Besides the obvious “don’t drink the tap water” tip, here are a few things to know before you head to Thailand with the kids.
Take a floaty thing for the pool
Thailand is HOT so chances are, you’ll be spending a lot of time in the pool. Inflatable pool toys seem like a silly thing to take on a holiday, but they can be a lifesaver (literally). They fold down and easily slip in the front pocket of your suitcase. They’re great for younger kids who aren’t confident swimmers. You’ll still have to watch them but it saves them having to cling on to you the whole time.
Don’t take/not take your stroller just because a blog post told you so
Whether or not you take your stroller is completely up to you. There are obvious benefits like being able to nap during outings, saves you having to haul around a carrier and provides a bit of shade during the heat of the day. On the other hand, they can be annoying to transport and difficult to navigate busy streets/beaches/stairs/etc. At the end of the day, whether or not you take your stroller is not going to ruin your holiday (unless you let it). If you are looking for a stroller to take on holidays, check out this review of the best travel strollers on the market.
Contact your GP before you go
Some vaccinations are advised before travelling to Thailand. Injections should be taken at least 6-8 weeks before departure.
If you do need medical assistance while you’re in Thailand, refer to the Smart Traveller website to find a doctor near you. It’s also good to take note of the emergency numbers: 1669 for emergencies or 1155 for the tourist police.
Take a travel steriliser if travelling with a baby
If you’re travelling with a child who is bottle-fed, it’s worth investing in a travel steriliser just in case you find yourself in a tricky spot. They’re much smaller than a regular sterilizer and ensure your baby’s feeding equipment is clean wherever you are.
Use packing cells to separate yours and the kid’s clothes
If you’re a ‘one big family, one big suitcase’ kind of family, you’ll be familiar with the struggle of finding your clothes among hundreds of other articles. Packing cells solve this problem. Each person has their own separate pouch so you don’t have to dig through everyone else’s stuff to find your swimmers. If everyone has their own colour, it makes things even easier. Read more about getting the most out of your packing cells here.
Try mosquito repellant stickers (as well as spray)
If you’re particularly tasty to mosquitos, you might want to look at buying some insect repellent patches. They just stick onto your clothing and keep the mozzies away (to an extent). You may also need to apply some insect spray depending on how susceptible you are to mosquito bites. Not keen on chemicals? Lavender oil/spray is a great mosquito repellent.
Get a direct flight (Unless your kids are used to long stopovers)
When those super cheap sale fares come up, it’s very tempting to slam your credit card down without looking at the flight times. Depending on how good your kids are with long-haul flights, you might regret it. Some routes with a stopover can take up to 33 hours to get to Thailand. Direct flights are usually around 9-10 hours. A direct flight will save you bumming around the airport waiting for your holiday to begin.
Check that your hotel has cots available
Unless you’re used to co-sleeping, it’s best to ensure your baby or toddler has a comfy, safe place to sleep. Most hotels will have these available but it’s best to let them know in advance.
Hire a tuk tuk driver as your unofficial guide
These 3-wheel motorised rickshaws are a really fun, cheap way to get around. Ask your hotel if they can recommend a driver for the duration of your stay. It gives you a chance to interact with the locals and support the local economy.
Note: Sometimes they will try to pass on business to their friends and family. They might take you to a jewellery or tailoring shop on the way to your destination. You don’t have to buy anything and you really don’t even have to go in. Just tell your driver that you don’t want to stop anywhere on the way. However, it can be a fun experience, particularly if you’re planning on doing a bit of shopping anyway.
Stock up on sunscreen before you go
Most beachy destinations will charge a premium for sunscreen and aftersun because they know everyone needs it. I once paid $40 for a 200mL bottle of sun lotion! Avoid paying ridiculous prices for these products by grabbing them from the supermarket before you leave. Don’t wait till the airport either. You’ll pay just as much, if not, more.
Thailand by season
Hot season – March to June
Average temperature: 25-35 degrees Celsius
Rainy days per month: 5-18
Note: Weather is very hot and dry during this time. Prices can be slightly cheaper following the peak season.
Monsoon season – May/June to October
Average temperature: 23-30 degrees Celsius.
Rainy days: 9-22
*Note: Later in monsoon season, the rain will be more persistent. However, in the earlier months, a morning or afternoon shower might occur for 2-3 hours and then clear up. Some boat services may shut down during stormy weather.
Cool season – November to February
Average temperature: 24-33 degrees Celsius
Rainy days: 2-5
Note: This is considered ‘high season’ with cooler temperatures, less rain and lush landscapes after the monsoon season. It is also the most expensive time to visit.