Have you always wished to travel to another country, just to experience how it is to be in a different land? My husband and I also wished the same for our family. We wished to bring our kids to HongKong Disneyland, well, not only for them, but for the two of us too, who grew up with fondness for toys and video games. We are not rich and we do not have rich relatives who can sponsor our trip, but even so, our dream to travel was not hampered, because we know that the memories we would make will be worth all the effort. And we were correct. Our first trip became a good start for us and a very memorable one at the same time.
Here are some tips for you who dream to take a leisure trip abroad with your family but still hesitating:
- Do all the paper works. Traveling abroad will require many paper works (if you are a first timer). It will start from securing all the requirements for a passport, then getting the passports themselves, photos, ID’s, etcetera. All these will need time and money. Tip: Enjoy doing the paper works with your family as well. The trip to DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) was like a mini-travel for the four of us. We allotted specific days to process everything we need, and we made sure that we don’t have anything in our mind but that. That way, we enjoyed the company of each other while waiting. Everything may seem to be difficult and stressful at first but soon you will realize that you have everything you need. If you don’t have a budget, process your documents one at a time, like birth certificates first, then next month, passport, etcetera.
- Find the perfect date for your trip. Our first travel was a one-day trip to HongKong. Most of our relatives asked us why we chose to make that very short trip, and why not stay longer. That was because we don’t have that big budget and it was a test of the water in our side. Imagine that our kids were only 5 and 7 year old then and we do not know anything about going abroad. We felt that we couldn’t be away from home that long, for our first time. Tip: Decide on what’s best for you. Do all the necessary research but it will be you who will get to decide in the end, and choose where you will go, stay or eat. Choose a lean season, or when flights or hotels are not that expensive.
- Be prepared to spend. This is not for the half-hearted. If you always think “gastos lang yan”, better not do it. Because when you are already out there, all your efforts will be wasted if you can’t even eat a decent meal or go to places you really planned to go just because you don’t have a pocket money to pay for entrance fees. Tip: Try to purchase everything you can while you are here like the hotel and theme park. That way, you will only figure out what to bring for your allowance. If it will be your first time, I suggest not to splurge because you don’t know how the currency is abroad. Always be on the safe side of having an allowance as your pocket money in cases of emergency. Bring at least one credit card or debit card which you can rely on.
- Secure your flight and hotel in advance. Before we even started to process our passports, we had already booked our flight and hotel long before our planned trip. People are very fortunate these days that that there are websites which allow travelers to see flight schedules even more than a year in advance. There’s one website we know, Traveloka, which combines airline flights and hotel bookings in one platform. In this website, you can compare the flight schedules of different airlines. After you choose, you can just go to check their hotel listings and get your hotel booking matched with your flight. Traveloka offers discounted flights and hotel rates and they are being shown inclusive of the base fees and taxes so you won’t get surprised when you get the actual bill.In our case, we booked our flight and hotel six months before our travel date which gave us enough time to process our papers and work for our pocket money. Tip : Advance purchasing usually gives you an advantage because the tickets and rates are a lot cheaper.
Stepping in a foreign land and seeing HK Disneyland with our kids for the first time was just unforgettable. It was six years ago and we had been to Disney back and forth 3 times already but that first trip was still the sweetest of them all. When we watch our family videos, the memories are still fresh on how cold we felt, how different the smell of the air was, and how happy we all were as a family. Our motto is that “a family that travels together, stays together.”
As parents, try to make it a point to travel while you are young because the days fly so fast. We all seek financial security but making memories is equally important.
I hope I’d given you valuable tips in this blog. Looking forward to see your family’s first travel photos!