FOUR years ago, I went on an impromptu trip with my husband and then three year-old son, Anton, to the picturesque Island of Camiguin in Misamis Oriental.
There was one instance when I was too busy trying to haggle over the fare for a multicab ride from the port to our hotel in the island of Camiguin, that I hardly felt my son tugging on my sleeves.
After getting a fare that I felt was fair, my son got my attention.
“Mama, look, there’s nice bubbles,” he said. He was pointing at the most breathtaking vista I’ve ever seen — the bluest sea lapping at the shores of the island’s green background, frothy bubbles hitting the rocky surface. A beautiful bird I’ve never seen before was flying along the cliff.
The view was visible only from where we were seated, and I would have missed it if it weren’t for my three-year-old. I was so busy worrying about our vacation, I almost forgot we were there to actually have one.
That was almost five years ago, and now, I have two kids to consider whenever I go on vacations.
Bringing kids along on a trip can change the landscape of a destination. Their young minds see places in a different light, and activities become an adventure. But tagging along a toddler was like having an extra luggage –a Louis Vuitton monogram satchel that gets all the attention it needs!
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t start making memories with your children in your favorite tourist spots. Although there are many things to truly consider, here are some useful pointers to help you get through a vacation and let you have some fun!
Choose your destination wisely
Choosing a place to go is crucial for any family vacation. Not only should you consider your kids’ comfort, but your own as well. If it can be avoided, don’t go to places that are simply too far for restless little minds.
If you want a place that’s easy to navigate yet exotic enough for small adventures, try Camiguin. The plane and bus ride to the jump-off point in Balingoan in Misamis Oriental are fairly comfortable.
From the port, there are already hundreds of multicabs or motorellas (a local ride much like a tricycle) to take you around the island for a modest fee. The fare depends on the places you’re headed to. One can opt for a “day tour” fee of P1,500 that will take tourists around the island’s famous destinations then take them back to port for the last trip out of the island at 5 pm (first trip to Camiguin is 6 am at Balingoan Port).
Going to a beach destination is a good idea if you’re vacationing with kids. Swimming will definitely be a fun activity for them, and they can do it for hours. The Philippines has many family-friendly beach destinations to choose from, but you don’t really have to go far. Batangas has beautiful coastlines that you and your family can consider.
Feel like going on a mountain? Save that until your kids can carry their own bags!
Consider a day trip
This sounds tiring but a day trip is definitely an easy option when travelling with kids. Not only will you need to pack less, but you also save up on a lot of drama from bored kids.
You can go to a museum, visit a waterpark, or go around an amusement park for this.
Easier said than done. Kids take up almost 70 percent of your total baggage, which includes their clothes, toys and feeding paraphernalia. If you can make do with items that you can buy along the way, then that might be something to consider.
Don’t lug a whole jug of distilled water (a liter that you can buy from a convenience store along the way will do), and just bring along enough feeding bottles that can fit a sensible knapsack. Bring also necessary toys – the ones that can keep them busy during road travels. As for strollers, use it to your advantage and make it an extra equipment to help you carry your other stuff.
Since you’re traveling as a group, consider the best deals you can get for both fare and accommodation. Booking early with airlines such as Cebu Pacific and Air Asia can mean around 40 percent or more discount on airfares here and abroad.
Check online as well for the best deals on hotels and resorts. Agoda.com for example, has an ongoing promo where some of their partner hotels all over the country offer an instant room upgrade.
These hotels with free upgrades can be found in Manila, Cebu, Boracay, Bohol, Davao, Batangas, Angeles City and Tagaytay.
This promo is available up to April 22. Just log on to www.agoda.com/phpromo. The stay dates for this promotion are from April 8 to November 30, 2015.
Don’t forget to take souvenir photos of the island! My pictures not only documented a family vacation, but encapsulated memories I know my son, and I, would want to remember in the future!
Just remember also: You’re not on vacation just for your children. You’re there to have fun for yourself as well!