The Truth About Traveling with Tots (plus giveaways!)

Yes this blog is all about traveling with tots in tow! So here I am about to dish out realistic expectations, truths and tips on how it is to travel with kids. For all of you who wonder how it really is, read on.

It’s assumed that if you choose to travel often with your kids, you also prefer to breastfeed because, it’s will make your life simpler. No need to bring bottles, formula and clean water. Oh, it’s also FREE (That’s a big one on my husband’s books!). If you’re the shy type, then bring nursing covers. For my second child, I’ve graduated from them already because I want to show the world that breastfeeding is absolutely normal and beautiful. I just use my own child’s head as cover. It works just fine!

breastfeeding advocate

A baby carrier will be your bestfriend especially if you travel alone with your children. You will need your hands for many many things: to fill up forms at the airport, to eat on the plane and to lug your own luggage, etc. Choose a carrier that is right for you and your baby’s current age. I would go for optimum comfort.

This is the Saya baby carrier which is soft and snug at the same time. I used it a lot when my little one was less than a year old. There is a learning curve to using this so please practice way before your planned trip!

saya baby carrier

As my daughter got older and heavier, I looked for another brand that can give me better support. I brought the Boba Air with me on my recent trips to Thailand and Vietnam. This carrier distributes the weight much more evenly on my body. It’s a plus that it folds into a small pouch and is lightweight!

boba air carrier

Aside from the baby carrier, a stroller is essential too! It will save your spine from long hours of carrying. I like using strollers for when my child is asleep. The Armadillo by Mamas and Papas has the legroom needed for your child to sleep soundly.

Armadillo Mamas and Papas stroller

The downside of bringing a stroller? When you have a high need child not wanting to use it. Or if you are suddenly in a place where there are no pathways for it! This was in the subway of Seoul where we had difficulty finding the lift so my parents and my son had to carry the stroller at one point! Tip: Study places where you will be taking the stroller. Undergrounds or train stations (like in India!) aren’t usually stroller-friendly!

Prepare to be a sponge if and when your kid/s get nauseated from the trip. This is me still smiling en route to an island in Palawan after my daughter throws up on me 3 times that afternoon.  I had to throw away her onesie because I couldn’t stand even holding on to it for washing. Tip: Always bring a plastic bag for these instances! I learned my lesson the hard way.

Forget full body massages as that is out of the question (unless you get a massage in your hotel room when your baby is asleep in the bed next to yours…yeah right!) Opt instead for the foot massage and expect massages to look more like this–

or this–

Your child will fall asleep at not-so-perfect-times. Imagine this scenario: you meticulously plan your vacation of the century with so many sights and photos to be taken. Then..bam, your child falls asleep just right before you take your family photo. It happens…all the time! Learn to be flexible and just roll with it. This is me with my friend with our exhausted little ones in Pai, Thailand.

kids in pai thailand

Tell me, what are your travel truths? But before you answer that….

HERE ARE THE GIVEAWAYS, BLOG READERS!

First prize: A stylish and lightweight black Delsey luggage from the 2015 collection

delsey giveaway my little globetrotters

Consolation prize: A Boba mini for your little one in tweet design (This is too cute! I want one for Maya!!!)

 

boba mini giveaway

Here are the mechanics:

  • Follow My Little Globetrotters on Facebook and @mylittleglobetrotters on Instagram
  • Follow Delsey Philippines on Facebook and @delseyph on Instagram
  • Follow Boba Philippines on Facebook and @boba_ph on Instagram
  • Post a photo on Instagram (posting on Facebook is optional but highly recommended) answering this question in caption: What are your travel truths? Tag @mylittleglobetrotters @delseyph and @boba_ph on the photo and use all of these 5 hashtags #MyLittleGlobetrottersxDelseyPH #MyLittleGlobetrottersxBobaPH #MyLittleGlobetrotters #DelseyPH and #BobaPH
  • The correct photo entry with the most likes wins. (Please follow instructions!)
  • We will announce winners on Oct 8, Friday. Winners must be willing to pick up the prize from Makati or San Juan.
  • This blog contest is only open to Manila residents only.  (Unless you will be traveling to Manila sometime soon so then you are eligible because you can pick up the prize next week!)

