Some will say that there are two classes of travel - First Class and travelling with children.
The secret to travelling with children can be summed up in one word - preparation, and if you are, then you are sure to enjoy YOURSELF.
The original authors, Nell and Phil, have taken their child to Indonesia, mainly Bali, every year since he was 3 and he is now 12 (1999). He has never been ill or suffered any problems. Much will depend on the age and activity level of the child but you can travel safely with children as long as you are prepared and you follow a few little rules. You will find that children can be very adaptable in new situations, more so than adults quite often. In Bali particularly they are great 'ice breakers', both around the pool and especially with the locals.
you. This applies while in Bali too. Be relaxed - be happy - and the children
will be also.
It is a treat to take children to Bali - for both the children and for you.
Make sure you prepare the children well beforehand with a few rules such as “Don't drink the water in the taps, bath or shower”, repeated while they are in the bath or shower. One intrepid grandma (I hope she wont mind me calling her that) has now (late '05) been twice with children at 7 months and 17 months of age. On both occasions she bought a plastic tub from the local supermarket and heated bottled water in the room kettle, added more cold bottled water to get right temperature, set it up on the balcony and used it as a play pen, pool and bath. No worries with the bath water going in to baby's mouth with this arrangement and a relaxed holiday for gran. There are now disposable wash cloths available in packs. They foam up with a little (bottled of course) water and are great for washing kids. See if the hotel has hand showers which are more controllable and therefore safer for rinsing off. If not take one from home that pushes onto the tap spout. At the end of the holiday there are always hotel staff to give this sort of thing to. Other canny parents have pieces of red ribbon tied around their taps for a week or so before they leave and us these to teach the kids of tap dangers. The ribbons are taken to Bali and put on the bathroom taps there. Always have large bottles of Pura water on hand for drinking, face washing, teeth cleaning etc. Six litre bottles are readily available in Bali and, kept in the bathroom, can be decanted into smaller bottles to take out with you as drinking water. Try to get babies and small children used to drinking more water and from screw-top bottles in the weeks before departure, so that they will be comfortable with the change that will prevent dehydration and not crack a tantrum on the plane when they experience the new sensation for the first time.
Try to get them used to feeding about an hour before the time of your departure, followed by an intense playtime and them a quiet time - no TV, radio, housework noise etc. Be (peacefully) with them yourself during this routine, just as you hope they will be on the plane.
Prepare them by putting them on your knee regularly so that you can do this more easily on the plane if they get a bit apprehensive and you need to comfort/control them.
Don't let them wander the aisles in the plane, at least initially. Carry them if you can, or accompany them on a tour of the aircraft. Look for friendly old smiling faces like Grandma or Grandpa that they might take to (with a little encouragement). Many grannies will appreciate your problems and will welcome surrogate grand-kiddies for a while, knowing that they can give them back. This, if mutually acceptable, might keep everyone happy for a while.
Play the “start-stop-come, game”. This game is played when they are walking with you and you are not holding their hands. When you need to say “stop”, they freeze. This allows them to be safe at all times.
If they are old enough start a holiday diary/scrap book before you leave. Put headings on pages so that they know what is going to happen in the days ahead. Collect pictures from magazines that might be appropriate for each page and store them in envelopes with page names written on the front, or in one big envelope for older kidz. Cut them out if the kidz are too young to handle scissors, or take cheap plastic scissors with you if they can handle them, and a small plastic bottle of glue. Have the first pages headed 'Airport' so that they have an activity while waiting to board, an 'On the Plane' page keeps them busy for a while on the aircraft. Also try 'What can I see outside?', 'The Pretty Hostess', 'Captain Jim', 'What Dad/Mom Did on the Plane' etc. Selecting, cutting out, arranging and pasting in the pictures will pass some time. Have some coloured pencils for the story which they or you will write. This is also a great bed-time book when you get home.
