splash Jungle water park and Mai Khao Turtle Sanctuary.