My brain has not managed to engage and remember back to our holidays after having Baby Boy, so I am continuing on with my lovely featured bloggers and #travelwithme.Like last week with my lovely Dubai blogger Charlotte taking us to Hatta Fort, this week we are travelling away with the wonderfully named Baby Globetrotters, who is another blogger based in the UAE this time just up the road from me in Abu Dhabi. Which incidentally I haven’t actually been to other than to visit a friend for a couple of hours. And the airport. Which doesn’t count. Must also add Abu Dhabi to the list.
Being an expat I love a good expat blog, but what I love about Baby Globetrotters is the whole ethos, you CAN still travel with children, they don’t have to stop you. They don’t even have to slow you down. From airline reviews, no more worries about what you can and can’t take on a plane, wonderful musings into the expat life and of course top tips and travel advice.
Over to Keri and her very wonderful trip to Vietnam, this is on my list!
Where are you taking us to today?
Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam with a 3.5 year old an 18 month old and newly pregnant with number 3.
What sort of trip was it, adventure, beach, relax, sightseeing?
There was very little planning went into this trip, it was a last minute spur of the moment decision. The UAE suddenly declared a week long public holiday (as they do) and we quickly looked up what new routes we could fly with Etihad – Abu Dhabi airport is only 10 minutes from our house so very convenient!
I had never been to Vietnam and we absolutely love the food, night markets and cheap beer so we thought it would be a perfect short break, more sightseeing than relaxing as it wasn’t really good beach weather that time of year.
Tell me all about it; where you stayed, food you ate, how the little person took it all!
We stayed in serviced apartments in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City which were wonderfully cheap but more than exceeded expectations, including swimming pools and kids clubs! We always try to book somewhere with a small kitchen if we can for preparing bottles and quick kids meals, and separate rooms really helps with sleep.
We were not disappointed by the food, and more importantly we were so impressed by how experimental both the kids were being, happily munching into street food that even we were a little suss on (I can report this has not been the case since!). Vietnamese spring rolls were an absolute favourite and they discovered the fun of prawn crackers.
Our children were treated like celebrities. They have white blonde hair and absolutely everyone wanted to stop and take photos of them, with them, touching them. My daughterhad enough of this and started putting them back in their place if they were too touchy-feely. She also got very good at haggling and telling the street vendors ‘no thank you’, she will make a great negotiator!
We were amazed how easily we got around, we took one Maclaren stroller and the Ergo carrier and pretty much walked everywhere. Streets are narrow and not well paved so glad we didn’t bring the double pram but I’ll admit it could be hot sweaty work walking around, we made plenty of drink stops.
Why did you choose to tell us about this holiday?
This was the trip that really got Baby Globetrotters off the ground. I had written various reviews on our holidays but didn’t just want to become a travel writer, there was more to it about creating something that would help more families travel and gain the confidence to take their little ones abroad.
I couldn’t find much in the market really dedicated to travelling with infants and toddlers so after seeing how successful this trip was, I set about putting the website and blog into action – and exploring the atlas to see where we could go next! This year we will be visiting 5 continents with our three kids, and hopefully more of South East Asia next year.
What is your favourite memory from this trip?
It certainly won’t go down as a favourite travel memory but the most memorable moment of the trip was our bus ride to Ha Long Bay. Our main reason for visiting Hanoi was to drive out to Ha Long Bay and take a boat cruise around the stunning islets.
Our luxury coach turned out to be a mini bus, the seats we reserved for the kids were non-existent, the 3 hour journey was 4 hours, and when we arrived they informed us, “actually the bay is too rough today due to a cyclone passing further south, we have to cancel”. More stranded tourists were packed into our overloaded tourist bus and we spent 4.5 hours driving back to Hanoi. We have never felt so uncomfortably squished and claustrophobic with two toddlers on our laps, I will never complain about the amount of space you get in economy class againOn the plus side, there were a load of tourists on our bus who seemed perfectly content with pictures of our kids rather than the bay.
What did you learn about travelling with babies/toddlers/children from this experience?
They are more adaptable and open to new concepts than you think. They tried new foods, certainly my oldest could recognise it was a different country, she commented there were lots of people and motorbikes, and the houses were tall and skinny. She was really inquisitive as to why things were different, it was wonderful to see and give them this opportunity so early in life.
I also learnt always pack a spare change of clothes for everyone on the plane, even for short trips, never assume the toilet trained toddlers will remain that way on a plane! Also car seats are only safe if there’s a seat belt to attach them too, we thought we were doing the right thing bringing one for our son but none of the taxi’s
ever had seat belts so it ended up being extra luggage we didn’t need.
What is your top tip for travelling with little people?
Slow down! The more you try to achieve the more frustrated you’ll get when things go wrong. Remember kids mainly get agitated and play up when they are hungry, tired or bored. So even on the move and with a lose plan for the day, think when you will schedule in food stops and napping points and make sure there’s something for the kids to look forward to after each ‘grown up ‘ activity so they can stay engaged too.If you want to hear more from Keri then pop over and see her at Baby Globetrotters and give her a follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Or all of them!