You can still travel with children…it’s just different.

My husband and I both have a love of traveling, it was one of the things we loved to do before we had children.  We traveled throughout Europe together and around the states. Then came our first daughter and we wondered to ourselves if our days of travel were going to soon be over.

We made a pact together that just because we had children we would not stop traveling and we both felt it was important to introduce our child(ren) to new cultures and expose them to people all over the world. Neither my husband nor I had traveled much as children and wanted it to be different for our girl(s) childhood.

We took the big plunge when our first daughter had just turned one. We headed off to Vietnam and Cambodia (my husband does business in Vietnam) so we were able to turn a business trip into a vacation. I have to admit I was nervous about traveling in Asia (I had not been before) but my husband had been countless times and was very comfortable with his surroundings. I thought the worse part would be the plane ride; it was 13 hours to Taipei and then a couple more into Saigon. I packed SO many things, but the only toy she wanted to play with was her Wikki Stix, which as a parent I thought they might be the greatest invention ever! Another tip: Only bring new toys (doesn’t have to be new from the store but new to the kid) and introduce them for the first time on the ride. We also got REALLY lucky and she slept for a good portion of the trip as well. I think this is one of the major benefits of traveling with the kiddies when they are younger.

We had an amazing time the three of us and we are talking about taking another trip next spring when our youngest daughter is over a year but less than 2 years. Don’t stop traveling because you have children, just change your attitude. It’s worth it!

Lantau Island, Hong Kong Day Trip

I realize that the logical thing would be to write about what I did and saw in Hong Kong in chronological order, but what I like most about blogging is the ability to share stuff that I’m really excited about whenever I want, and I’m really excited about what I saw on Day 4 in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong consists of a series of islands and Lantau is the largest and – aside from Disneyland Hong Kong and the international airport – the most undeveloped. It is in stark contrast and yet only a few minutes’ MTR ride away from the bustling Hong Kong metropolis. The mountainous terrain is rugged and wild with jungle-like natural forests while the coastline is dotted with tiny old-time picturesque fishing villages still in operation. We visited both.

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Prepping for Hong Kong

I recently returned from vacationing in Hong Kong and am ready to swoon about what a fantastic time I had:

The architecture!

The cultural sites!

The food!

The shopping!

And of course, the people! All truly amazing. Though, if you’d told me three or four months ago that you were going to Hong Kong I would’ve merely feigned polite enthusiasm. Due solely to my own naivety, Hong Kong was not even on my radar as a top vacation destination until the invitation to travel with a friend (and her parents who were born and raised in Hong Kong!) presented itself. The more I read up and heard firsthand from friends who’d visited, I realized this was truly an opportunity of a lifetime.

Before I go into the highlights of my trip, first things first: preparation and packing. I’m a bit of a Type-A planner and enjoy making lists and checking things off. A little peek at my list of to-dos for international travel:

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Flying with Children

For those parents out there who are getting ready for a flight, Bebe au Lait offers our list of considerations and tips for a low-stress trip.

Well Before the Flight:
Visit your airline’s web page, and read about their policies for traveling with young children. Be sure you know what to expect from the airline and the flight staff before showing up at the terminal.

Read and tell stories to your kids about traveling by air. Also, tell them about the destination, and what makes it special and unique.

Plan For Comfort:

Flying causes a lot of anxiety for children who have little (or no) idea what is going on. In order to soothe some of this anxiety, smart parents bring along plenty of toys, goodies, food, drinks, activities, etc. to get the kid’s mind off the flight, and onto something less stressful. In the case of babies, think comfort. Physical contact, rocking, bouncing, breastfeeding, and shiny objects will all calm the little one down making your life much easier.


Airports are very stressful places. Children (adults too!) are highly anxious in this environment.

First, cut out the stress of time. Leave for the airport allowing plenty of time for bad traffic, parking, checking bags, waiting in line, etc. Absolutely nothing is worse than feeling rushed at an airport. The tension is thick, and kids pick up on that from you, then broadcast it to everyone else at the airport.

Even taking time and stress into account, it’s likely that your child will still feel nervous, and make it known. Be prepared to smile at a lot of dirty looks from strangers.
Checking In:

When it comes time for you to check in, ask if the flight is full. If not, see if you can get an empty seat next to you.

If you’re traveling with really young children, you’re often allowed to board before everyone else. Ask about this when you check in. When you board, get ready to stash one bag at your feet, and the other in the overhead compartment. Have a seat, and relax as quickly as possible.

Diaper Changing:

Be sure you pack an in-flight changing kit. Put some diapers, multi-purpose burp cloths, baby wipes, diaper cream, baby powder, and hand sanitizer in a small pouch.

When you board, ask the flight attendant where the best place to change the baby is. In some planes, there will be one larger bathroom on board with a changing table.

Eating and Feeding:

Bring your own food. It’s better to be prepared with food that the child likes rather than chancing it with airplane food (or lack of it!)

If you’re with a really young child, be ready for them to make a mess. Bring at least one bib that will help keep their clothes clean, and be ready with those all-important wipes!

If your child is breastfeeding (or you’re pumping), bring a nursing cover for privacy. They are also great for creating a “cocoon” while the baby is sleeping.

If you’re bottle feeding, be sure you have plenty of milk for the child ready to go. If you need the bottle warmed up, let a flight attendant know, but also understand that it takes time, so get your bottles heated up before you actually need them.

Keeping Children Entertained:

Flights are generally pretty boring. Even sophisticated adults feel stir crazy after just a few hours on a plane. Imagine that sensation times 10, and minus certain social boundaries, and you’ve got a good idea of what is going on inside your child’s head! As you can imagine, boredom is the root of many in-flight irritants.

There are many things you can bring, but focus on the few items that are likely to distract the child for the longest time. Load up your iPods or iPhones with good programming like Sesame Street. You could also bring a laptop or portable DVD player. Some other ideas include coloring books, stories and puzzle books.

Sleeping on Board:

Bring a comfortable blanket or nursing cover. Airplane blankets tend to be scratchy and icky.

Good luck, and enjoy the trip!

Here are some fantastic resources where you can learn more:
There is also this short pamphlet published by the FAA.
Speaking of the FAA, they also have this great resource for travelers.