Take a small photo album of family, relatives and friends for use as a conversation piece. 'I wonder what Aunty Mabel is doing now?' 'What did you do when Jake took you fishing?' This takes the child's mind off their present strange surroundings and focuses on the familiar. This will also be enjoyed by Balinese friends for whom family is very important.
Take a favourite doll to dress up in new clothes.
Try a pack of new Lego pieces (or any other favourite game extension). You could plan on leaving these for a special friend you and your child meet in Bali. An extension of the sharing or caring concepts.
Help a young child pack a small bag for themselves. A couple of favourite toys, books, talking books from your local library might fascinate children of an appropriate child, familiar fruit, sweets. Have the child carry this themselves so that they are not so likely to reach for your (or someone else's) sunnies, cameras, wallets etc.
If you're leaving from a cooler climate then you should carry, or have handy, a seal-able plastic bag with a set of lightweight clothes suitable to slip on when you've landed in the heat of Bali. The bag also serves as a handy sick bag if needed. The smell can be sealed away for everyone's comfort.
Watch for sniffles and the onset of stuffed ears or nose in the few days before flying as any symptoms will be worse in the aircraft. Take Vaporub to wipe under noses or smear on chests for relief, followed by a drink through a straw which you can pinch with your fingers so that they have to suck extra hard. This will clear their ears easily. Pack a change of clothes in your hand luggage just in case they are sick in the plane. A self-seal plastic bag will take care of the smell from the soiled clothes, making things a bit nicer for them - and you - and everyone else.
Plenty of lollies to suck while in the take off and landing sequences will help keep nose and ear passages in equilibrium of course.
Ask for your child's meal (order it with your booking so that it is loaded on the plane) with one for your partner, but ask for your meal to be delayed so you can mind/entertain the child and they can eat in peace, reciprocating for you when your meal comes.
In Bali breastfeeding is perfectly acceptable and you will find that most babies/children's supplies are available in the many supermarkets, probably imported in your familiar home brands at about the same prices or a bit cheaper, although disposable nappies are a bit dearer than in Australia. For example Huggies and Pampers Nappies are available in the large supermarkets at prices comparable with Oz although you might need a size larger than you're used to. (Try Huggies Pull-ups; a 20 pack at the new - in '07 - Carreforre Supermarket and others are Rp95,000 or about AUS$13.) Of the local products Mama Poko has been recommended and the weight/size information on the pack is a good guide. Heinz products also but the range is limited compared with Oz. Just take a few day's supplies so that you have time to investigate, purchase and try out the local items at your convenience. The Bali Deli in Seminyak is a good place to start looking. Lots of baby food and drinks from Oz, US and Europe. Dijon Food Specialties just off the By Pass road at the roundabout with the god fighting the serpent statue, Bali Deli, Le Bake, Pepitos and even Matahari and Hardy supermarkets are worth searching. At the start of your holiday check out the Makro Bulk stores on the By Pass road. Every driver knows it. Carrefour is a new French-owned super supermarket, probably as good as any you've got at home. It might be wise to find room to pack starter Milton tablets (to be replenished at the local supermarkets as needed), a sterilising container and a bottle brush. Do not trust the local reticulated water for anything except careful and supervised bath times, perhaps with a tablet or two of Milton dropped in. With food stuffs you might feel better if you can slip in one feed of local produce to check for reactions/rejections while you still have some familiar food on hand. Try to avoid buffet meals, as you would probably do at home, because you don't know how long they have been standing to become infected. At restaurants you will easily accommodate bubs with mashed vegetables, yoghurt, avocado rice, banana and many other fruits as well as toast crusts to chew on.
Take powdered formula and mix it with the local UHT milk. Although prices will not be much cheaper than at home you often get little bonuses such as a free trial sample of something or a 2 for 1 offer with things like powder etc. If you can't find exactly what you want at a local supermarket in Bali a good place to shop for formula and food is Dijon Supermarket and Deli on the By Pass road between the airport/Tuban and Sanur. Lactose free milk is readily available in local supermarkets although it is almost always in the long like packs.