Goodluck! C’mon people, let’s be creative in our photo entries and captions 🙂 I look forward to receiving them 🙂

Oh, and congratulations to the previous blog contest winners:my little globetrotters blog winners

 

Please get in touch with me at monica(dot)mylittleglobetrotters(dot)com to claim your prize!

 

 

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The Three Broomstown of Somewhereland | Thi Tran Ba Cay Choi 

Looking for something to do for kids in Saigon? The Three Broomstown of Somewhereland or Thi Tran Ba Cay Choi is the perfect place to be for children!

We learned about this place from a friend of ours who now resides in Ho Chi Minh City. This place is famous with the locals for kiddie parties and weekend activities.

We arrived at about 9pm and it was still packed with people baking their own muffins and doing all kinds of crafts with kids! It is an amazing concept which I wish Manila had, too!  

Apparently, there are two branches, one is the goblin house and this one is the house of the witch. Obviously, this is inspired by the likes of Harry Potter!


My son decided he wanted to bake his own flow fairy cupcakes …

You can also choose to make your own birthday cake!

  Here are the prices for the toppings. Really affordable!

This is my son with Raina who is SPED and kids yoga teacher based in Ho Chi Minh. 

There goes the sprinkles!

While waiting for the cupcakes to bake, we went to take a look around…  
  

I thought this was so cute! The Froggy Frog Theatre 🙂
  

What’s he looking at?

A spooky secret at the bottom of the well!

Bottles of potions  

A really catchy menu to spark your imagination: Blood mixture, brown mud, fairy potion, etc.


And the cupcakes were a success! My son was so delighted with his own creation ❤

cupcakes three broomsticks hcmc

The Three Brownstown of Somewhereland or Thi Tran Ba Cay Choi

Address: 141 Phan Xich Long, Ward 2, Phu Nhuan District

http://www.bacaychoi.com

http://www.facebook.com/bacaychoivn

 

Our First Airbnb Experience: A French Colonial Villa in Saigon

Our First Airbnb Experience: A French Colonial Villa in Saigon

Hello! We have just returned from my birthday trip to Ho Chi Minh City formerly known as Saigon. We’ve heard so much good reviews of Airbnb and just had to try out ourselves! We are very much pleased with our first experience! Sharing you some photos of our French Colonial Villa in District 3 of HCMC which we paid 138 USD for 2 nights only!

Here’s our bedroom which was so much bigger than almost hotel rooms (for the price you pay, it is superb!) Don’t expect the place to be as clean and obviously as new as some of the hotels because we are talking about histrocial property here.  It feels a lot like staying in a relative’s home. With sheets and furniture and all that.

IMG_1755

Our bathroom was as big as a bedroom, too!

bath airbnb saigon

spacious airbnb bath

I really love this bird cage lamp accent. They’re all over Saigon. Next time I visit, I vow to take home one!

bird cage saigon

Here is the shared lounge space. The villa has 3 rooms, we were lucky that only our family shared it with 2 other foreign ladies who we rarely saw. So we basically had the whole villa all to ourselves most of the time!

saigon furniture

High ceiling, lots of windows and natural light coming through the kitchen. We didn’t stay long enough to do any cooking. Besides, why would we, Pho is too cheap in Saigon!

There is a garden in the kitchen. Love all the greens it is so refreshing to look at 🙂

Here’s the view from the kitchen’s veranda.

view from the terrace airbnb saigon

The only downside is the very long staircase to the rooms which is a little bit of a challenge for very old or very young kids so I had to guard my 18 month old child each time she came out of our bedroom.

Find link to this French Colonial Villa Airbnb here. And tell Pham the Manzanos from the Philippines say hello!

Have you tried Airbnb? Care to share your favorite hosts?

Travel Essentials For Our Saigon Trip

travel essentials kids
Tonight we leave for Saigon and I’m packing up a storm. I used to be very good at packing but these days, packing for 2 adults and 2 kids can get…chaotic.

I share with you some of the stuff were taking for use on this trip 🙂

Merry Hempsters Hemp Baby Salve. My daughter’s skin is so sensitive I need something as handy as this for daily scratches and bites.  Get yours from cutieverse.com

Mustela’s Vitamin barrier cream is fantastic on the bum! My baby’s not mine LOL Mustela has many branches in Manila but also abroad. Find your local Mustela store near you.

