Venturing into the unknown…

Before going on our recent family vacation, I felt an array of feelings; I was nervous, anxious, scared and very excited!

I think all of these feelings are very normal, especially if you are traveling to a new place and especially as a Mom, as this is not just about you anymore…

But man, was I surprised by my boys!  They were total rock stars and traveled like it was nobodies business.
I asked almost every mom I knew here in town and on social media for some handy tips and tricks they have used with their little ones and took ideas that would work for us!  Thank you to everyone that contributed!  Those tips came in very handy and made the flights memorable for us all.

Bali is a paradise of an island with so much beauty. Wherever we went, we were welcomed with open arms and they could not have been friendlier with our children.  If you read about Bali, one of the very first things they tell you is that the Balinese people love children and they all help raise each other’s kids.
They have a rich culture and daily offerings are everywhere to be seen on the streets, shops and even in the cars.
Balinese food is properly one of the best cuisines I have ever tasted.  Flavoursome is an understatement….

Upon landing in Bali we went to the east coast to a place called Sanur.  This is known as the family area of Bali.  We stayed there for four nights.  We then travelled to the west coast which we as a family didn’t really enjoy as it was a bit too busy for our liking. We escaped the hustle and bussle three days later to a small island north of Lombok (island next to Bali) – Gilli Air.

Wow, what a paradise!  If we didn’t have other bookings already, I would have loved to have stayed on Gilli Air my whole holiday.  This island has no cars or scooters, only horse carts and our accommodation was right on the beach.
But alas, we had to travel to Lombok.  One of my husband’s hobbies is surfing and Lombok apparently has some good surf.  So off we went.  We travelled by boat for 20 minutes from Gilli Air to Lombok and then via taxi to the south of the island to Kuta. Here we stayed for a week so that hubby could get his surf on 🙂
Even though Lombok has lots of beauty, it is sadly overshadowed by all the poverty.  Not to mention all the street dogs.

But we still had an amazing time sight seeing and meeting new people.  It was the last bit of sun and beach we had before returning to Bali for our final three days.
As we were in holiday mode, my husband and I were too late when we wanted to book our flights from Lombok to Bali…. rookie mistake!  Flights were sold out for two days and on the Friday the price was at least 10 x more.  So we unfortunately had to do the longer option of traveling back to Bali.  We traveled by taxi to the harbour, got on a boat for 2 hours and yet another taxi to take us to Ubud – the heart of Bali.  But through this long journey my boys were as happy as anything traveling on all the different vehicles and boats and never once got moody or unhappy.

I could see why they call Ubud the heart of Bali, but the sad part for me is that it has completely become commercialised and the spirit of Ubud within the city centre is lost. Outside of the city centre towards the rice paddies it is breathtakingly beautiful.  There is a serenity amongst all the paddies and communities that I didn’t feel anywhere else in Bali. It calmed my soul immediately and I could sit there for days.  The weather was completely different.  More humid and cloudy. But like all tourists we did the Monkey sanctury, rice paddie tour and I even got time to fit in a Yoga class.
And with that our holiday was over and it was time to pack up…

What I learned from this holiday – have faith in your children and do not underestimate their abilities or what they are capable of.  I know my boys are great, but they truly suprised me with all the traveling and how they just took everything in their stride.
Reconnecting – Possibly one of THE best things for a family.  Time away with your family makes you reconnect.  I absolutely loved how I could just give myself 100% to my boys and husband with no distractions, work or general life intervering.

My tips for traveling with toddlers:
Before we left I bought my boys a few new toys and hid them away.  On the plane or wherever we traveled, if things got to much for them and they started getting grumpy, I would take out a new toy for each of them.  That definitely bought me time and also provided some joy for them.
iPads, tablets and iPhones were also on hand for the boys, but we always tried distracting first or playing a game before using those items.
Just go with it!  The more relaxed you are the more relaxed they are. They follow your lead and feed off your vibe.  Throw out the routine and just go with what the day offers…
I definitely overpacked my handlugguage bag!  Pack light, if you can.  Most of the things you think you’ll need, you won’t 🙂

My husband and I chose backpacks as our carry on as it freed up our hands.  They were 28L bags and had plenty of space for everything.

Pack a set of extra clothes as accidents happen on planes and food easily gets messed on you or your little ones.  The aircon can sometimes be too much for them, so I took some Sterimar, Iliadin, Telfast and Pholtex cough syrup with just incase.

Most of you have probably already used all my tips up here, but I hope you have enjoyed reading about our holiday (the compact version) and for those who have not travelled with children before, I hope some of these tips come in handy for you.

Bali is definitely a place I would recommend for family holidays.  Traveling is easy there and they cater for every type of traveller.

Happy Woman’s week!


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