At restaurants you will invariably find that your child's wish is almost a staff command and that rice, noodles, fish fingers and chips (fries) and so on are magically produced just for you. The Balinese love children believing that they were very recently in the realm of the gods and this alone makes them special. If you have a blonde, blue-eyed child you will find the locals will almost line up to touch or hold them. You can relax more in Bali as children are carefully looked after.
You might consider taking a stroller with large wheels and spring suspension for the beaches and un-even footpaths. If your stroller reclines and your child is happy to sleep in it this is a bonus. In '08 Quicksmart strollers were in favour as they folded into a backpack and could be taken as hand luggage. Many travellers about 2001 + found it was cheaper to buy a stroller in Bali and just leave it with someone when they left. Get a little mosquito net for it for safety around dusk. Take a carry back-pack or front pack for smaller children, particularly if they might not feel safe in a stroller where they could feel too up-front in the first few days. Some travellers prefer the type with a seat as they do not get as hot or wet from perspiration as the plain cloth type.
You can buy electric kettles/sterilisers very cheaply in Bali.
Take with you (or buy there) a half litre trigger operated spray bottle. Fill it with (safe, bottled) water and spray your child when they are hot, or let them spray themselves whenever they want to, and if they spray each other - what the heck? - you're all on holidays and enjoying yourself, right?
Take floaties for the pool or get cheap ones at a supermarket in Bali. Take good leak proof bathers if an 'accident' in the pool would be embarrassing - and other guests might ensure that it is if you're not considerate of their health and well being. Take a small fold-up/roll-up changing mat if it might be needed. Take strong sunscreen (30+ minimum) for protection around the pool in the first few days. Purchase additional as you need it. Apply every 2 hours if the pack says 4 hours!! Toddler sunscreen and all-in-one rashie will be put to almost constant use. Get Bub used to wearing a wide brim hat and know what mozzie repellent is safe for Him/her.
Have on hand an ear infection remedy or
preventative as kidz tend to spend a lot of time in pools. Aqua-ear from Oz is
often recommended and should be used after every swim or at least at the end of
every day and before you board the aircraft to fly just as a precaution.
Take a backpack for nappies and other supplies when away from your hotel.
Allow your child to enjoy themselves but try to ensure that their behaviour allows others to enjoy themselves also. If necessary spoil your child a little more than usual to keep them happy, and ensure that their sleep routines are maintained. You might consider the hotel's baby-sitting services for those nights when you would like to be out late at a restaurant or night club. These are cheap and reliable.
If you have a hook-on high chair that fits on an ordinary dining chair and is easily transported (these are popular in Canada) do take it with you as high chairs in restaurants are easily knocked and are not always as stable as they might be, nor do they always have restraining safety straps. Restaurant staff will readily become quite engaged with your child and will casually pick them up and show them off. Be cautious but not over concerned as this is a natural cultural outcome of the Balinese complete love of all children. You will become quite engaged with the practise also as it will enable you to enjoy your meal a little more.
If you're not sure what to order for them in a restaurant you can always rely on an unending supply of 'Nasi putih', boiled white rice.
Take care of your health. Don't let little things become bigger things. A reliable baby sitter at your hotel will cost you about $10 for 3 hours of stress relief.
You have travel insurance (I hope) so use it sooner rather than later. All reasonable hotels will have a good local doctor on call if you need one. Take anti-bacterial hand wash and use it regularly, both on yourself and your child before eating. Some parents use it each time after handling money. For more details see: www.filosbali.net and look for the file named Forum Recommendations.
1. Do not drink the water out of the taps!!!
Remember this in the shower and when you clean your teeth!! Have bottled water in the bathroom at all times, not only to use but as a visual reminder. Practise at home with the real thing for a week before you go.
