We have teamed up with Qantas and Singapore Tourism to share our five top things you should know about family travel when it comes to making the most of being in the air, the dreaded stopover and ways to explore and connect culturally without breaking the bank.
One of the main reasons we travel with our children is for them to interact with different people and cultures. This starts as soon as you board your flight. Encouraging your children to introduce themselves to the inflight team is a wonderful way for them to feel connected and excited about their journey. Not to mention how much help the crew can be in calming your children and keeping them busy on those long flights. Once onboard, our kids are more excited about spending time with the Qantas crew than us. They are obsessed with the being a part of the Joey Club and the activities are travel focused, another great tool to keep them busy and excited. Another tip that helps not only me but them is remembering to order a kids meal when booking. You have a higher chance of getting your children to have full bellies which means there is higher chance they will have a nap. Quiet time for mum and dad.
It feels easy to navigate towards the standard tourist attractions when travelling but we have found that looking for more local activities and cultural adventures is the best way to fall in love with a place and its people. Our recent trip took us through Singapore, which Qantas is calling it's newest gateway to the world, and for good reason. Singapore is well known for it’s amazing theme parks but it also has a diverse local community, rich in cultural offerings. A day spent with the kids exploring the local wet markets and hawker centres is a colourful adventure of foreign smells and tastes. We spent time walking around Tiong Bahru Markets getting a feel for the more traditional Singapore way of life before heading over to Kampong Glam, Singapores oldest urban quarter dedicated to Malay history and culture. The kids were fascinated by our visit to the Sultan Mosque where we had to change into modest robes provided at the entrance. From there, a stroll around to Arab Street and Bussorah Street, the place to pick up local wares such as hand knotted Persian rugs, Arab teas and handmade perfumes.
Changi Airport, Singapore
Hearing you will have to endure a stopover with your kids can sometimes send a chill of fear down a parent's spine. We all just want to get to where we are going, with as little stress and meltdown as possible. But now, with airports catering to family travel more and more, a stopover can be a blessing in disguise. We recently discovered this on our travels to Sri Lanka where we had a stopover at Singapore's Changi Airport. We did our research before landing to discover all three terminals have dedicated playgrounds and art stations, there is a tropical butterfly sanctuary with a 6metre waterfall, a cactus roof garden, rooftop swimming pool and amenities plus family cinemas in terminal 2 and 3 - all free of charge. The Qantas lounge at Changi is a one stop shop for the whole family to eat, shower, play and relax. Needless to say we nearly missed our flights.
DO SOMETHING UNEXPECTED
Being on a family holiday is the best time to embrace the unexpected and go with the flow. It is a myth that when travelling with kids life will be made easier if you plan your itinerary down to the last minute. We leave gaps in our schedules so there is room to stumble upon the unexpected like this swing in Tangelle, Sri Lanka. We spent a good couple of hours flying through the air, pushing one another. Sam and I felt like kids again and the kids thought we were hysterical. An unexpected highlight on this trip.
Not breaking the bank
Some of the best holiday adventures come for free. Along the South Coast of Sri Lanka we asked the locals where could we find paradise and their answer was Hiriketiya Bay near Dickwella. Ok, so you might have to fork out five Aussie dollars to rent a board but our morning spent here was one our best and cheapest. A great family location, you could spend an entire day here underneath the palm trees, eating coconuts and surfing. A melting pot of travellers and locals it’s a great place to meet people and have a beer. Our tip is to check in with the locals to discover insider tips on these gems.