Bali has long been our go-to destination for trips with friends, a solo voyage, a weekend away with someone special, but it’s also one of our favourite places to bring the family to. Travelling with young nomads is no easy feat, but we find that although no trip goes without a hiccup, there are small things that can be done so that everyone has a great time throughout. So after our last trip with little ones in tow to Bali, we created a checklist that would help parents.
#1 Book a late flight
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This way, your child can sleep through the flight. There’s less “work” involved in entertaining them and if you’re flying long-haul it’s less likely they’ll be jet-lagged. Dress them in pyjamas and they (and you) will feel much more comfortable.
#2 Arrive at the airport early
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We adults may never get it, but kids love airports. Go early to allow ample time for checking in and getting through security. The last thing you want is the stress of rushing. Let the kids run around to tire themselves out and they’ll fall asleep as soon as you board the plane. Truth.
#3 Two words: Drink up
No, not you, your kid! The most daunting part of a plane ride for kids is during take-off or landing when their ears pop. This is when you normally hear kids crying. So pack formula and a baby bottle or a juice pouch in their carry-on – swallowing liquids will help normalise the ear pressure. Or breastfeed if you’re still nursing.
#4 Pack light
Some airlines don’t give babies their own luggage allowance so pack as light as possible. Most villas or hotels offer laundry service for a reasonable fee, so pack clothes for only half the trip, wash and re-use them. If your kid has sensitive skin, bring your detergent in a Ziploc bag.
#5 Always have spares
Kids are walking-Murphy’s-Law executors. If there’s something that can be spilled, it will be. Pack an extra set of clothes in your hand-carry and extra clothes for the rest of the family just in case the airline loses your luggage.
#6 Activity time
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Pack a few different games and books to keep them entertained – sticker books, colouring books, favourite stories, puzzles, magnet games, cards and any other of their favourite toys. Take out one at a time, only taking the next one out once the current option has lost its charm.
#7 Don’t delay disembarkation
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Use the restroom, change their diapers and be ready for touchdown just before landing. Try to get off as soon as the plane lands. This way you avoid queues at immigration. Or you could book the VIP service that gets you in the fast track lane through immigration.
#8 Make some calls
Ask the villa or hotel to provide as many items as you will need. Call or email ahead of arrival and ask if they have baby essentials available for guests, like a bottle steriliser, bottle warmer, travel cot, baby bathtub and stroller – most villas in Bali do. This way you won’t need to lug everything with you, just the items you’re sure they don’t provide.
#9 Check out Bali Baby Hire
Bali Baby Hire has everything you can need to keep kids safe while travelling: infant/toddler car seats, pool safety fences, stair safety gates. They also provide airport transfers and hotel change transfers with baby/toddler car seats. We don’t know what we’d do without them.
#10 The Babysitters Club
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Hire a babysitter so you can have a date night. To help your child familiarise with the sitter, hire the sitter during the day to play for a few hours while you’re there then the same sitter can come back again at night. This way baby won’t feel too agitated about being left alone with a stranger.
#11 Stock up on their favourite foods
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If your kid is a fussy eater (there’s always one in the family), many Bali villas will offer a grocery buying service. Ask them to stock the house with food your kid will need such as milk, cereal and fruits, to save yourself the stress of running around finding shops upon touchdown.