2. Do not have drinks with ice in them outside your hotel if you have reason to be concerned about the quality of the ice/establishment. Things have improved greatly in this regard over the past few years and an absolute ban is not really necessary!
3. Do not drink anything that is not opened by you or opened in front of you!
4. Do not use the straws (they are often washed, in God knows what, and recycled)!
5. Do not eat the salads outside your hotel as they may have been washed in the water! Only eat it if they say they use pura water
6. Do not buy cool drinks from an ice chest with a water/ice slurry in it, only drinks from a fridge.
DO NOT DELAY GETTING A DOCTOR IF YOU OR YOUR CHILD LOOK OR FEEL UNWELL. – You're insured. (Shop around for insurance, by the way. Don’t just take what your travel agent offers.) The sooner you treat illness the better.
Do not think, “they will get over it”, because the longer you delay the longer it will take.
IF YOUR CHILD IS ILL THEN THERE GOES YOUR HOLIDAY.
Treat yourself the same way too.
1. Bring some toys, games for the plane (you will need them for the airports).
2. Request a children’s meal from the airline – this is good for younger children. They get fed first and it is in containers that they can handle.
3. Take some chewies for them to chomp on when the plane is taking off or landing as many children suffer some ear problems.
4. Buy them a surprise and have it on the plane. When they become restless you can bring it out.
5. Bring some eats for them on the plane – pack them a special bag that they can delve into. Use this at the airports, in Bali (particularly on longer car trips), in restaurants and your room before bed time if settling is needed. Have coloured pencils, paper, prepared drawings, favourite toys, magazines to cut pictures out of, a dairy for older children so they can start writing about their adventures.
6. Have a Gameboy and some games for children who like computer games – keeps them occupied for hours. Buy a disposable camera for fun.
7. Get the children to sit in front of you so that they are not kicking your seat and so that they can turn around and talk to you. It is much easier for you this way.
8. Bring Panadol and medicines for children – Panadol liquid is really useful.
9. Make sure you take insect repellent for the night time, we have found that the creams are really good as some of the sprays actually burn the children’s skin.
Have a trigger spray bottle to fill with bottled water and spray the kids when the heat gets a bit oppressive for them.
Hire a DVD player for evening entertainment (many
hotels have only Indo language TV) or baby-sitter evenings.
10. Eat outside your hotel at restaurants – they are often much cheaper, and safe with care, particularly if you have Detol wipes or some other antiseptic hand and face wipes. Don't forget the sunscreen through the day. Spray your room with Rid Tropical Strength or similar when you leave and dress children in (light) long sleeves and leggings in pale colours around dusk. Mozzies love soft skin and create itches at least and worse if you're a bit careless.
11. Bring empty suitcases – very important. Keep one bag for wooden ware to make it easier and quicker at the Customs inspection on returning.
12. Bring Lomitol, Stemitol etc for Bali Belly, kids Panadol, eardrops for swimmers ear.
13. In your empty suitcase that you take over, bring just a few fruit boxes, biscuits, small packets of chips, cereals and long life milk, sipper bottles to put water in, and small gifts. Most eating treats, even gourmet nibble for adults, you will be able to buy at the supermarkets and specialist delicatessens in Bali.
14. Take your own shampoos etc, if they're special, even if you give them away in the end.
15. Bring bathers and solar suits for kids but few clothes, they can be bought cheaply as a treat.
16. Bring hats and sunscreen, lip gel etc – this is quite expensive.
18. Champagne, wine etc and glasses so that you can drink on the veranda/porch of your room when the children are about to go to sleep and you don't want to leave them, and to mix cooling and refreshing drinks. Give the remnants to a small café manager or the sellers on the beach
19. Pillowcase – you use this to put the towels in when returning home so that children have a pillow to lie on in the airport as there is usually a long wait.
20. Buy lots of sarongs – they are really useful for kids nests in buses when they invariably fall asleep.
21. Buy lots and bring them home for Xmas and birthday presents – even though you see a lot of things that look the same they are not when you get home.
