I used to think that being a mother marks the end of my travelling, gallivanting days.
To be honest, travelling with a child in tow does come with limitations. However, these limitations don’t necessarily mean saying good bye to treks and trips because it is possible to work around them. In fact, ever since I became a mum, I’ve been travelling even more!
It is challenging, but travelling with kids makes a trip even more fun and memorable. Don’t worry; I’ve been there. My 4-year old has already gone to different places in the country including Baguio, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Cebu, South Cotabato, Maragusan, and Tagaytay. This summer, we’re planning to visit Bataan and Subic. All on a budget! If you want to know how I did it, here are my top 5 tips for travelling with a toddler on a budget.
1. Organise the trip ahead of time.
It’s funny but I organise trips several months — even a year — ahead of time. Not only are we able to book cheaper flights, we are also able to look for affordable accommodations. What I do is check online travel websites for great deals. Since we’re planning to stay in Subic next summer, I already started looking for a good accommodation in the area. I found this hotel:
Charming and quaint — affordable, too!
2. Arrange a “journey pack” that will entertain them on the road or during your flight.
My son always has his small backpack with him wherever he goes. When we travel, I fill it with things that will entertain him such as snacks (try to avoid too sweet stuff though – they go hyperactive), books, toys, and gadgets. This way, he wouldn’t get bored and at the same time, I wouldn’t need to buy him food and toys all the time.
3. Let them use their own cheap camera.
Taking his own pictures at Banana Beach, Tagum City
On-site entertainment can be cheap! If you have a cheap camera phone or a tablet, you can give it to your child (provided that he is old enough to carefully use gadgets) and encourage him to snap away. Three benefits: they are entertained, the photos will become memorable souvenirs, and photography is always a learning experience.
4. Don’t forget to pack weather-appropriate clothes.
Changed Yuri from a thick sweater into a casual shirt
Sometimes, this is obvious. Like, if you’re going to a beach, you will pack swim suits and clothes with breathable fabric. If you’re going to Baguio or Tagaytay, you will bring sweaters and thick garments.
However, pay attention to the weather. For example, one time, we were at the beach and the weather suddenly went gloomy. Thank goodness I also brought sweaters and jackets! And when we were in Tagaytay, it was so sunny it didn’t really feel like we were in Tagaytay. Good thing I brought extra shirts that were humid weather-friendly. This way, there won’t be any need for you to buy new clothes — unless you want to. *ehem*
5. Remember that a child-friendly accommodations are not always expensive.
In my dictionary, a child-friendly accommodation doesn’t necessarily equate to playrooms or custom-built furniture. My definition of a child-friendly accommodation is simple. It is clean, secure, and convenient. A working elevator, friendly staff, a comfy bed with fresh sheets, cool air conditioning… you know, the basics!
I’m leaning towards booking our accommodation through Traveloka. I love that I can see the prices per night right away. But more than that, there’s also an option to look at various traveller reviews. As someone who always books her trips online, these online reviews are very valuable to me!
6. Don’t worry about things not going your way; just have fun!
Resting at Bell Church in Baguio
Not everything is going to happen the way you were envisioning it — that’s the truth and that’s also the truth whether you’re travelling with kids or not. I’m terribly OC but I intentionally let go of my rigidity whenever we’re travelling. Just go with the flow and have fun!
What are your travel tips? Do share!