It’s always daunting the first time you travel anywhere for the first time with young kids. Bali is no exception!! Here I share a few of my thoughts on things NOT to do while in Bali.
- Plan too much: So you see all this cool stuff to do while you are in Bali and you want to get the most out of your holiday. It is always tempting to over plan and try to fit too much in. Trust me, it will often go to shit if we try too much. Cranky kids = Cranky parents. The heat of Bali really does take it out of you. Expect them to need more day sleeps than at home and it’s so handy to have a nanny to sit in the hotel room while they sleep and you enjoy some pool time.
- Assume if you stay in a villa with a pool it’s not safe for kids: There are some fantastic companies out there like Bali Pool Fence Hire or Bali Baby Hire that will erect a sturdy pool fence at certain villas. Some villas even have permanent pool fences so if you think that a villa might suit your family don’t rule them out. Of course nothing beats adult supervision but having a pool fence gives you that extra piece of mind. If you are still concerned there are also villas that have enclosed living spaces and the doors can be locked to prevent little ones from escaping.
- Think that a quick day trip to Ubud from the south areas will be easy: I love Ubud but I find day trips up there extremely tiring with kids. You spend a lot of time in the car due to traffic and what can seem like not far on the map can be met with tourist buses in grid lock. I highly recommend spending a few nights in Ubud so you can enjoy the peaceful sunrises and sunsets once the bus loads from Nusa Dua have gone for the day.
- Stay in Seminyak only because everyone tells you to: I love Seminyak. It’s restaurants, coffee, shopping, sunsets, the list goes on!! But with young kids it’s not quite as awesome. Why, well there’s not as much to do in Seminyak with young kids compared to other areas. The paths are horrendous with strollers, there’s not a beach path like Sanur or Benoa, there is limited hotels with kids clubs and fun things like Waterbom or Splash are a good 1/2 hour drive. Don’t get me wrong, we have stayed in Seminyak before with kids but I found we were always in taxis to get to places as it was so hard to walk along with the kids.
- Not carry a vomit bag in the car: Ok so we are well rehearsed in this issue! I’m not sure what it is, maybe the lack of sitting up high in a car seat, the heat or goodness knows but every trip, but the last one the kids have spewed in the car. First time was in Ubud when Charlotte was 22 mths old and resulted in me losing my Dad’s video camera as I was too busy trying to help our driver clean up her spew on his vans floor. Then there’s the good old Waterbom curse where on the 4 times we have been there one of the kids has spewed in the taxi 3 times!
- Take a large pram or no pram at all: We often get asked about how prams/strollers cope in Bali and I love taking a stroller. Big prams are just too heavy and too wide to handle the paths. We have previously used the Mountain Buggy Nano and the Quicksmart stroller. Both fold up to go in overhead plane lockers and handled paths well. The Nano would definitely be my pick due to storage space and quality. Just remember a shade cover like Cozigo as it can get warm in the sun.
- Think that you have to take car seats with you: When in Bali on short trips the traffic travels quite slowly so the kids just sit on our laps or when old enough put a seat belt on. The laws aren’t the same in Bali as in Western Countries, you might even see a whole family travelling on a bike! There are some great drivers out there that have car seats for their vans so this can be one way to travel around especially on long day trips.
- Cancel on a nanny at the last minute that you have prebooked: I am often left in disbelief when nanny’s, that we are good friends with, tell me that they have had clients cancel their bookings the night before they are supposed to start work. This is how they earn money and support their families so it’s just not on. Sometimes circumstance change for unexpected reasons, this can’t be helped, but when their clients are telling them the night before that we have decided to just get a friend to help out it’s not good! If you give the nanny enough notice hopefully she can find other work for that time.
- Stress about family getting Bali belly: On my 7 trips to Bali I have spewed once. Well not exactly true, a couple of other times self induced from drinking too much Arak when I was 19! Charlotte has been car sick but majority of the time we have been OK. They are kids, there is every chance that they or you could pick up gastro back in Australia and though not ideal on holiday there are options if it does happen. Try some gastrolyte icy poles, keep the water up to them as much as you can and ease back into bland foods once they are feeling better. If they become lethargic or can’t keep any fluids down take them to one of the medical clinics or hospitals. BIMC is one that comes highly recommended, just make sure you have travel insurance.
- Travel to Bali without travel insurance: This is something that no one should ever do, not just to Bali but anywhere internationally. If you can’t afford travel insurance you can’t afford to travel. As soon as you book anything related to your travel there book it. You never know when those pesky volcanoes will erupt again and you need to be insured before a new one happens or you won’t be covered even if it’s weeks off. Also if you are pregnant be sure to check out what the policy covers.