In today’s blog Andrea talks about heading back to Southeast Asia with her kids to celebrate Journeys Within’s 10th anniversary and gives her top tips for travelling as a family…
It was the perfect time to head to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia just days after finishing up our 10 year anniversary celebration in the US! Having gone through the photos and been reminded people and places I have visited in the past has been an amazing trip down memory lane. To now be able to pack up the kids and experience it all again is exciting.
On this trip we visited Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Luang Prabang and Siem Reap. We tried out some of our old favorites and experiencing some new tours. I was excited to see our guides and thank them for their hard work and incredible energy over the last high season. I was also very excited to meet some new guides!
Mostly I looked forward to seeing my team and to see my kids back in the area of the world I love so much. My kids have done such a great job adjusting to life in America, but I don’t want them to forget the friends and experiences they grew up with in Cambodia! Since I haven’t traveled with the kids much in the last year it came as a bit of a surprise how much more work it is to prepare three people for travel rather than to just hit the road solo. Packing, prepping and scheduling becomes a lot more intense for a family and it made me appreciate our guests and what their preparations looks like before their big family trips! With that said, we boarded the plane to Asia ready for our adventure.
Here are 5 things I recommend for long flights with kids between the ages of 5 and 10:
1. Tell them where you’re going and what the schedule is. I realized that once I gave my kids the itinerary and explained the plan as well as had them help me pack, they seemed to relax. We forget as adults what a mystery a lot of life is when you’re young. Traveling is a lot more fun when you feel in control at any age!
2. Pack a lot of snacks, including a “meal” for the plane. My kids hate plane food so to help them get through the very long flight to Asia I like to keep them fed. We took Cup Of Noodles on the plane, the flight attendants happily filled them with boiling water and my kids had some comfort food and their bellies full so it was much easier for them to go to sleep.
3. Go to Target or the craft store and have them pick out an activity each. Then it’s new and exciting and keeps them entertained on the plane.
4. Set expectations. I am not the entertainment manager! From when my kids were very small I have explained to them that I am not the activity director on the plane. I will provide snacks and help with any issues, but they have to keep themselves entertained. I’m sure there are amazing moms everywhere willing to play 14 hours of UNO 30,000 feet in the air…I’m not one of them! For the most part my kids respect this and as they get older it seems to be even better! They play with each other, watch movies and play in their activity books and I get to read, watch a movie, or, miraculously, sleep.
5. Be kind. This is our travel mantra. When everyone gets tired and cranky and just wants to get there already kindness helps. Siblings that are at least thinking about trying to be kind fight less and this mantra is probably for me more than anyone!
So with all that in mind we headed off! Our bags packed and each of us looking forward to the adventure adventure and to celebrating our 10 year anniversary where it all started!