Guidelines When Planning Your Itinerary
1. Must-See / Must-Do For Baby
Even if your child is only one year old, take him into consideration when planning the itinerary. He will not be able to remember your trip, but there is no reason not to let him enjoy the moment just the same. Include an activity that is especially meant for your child and this can be a great bonding activity for the whole family. This will also make your child an official participant of your family vacation and not just someone who tagged along because you can not leave him behind.
Just as Mommy and Daddy have must-see places/must-do activities on their lists, assign a must-see attraction/must-do activity for baby. Here are some suggestions: age-appropriate fully-padded playground, zoo, waterpark, beach.
During our trip to Bangkok, I took one-year-old Zuri to Funarium and Dusit Zoo.
To know more about our trip to Funarium, read here:
To know more about our trip to Dusit Zoo, read here:
Make sure that no destination in your itinerary will cause too much discomfort to your one-year-old.
In our Bangkok itinerary, we included Chatuchak Weekend Market and the Grand Palace. Both are outdoors. Under the hot Bangkok sun, visiting these attractions could get punishing if one is not careful. To make sure Zuri didn’t feel too uncomfortable, we had to limit our visit to each attraction (including travel and eating time) to just two hours at the most.
If you’re going to an outdoor destination, time your visit such that the sun is not too high up in the sky. Apply baby sunblock. Let your one-year-old wear a hat and breathable long-sleeved clothes to cover as much skin as possible. Use an umbrella and a fan. Hydrate always with clean drinking water.
Not to be taken for granted also is the comfort of the parents. After all, parents are the ones who take care of (and carry) the child. Always take this into consideration when planning the itinerary. One thing we always forgo during our travels is hiking. Anything that will require hiking is automatically rejected as part of the itinerary. It will simply be too hard with our little one in tow. Perhaps, when Zuri grows up, we will be able to finally consider doing this.
Speaking of comfort, factor this in, too, when booking a hotel. I know some people who scrimp on accommodation thinking that they will be out most of the time anyway. This might be okay if one isn’t traveling with a child. If you have a one-year-old with you, remember, you and your child will be super tired at the end of the day and will want a good night’s sleep.
3. Lazy Time
When traveling with little ones, it is ideal to include some time off for rest (I call this lazy time) in your schedule. Don’t consume all of your energy by trying to squeeze in as many activities as you can in your itinerary. Remember that even while you are on vacation, you still need to take care of your child and this will need a lot of your energy, too.
For a really meaningful family vacation, the important thing is for the family to have some fun together and to enjoy each other’s company. It is far better to see or do, say, four to five places or activities that you enjoy as a family than force yourselves to do, say, nine to ten that you can no longer enjoy because you are simply too tired. Quality over quantity is the rule I follow. Remember that your child gets tired, too. Let him rest.
A nice hotel room and a nice hotel pool will come in handy during lazy time.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Load up in the morning to fuel you up for the day’s activities. Eat lunch, snacks and dinner on time. Children and breastfeeding moms should not go hungry. Likewise, bottle-feeding moms and dads should keep their energies up and not starve themselves.
Take note of the entrance and activity rates, food cost, transportation cost, and any other expenses that you will incur when planning your itinerary. As parents like me would know, expenses very easily pile up when you have a child (think diapers, milk, vaccinations, etc.). Parents already have loads to pay for as it is, so be careful not to spend excessively on your trip. Set a budget and stick to it.
6. Attention To Detail
Parents of very young children rarely have the luxury of spontaneity. When I was single, it was easy for me to just go someplace when I felt like it and see where that would lead me. When Zuri came, it soon became apparent that this kind of behavior would most likely just end in disaster. I discovered that with a little one in tow, meticulous, conscientious planning is the way to go.
To save on time and energy, research in advance about the specific details of your trip. Find the answers to the following questions.
How will you reach your hotel coming from the airport? Are you going to ride a train, a bus, a cab? How do you go to the train station? To the bus station? Where do you get a cab? How much will it cost? How long is the ride going to take?
From the hotel, how will you reach your first must-see place? How much is the transportation cost? What time does it open? What time does it close? Does it require an entrance fee? What activities are you going to do there? How much will that cost? How long will it take?
From your first must-see place, how will you reach your second must-see place? How much is the transportation cost? What time does it open? What time does it close? Does it require an entrance fee? What activities are you going to do there? How much will that cost? How long will it take? Where are you going to eat? And so on.
Answer these questions for all attractions you plan to see for each day of your planned vacation. Don’t forget to include how you are going to go back to the hotel at the end of the day and how you are going to go to the airport at the end of your trip.
I hope these guidelines would be of help to you. Thanks for reading! 🙂
You might also want to read:
(Travel Tips) Going Away with a 1-year-old: Things to Bring
Emporium Suites by Chatrium and Emporium Shopping Complex Part 1
Funarium, The Biggest Indoor Playground in Bangkok
Dusit Zoo: The Oldest Zoo in Bangkok
Oasia Hotel Singapore
Exploring Sentosa Island For Free (Almost)