22. We usually take the following with us: nail polish (to give the girls on the beach), old designer T-shirts - you can swap them on the street for watches. Old jeans (to swap or give away), some champagne and glasses, 1 wine cask each, wine cooler bag (in which you put the cask with some ice and off you go to the restaurant). A back pack to carry things in when shopping, pictures of clothes that you may want made, winter weight fabric you want made up, outline of feet for when you are buying shoes for someone else. Small packets of cereal and plastic bowls and plastic spoons so that you can throw them away, dry biscuits and dips, nuts and dry fruits for afternoon "Show and Tell", press-lock bags for putting small amounts of biscuits in for trips etc.
23. When going out on trips pack a small picnic, take a cooler bag with ice, put in some drinks (fruit boxes, cans of drink) so that they are cold, sarongs for making pillows and sitting on and blocking the sun etc.
24. On trips always take sarongs as you will need them to enter temples.
25. On short trips use the local bemos (‘bee-moes’) (cheaper and more local flavour).
26. Use taxis for around Kuta, Sanur and Denpasar, the light blue coloured 'Blue Bird Group' taxis with 'TAXI' on the roof sign are reliably honest. Round up the amount on the meter to the next Rp1-5,000 depending on how far you've gone, but if you feel that they have been helpful give them a bit extra – remember that you are paying very little and that they have families to feed. A little to us is a lot to them. While Blue Bird taxis are reliable as far as metered fares are concerned some others don't use meters (even if the cab has one) and will delight in ripping you off. Many of these seem to have roof signs that read 'TAKSI'.
27. Take your own massage oil and always take a sarong or towel with you when going for massage.
28. Wear your bathers when trying on clothes in shops as this saves you lot of time and energy and embarrassment.
29. Buy the local ointments and balms, they are fantastic. For beverage drinkers the local coffee is great as are the many varieties of local teas. Try Bali Crystal natural deodorant.
30. Go to the local supermarket or the small local shop that you will find within 100 metres of every hotel to buy your drink and nibble supplies and take these back to your room for your use – cheaper than buying it in the hotel, especially the mini-bar in the room fridge. The small local shop owner will easily become your best friend with helpful information.
31. Buy clothes and shoes for your children, these are very cheap and so useful, especially seeing how many shoes kids go through in a year. Buy big for growing kids.
32. Visit the Department stores and buy Play Station games, CD's and DVD's, fruit drinks, nibbles, local fruit (if you peel it then it's safe) and clothes.
33. Department stores are very good for business shirts, belts, underwear, ties and men’s clothes – terrible for women’s clothes but some good accessories and makeup.
34. Take some dresses with you – 1 or 2 for going out to eat – these are cooler and you can dress them up.
35. Experiment with where you eat.
36. Be careful crossing the roads, - always hold your child’s hand no matter where you walk. Hawkers will try to put things in your face which distracts you, and some drivers are terrible – a lot of confusing hustle and bustle but much better in recent years with (overdone) restrictions on street sellers.
37. Practise saying, “STOP”’ at home and have the kids freeze instantly.
38. Balinese love children and will want to touch them (Particularly if they’re very fair. This is generally no problem and is a great conversation starter – and conversations can lead to all sorts of nice things for you.
Let your children be happy, spoil them if necessary, and you’ll be happy too.
Isn’t that what you’re going on holidays for?
and if you can add to these suggestions, or correct outdated information when you return from Bali please contact us at "filo @ adam.com.au" (leave out the spaces in the address) so that we can give the best possible advice to future travellers.
View from the pool bar during Happy Hour at the Balihai Resort.
If you think you would like more information, stories or pictures about Bali then go to our HOME PAGE and select from the contents listed in the left hand column.
Further reading that will be interesting and valuable is at My Travel Angel; http://www.mytravelangel.com.
Have a great trip!- fan8 - new4