Messy Bessy’s Toy & Surface Cleaner is wonderful for cleaning restaurant’s high chairs and table tops. Messybessy.com has a wide range of all natural products for the home, kids and adults!

Baby Carrot Children’s herbal chest rub for when the kids get the sniffles. Purchase this online from Mountain Rose Herbs in the US.

Gargoyle Oil Pulling Tonic is really for me but it’s great to have VCO for emergencies. Find at http://www.flowretreats.com

Moonshine Baby Bottom Spray from INDIGObaby is my ultimate go to for diaper changes and emergency hand wash soap (because they never have natural soaps in establishments!) You’ll be pleased to know that indigobabyshop.com sells internationally.

Aura athletica’s mat spray also doubles up as my deodorizer in planes or other public transpiration. Gotta keep our surroundings smelling fresh! Aura Athletica is a local boutique in Manila with two branches in Rockwell and at Bonifacio High Street.

The Farm’s Bug and Bite Bomb I love because it acts as a pest deterrent as well as a balm for bites. Smells good too! Get it at The Farm in San Benito Batangas or at their Manila office at the Pen, Makati City.

Mustela’s derma cleansing for zero parabens, yay!

And then there’s my Lagu beach blanket which is awesome for laying kids on when there’s no chairs in sight. Instant picnic wherever you may be! Available online at http://www.flowretreats.com

Care to share your travel essentials for kids?

Baby Carrier: Boba Air Review 


  
I am a babywearing advocate. Since my first born was 10 days old, I have chosen to carry him in a sling because of instant access to nursing and it was one of the few things that would soothe him because he cried so often during those early months.

Fast forward to today, 8 years later, I still choose to babywear his younger sister. I used the Boba Air for our last trip to Northern Thailand so I can review it for all of you fab readers!

So, what’s so special about the Boba Air carrier? First and foremost, it probably is the most compact carrier I have laid my eyes on! And it doesn’t weigh much either. I love how you can fold it into a very small pouch that you can keep inside your purse when not in use. So handy this small thing!

You can easily wear the Boba and your baby, too! I thought I would have a learning curve but surprisingly, it was so easy to snap on and carry my baby in both front and back positions. For the back option, I still needed help from one of my friends but soon enough with much more practice I think I will be able to nail it.

I was traveling sans the husband and the Boba Air truly helped me travel with much more freedom giving me the proper support, ease and security needed for my baby. I highly recommend this for frequent travelers. Make sure to add this to your wish lists for Christmas or your baby shower! It’s the best gift you can ask for 🙂


boba air travel
boba babywearing  babywearing travel
babywearing asia

To know more about the Boba Carriers check http://www.boba.com 👍

Amazing European Adventure with Jen’s Little Globetrotters

Guest Blogger: Jen Mayuga-Cruz

We’re taking a break from Asia  to give you useful travel tips for tots from an amazing Euro adventure which is definitely on my bucketlist!

