For our month-long trip to Thailand with kids – a baby (10-months old) and a toddler (3 years 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 tips for travelling in Thailand with children that we picked up along the way…
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Packing for Thailand with children
- 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 baby 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.
- Be sure to pack baby snacks and lots of Ella’s pouches (or the cheaper Aldi ones!) – we found it hard to find healthy nibbles for bubbas if they’re not into fruit.
- 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 babies – these Koo-di ones are great and can double as a baby cot back at your hotel (very useful when it’s not always a given that your Thai accommodation will have one!) We didn’t bother as our little one was far too mobile and would have ninja-d 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.
- Probiotics, tummy bug remedies and sun cream are a must to keep nasties at bay – make sure you’ve got these natural holiday health essentials in your first aid kit.
Thailand with kids: Flying long haul with a baby and a toddler
- Check ahead to see if your airline offers baby bassinets or seats for babies over 6 months. If they do, the CoziGo is brilliant – it fits perfectly over the airline bassinets providing a snuggly dark snooze area for babies. They’re 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 also got my eye on this JetKids Bed Box.
- Try and feed the baby on take off or landing, or if they’re dummy lovers, pop one in to avoid little ears popping (take a few dummy clips to stop them falling on the floor and getting covered in plane fluff!)
- Take a direct overnight flight if you can. We found it works far better with adjusting to a new time zone.
- If bottle feeding your baby, pack a thermos with hot water – saves having to bug flight attendants every time your baby needs a 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 of new stuff will keep toddlers entertained for longer. Check out these Pinterest ideas for long haul 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 kids
- Getting around in Thailand with a baby and toddler 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 kids adjust to the timezone change and give you the energy to transport them to the next destination if you’re moving around a lot!
Thailand day to day
- ALWAYS use bottled water for washing bottles and making formula, even if you’re boiling it. Nobody drinks the water in Thailand.
- Make sure you have family 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 costs up. It was all paid for directly by our travel 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 on the mainland 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 toddlers and act as kind of baby entertainment pen.
- Book accommodation in Thailand with a swimming 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. Want some recommendations? Check out these family-friendly places to stay in Koh Lanta.
- 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…so take a fold-able changing mat with you to avoid having to change them on a toilet floor.
- High chairs are also rare commodities. If your baby is as wriggly as ours, you’ll find yourself blessing the restaurants who possess reliable Ikea high 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. Hi! I’m a professional cosmetologist and want to give you some advice. 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 in Thailand with children? Please share them below.
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