Traveling in the Philippines with small children is like herding cattle on holidays. It can be really messy and chaotic but it can also go smoothly. Whether you are babysitting for someone else’s or they are your own, their needs should be prioritized otherwise your whole vacation is ruined. Whether it is thinking about toilet stops or downloading games on the kiddie Tablet, we’ve got you covered.
Here are some tips for when you visit the Philippines with small children.
1.Expect the unexpected in terms of Climate: Climate in the Philippines is unpredictable especially during the rainy season between June and October. It is important then that the kids are always comfortably dressed as it tends to get too humid and warm even in the cooler months. Make sure that they have proper gears like slippers on the beach (to protect them from sea urchins), hats, rain jackets or hiking boots.
2.Never leave without toys: Finding a kiddie park or a playground at every turn in the Philippines is not possible. There are a lot of parks and playgrounds but they are situated in specific places in the community and they are not always easily accessible to tourists. For those, the best bet is Manila and surrounding provinces. Unless you are in the mall where you have plenty of options for the kids, never leave your hotel without toys especially when you go on road trips. It will be really helpful if you have an IPad full of kiddie games or videos that are suitable for kids to keep them preoccupied. Always remember that in the Philippines, 50% of the time, you will be on the road so keeping your kids busy in the car is always a helpful thing to do.
3. Book Ahead: Yes, the Philippines is a beautiful country and is ideal for families even with small children. However, there are a lot of things you need to factor in when you are traveling with a kid. You need to check whether a crib is available, are there any high chairs in the restaurants, or is there at least a kiddie pool in the compound?
It is very frustrating when you arrive at the hotel only to find that it isn’t family friendly at all. So, it is important to book in advance so you can choose the best options for your whole family without compromising your budget. Booking in advance also gives you ample time to tell the hotel or the resort of your special requests and they can make the necessary arrangements which is unlikely to happen when you book at the last minute.
In addition, booking everything in advance will give you sufficient time to prepare your kid’s documents like passports and other ID’s. You can also add some apps on the kiddie tablet/IPad for your travels. Invest in travel insurance and child locator so whatever happens during your vacation, you and your kids are always safe.
4. Never forget to bring protection sprays: Kids love the outdoors thus, they are prone to insect bites and in the Philippines, mosquitoes and ticks are common. Always ensure that you have insect repellent and anti-jelly fish sting creams to protect your child on road trips and boat rides. Sunscreen is also a must so kids can play longer outside without a risk of getting sunburnt. Ticks are nasty and can be really dangerous for kids so anti-tick sprays are also equally important.
5. Always bring special items for your kids with special needs: Although it is easy to find western brands in the Philippines, a lot of special items required for medical purposes are still difficult to buy and if you are in the province, your chances of finding those things are little. Items like anti-histamine, inhaler, insulin shots and topical creams should be brought from your country of origin. Do not take the risk so as not to ruin your chances for an enjoyable vacation with the whole family. It doesn’t hurt to have your own thermometer, antiseptic wipes, plasters and easy-to-swallow fever medicines.
6. Moderate the supply of sugary treats: Hyperactive kids are hard to control and prone to tantrums so always control the sweet treats intake of your kids. Instead of bringing sweet stuff like candies and chocolates on your trips, bring sliced fruits, bread with peanut butter or cheese filling, cheese cubes or bread sticks to avoid arriving in a place with children in the middle of sugar rush.
7. Keep your kids busy with travel journals, camera or colouring books: Instead of always in the playful mood, encourage your kids to spend their energy on more educational stuff like colouring/drawing books, travel journals and kiddie camera. You’ll be surprised at how creative kids can be. If you give them a camera to capture anything that interests them, you might find wonderful stuff that kids capture apart from people’s feet and grasses. You might find some rabbit photos or butterflies or flowers on a roadside. Not only does taking photos keep them busy it also helps them see more of the world they live in. Furthermore, travel journals can help with their writing skills and manner of expression. It encourages them to focus on the journey and be more attentive about the things they see, foods they taste and sounds they hear. This way, they learn more and they experience more.
8. Involve the kids in every activity that you do as a family: When you are traveling with kids, you usually don’t do extreme activities unless the kids are old enough to participate. Otherwise, keep all the activities kid-friendly so the little ones can also join in on the fun. If you are on a beach, building sand castles are usually the most recommended activity for small kids but other activities like hide and seek, board games, camping with bonfire or swimming are also equally entertaining. Other kid-friendly activities include: going to the zoos and feeding the animals, visiting the oceanarium (Manila Ocean Park), watching animal shows, going into art and science museums, watching kiddies’ films and trying out some nice local delicacies.