Paris Museum with kids

This is part of my guest blog series featuring different parents roaming the world with tots in tow. I pick up a lot of useful tips interviewing people which I find so relevant and useful for my personal itineraries. I’m sure you would love to hear what homeschooling mom, Jen Mayuga-Cruz, has to share about her recent trip in Europe with her 2 children.
Name and age/s of your little globetrotters: Mateo, 8 and Daniella, 17 months
Eiffel Tower with baby
Where has your most memorable trip been? This is my first trip with Daniella but Mateo and I have been to a lot of countries together. I suppose because this is my initiation to travelling with two children, our recent trip to Europe now tops the chart. 🙂
French Alps with Kids
From Manila we flew into Paris and stayed for 5 days, took the TGV Lyria train to Geneva, flew via EasyJet to Bologna where we rented a car to go around its agro-tourism area and historic center and so we could drive to Padua and to Venice. From Venice we took another flight to Amsterdam, which was our last stop for the 15-day trip.  This is where we flew home to Manila from.
Louvre with Kids
Tips on visiting the Louvre with kids
1.) Pre-purchase tickets online and print (kids 0-12 no charge).
2.) Choose a date when the museum
has extended night hours from 5-9pm and go after 5pm. We were able to do this and there was no crowd at all that we had front-row view of the usually overcrowded Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa.
3.) Plan your route well around this massive site so you don’t go back and forth. Two hours should be enough for an 8 year old. Be prepared to carry stroller on some steps.:)
Which hotels would you recommend as family-friendly?
I loved our hotel experiences in:
1.) Geneva at La Barcarolle Hotel
Hotel La Barcarolle
It is a small, four-star hotel in Prangins, Switzerland with a Michelin-award winning restaurant.  We arrived close to 10pm and their kitchen had already closed but they still willingly whipped up pasta, soup and some Croque Monsieur for our party of 13.
Also, the hotel staff WAS very understanding towards the only (running, screaming, loitering) children in the area and there were FOUR of them — ages eight, seven, three and one!
2.) Bologna at Locanda Gli Ulivi
This family-owned bed-and-breakfast is nestled between hills of vineyards and farms.  They had a pool overlooking the hills and enough of open space for the kids to play in supervised.  I had my best Italian meal here: home-cooked, fresh and served with their own wine!
Tips on Travel with Kids:
  1.  Skip Venice. Too many bridges and canals for little feet and parents who have to babywear while also carrying luggages and strollers! LOL.
  2. Bring your own garbage bag, water bottle and lots of snacks on the plane for long-haul flights and in your bag for those long, touristy walks. We loved having packets of nuts, dried fruit and a big bottle of Bobble Sport http://www.waterbobble.com/bobble-sport-water-bottles that we could refill with water (almost) anywhere in Europe.
  3. Plan your itinerary but be prepared to just scrap it.  Planning allows you to pinpoint the areas you want to explore for the day so you don’ t waste time walking aimlessly or taking unnecessary train/bus/tram rides. Kids can only take so much of museums and churches so don’t expect to spend lots of time in them (boohoohoo!) and give them lots of time to run around and play in parks/fields that you might chance upon. Or, just plan to spend half the day outdoors with enough food for a picnic the way we did on our last day in Amsterdam. We took advantage of the lush, green park and the fantastic weather. 🙂
  4. Everyone go potty right before leaving the hotel and every chance you get without needing to pay. 😀
  5. If you have a baby, breastfeed. Enough said.
 Jen Mayuga Cruz is one of the founders and managing partners of SESOU Nature Source, a chain of retail stores for everyday green living. She has been a homeschooling mom for five years who feels that, because she is relearning and unlearning in the process, she is as much a student as she is a teacher.

 

Mamas and Papas Armadillo Stroller Review

A Review of the Armadillo Stroller by Mamas and Papas

stroller at the airport

An attachment parent, breastfeeding and babywearing advocate like myself admit to using strollers when I travel because I practice compassion towards my body and baby. The convenience a stroller gives me when my 17 month old sleeps while in transit or when I lay her down so I can eat a decent meal is so very crucial to my sanity during the early childhood years. I took the chance to review the Armadillo Mamas and Papas stroller during our recent Thailand trip for all of you readers 🙂

Armadillo Mamas and Papas

So what’s so special about the Armadillo?

For one, I love that the stroller’s hood gives MAXIMUM protection against all types of weather: strong winds, harsh sun or rain. I can’t help but remember the time my daughter got drenched in Hong Kong when it began to pour because the stroller I used didn’t have a decent hood! Here’s another story I will share with you: An old Chinese lady started reprimanding me because the air vent of the fan in one of the stores of the theme park was directly hitting my daughter. She literally pulled whatever clothing there was on the stroller and asked me to cover her up! Maybe if I had a more protective stroller, she wouldn’t have?

Another useful thing the hood provides is safety and privacy. We all know that many strangers get too close to our kids and some even have the nerve to take photos or try to touch our precious babies! The warrior mama in me doesn’t allow such and having a stroller like this really sheilds our little ones from those annoying  types!

mamas and papas stroller

Another key feature is the expansive leg room. Think of it as giving your child the first class seat of strollers. Compared to other strollers where my little one is forced to bend her legs in seated position all the time, on the Armadillo, she is able to extend her legs in comfort during long waits in the airport. And you know that you will have many long waiting periods for all your trips!

Admittedly, it is not as light-weight as the Mclaren stroller I have at home because it has those extra features mentioned above which an umbrella stroller doesn’t have. So, prioritize according to your needs.

This is how your stroller looks folded and standing.

Mamas Papas Stroller Folded

You also have the option to lay it down and maybe store it like so underneath a cabinet or the bed.

stroller fold

You may find out more information on the Armadillo Push Chair (as they call it!) here.

Check out this oh-so-chic video by Mamas and Papas. It will make you wish you were traveling around Europe with it! LOL 🙂

Mamas and Papas

http://www.mamasandpapas.ph/

 

Review: Rarinjinda Wellness Spa Resort

Review: Rarinjinda Wellness Spa Resort

The beginning of our Flow Northern Thailand adventure started in Rarinjinda Wellness Spa Resort in Chiang Mai.

IMG_1114

Our welcome drink of cold Thai coconuts was such a pleasure after our 2nd flight in two days. Obviously, it was my little one who drank most of my coconut and I had to ask for a second one! LOL

thailand coconuts

The king sized bed was so inviting. If we were to nap all day, that would be the spot. However, we had tours and activities to do!

Rarinjinda Room Image

A regret is not having tried Rarinjinda’s gorgeous pool. Some of the first floor rooms had direct pool access from their balconies! Lucky!

TIP: Make sure to request for these rooms if you want easy access to swimming 🙂

Rarinjinda Pool

Instead of swimming, we bathed in our suite’s indoor jacuzzi. How can we resist?!

indoor jacuzzi rarinjinda

All guests have complimentary yoga sessions daily. You’ll need to sign up with reception so they may schedule with the teacher. rarinjinda yoga

While my young one couldn’t get her hands off the water dispenser, I gravitated towards the basket with heaps of delicious rambutan! This is my favorite fruit and they happen to give it out for free in the movie room. Can you guess where I hung out the most? 🙂

rambutan thailand

Breakfast is served at Deck One, the restaurant by the river across the hotel. I must say, I’ve never had such a wonderful dining experience watching boats pass me by as we ate in peace. The kids definitely enjoyed, too!

Deck 1 Riverside View Chiang Mai

my little globetrotters travel blog

breakfast thailand

And we discovered the best thing to eat on the planet at the breakfast buffet spread of Deck One – THAI COCONUT PANCAKES! So very delicious and addicting!

coconut pancakes

Right before checking out, we spotted one of their staff making fresh Thai herbal balls for their world famous spa.

Thai Herbal Massage Balls

RARINJINDA WELLNESS SPA AND RESORT

14 Charoenraj Road, T.Watkate, Muang, Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand

+66 53 303 030

www.rarinjinda.com

 

Westin Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok

Review of Westin Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok

After an adventurous 4 nights of traveling around Northern Thailand, it was delightful to decompress in the luxurious signature Heavely Bed of Westin Grande Sukhumvit Hotel in Bangkok City.

The Heavely Bed Westin Hotel
TIP: Enroll with Starwood Preferred Guests before booking at Westin Bangkok to be able to get on a room on a higher floor with views just like these. You also get perks like free Wifi all throughout your stay and no-questions-asked, hassle-free late check out at 2pm.

Westin Bangkok Room View

Bangkok at Night

If you appreciate bathrooms like we do, you will like Westin’s Art Deco style shower and bathtub. Bathroom Westin Bangkok

Westin Bangkok Bathroom image

Someone definitely enjoyed her first bubble bath! travel blogger asia

We were pleased with the Westin Kids Club kit which contained a rubber ducky and a few other kiddie essentials for our stay in the hotel. That was real thoughtful of them!

Westin Kids Club
Oh, and the SuperFoodsRx Buffet Breakfast is superb! Finally, my kids and I can eat healthy with a wide selection of high vibrational foods to choose from! The Wheatgrass and Apple Juice Shot is a fantastic jumpstart for the day. My daughter caught a cold that week so I nourished her with warming soups from the Oriental selection of the superfoods buffet.

Breakfast Buffet Westin
Superfood Breakfast

Westin provides full work out gear and shoes for rent if you didn’t get to pack any! I think this is an amazing idea for light travelers! Too bad I didn’t have anyone to watch over my little tot so I can give it a try myself.

Westin Bangkok Gym

The salt water pool of Westin Bangkok is also a healthier alternative for your skin and body. I am very particular with swimming in pools especially when you are with kids because of the amount of chlorine used. Having a salt water pool just melts those worries away for health freak mothers like me!

Westin Pool

 

WESTIN GRANDE SUKHUMVIT

259 Sukhumvit Road · Bangkok, 10110 · Thailand

Phone: (66)(2) 207 8000

http://www.westingrandesukhumvit.com