Traveling China w/ a 15 month old...
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Nov 22, 2012 12:59 AM Last Post By: famhud
Sep 18, 2012 10:03 PM
Traveling China w/ a 15 month old...Am I crazy to try to take my 14 month old on a 15 day tour of China? Planning a trip for next May with my mother. Both of us are seasoned travelers, but this would be my first international trip with the baby. He's only 7 months now, and I'm having a very difficult time imagining 15 days away from him. He's an easy little guy, and the domestic travel we've done has really been a breeze.
Major concerns are ruining the trip with a cranky guy, limiting what we can do and see, and safety/health for him.
I also (might) want to prove to myself that having a family won't put a cramp in my travel style, but have no idea what to expect from him on a trip of this level.
Can anyone offer advice on what I should do? Take him or leave him with dad at home?
And if you've traveled to China with a baby before, I'd love to hear your perspective... Would you do it again? What are your tips? We're daytime naps an issue?
Does anyone know if you can get reliable trustworthy babysitters overseas if say, we wanted to go to a dinner show?
Sep 19, 2012 2:47 AM
1Um, yeah, a little crazy I think. The pollution and food safety issues are a known huge problem in China and babies are more affected by such. If you are still breastfeeding that would help some, but he will probably be walking or at least crawling so won't be a nice, quiet lap baby as he is now.
I wouldn't leave him at home, I'd postpone the trip for another time when you all can enjoy it more. If you do go....do it sloooow and see less. 2 weeks is fast travel which tends to be hard on toddlers.
Young baby travel tends to be easy, toddler travel..not so much. Good news is gets great again in preschool and school age. ;) You can travel with a toddler, I just think it best done closer to home and less touring, less stress/tension and more geared to toddler needs.
Sep 19, 2012 3:03 AM
Please don't be misguided in the thought that as a seasoned traveller your child won't cramp your style. He will!
When travelling with kids you will have to alter you travel expectations. Toddlers get cranky they require food and sleep on demand.
In saying that you can still have a good time, you just have to learn that you now have a child and you need to accommodate them. Plan your day around your child's routine eg. schedule in museum trips for nap time when you can just push him quietly about.
Take plenty of snacks out with you for the day and plan stops at playgrounds or where he can run about.
Travel won't be what you are use to, but it is quite wonderful seeing the world through a child's eye.
Sep 21, 2012 6:03 PM
3I live with my kids in China (ages 3 and 5, but they were both born here) and we take them traveling all the time. For a 15 day trip I would not really be concerned about food safety and pollution, although it is something to consider if you were thinking of living in China long term (and still, many foreigners live in China with their kids, like I do, you just take precautions).
That said, traveling with a child will cramp your style somewhat, although it can be done. You adjust your expectations. With our kids, we can't be as spontaneous as we used to be. We book things in advance more, we plan our excursions around fun things for the kids (we went to Kashgar. I probably wouldn't have chosen a camel ride for myself, but the kids loved it), we make sure that we eat at places that have something the kids will enjoy (so we usually don't eat, say, spicy hot pot, as much as we might like it for ourselves), we take a slower pace. We plan around naps, but that's ok. When we travel with the kids, we usually go out exploring early-ish in the morning, go back to our hotel after lunch for a nap and a rest, then go out again in the late afternoon.
And, if it helps, China is very friendly to kids. People here love children and are very willing to make accomodations for them. When we travel by train and can't get bottom bunks, we usually have no trouble finding someone to trade with us for the kids' sake.
I see people traveling with kids in China all the time. Sure you have to adjust somewhat, but traveling with kids can be a great adventure. Our kids love looking back at our albums of all their adventures and constantly ask when we're going back to such and such a place. You have to adjust your expectations a bit, but you don't have to stop traveling because you have a child.
Sep 21, 2012 9:41 PM
4As said a toddler will change the way you travel, but how enjoyable it is depends a lot on how relaxed you are, and what your toddler's habits are. I've got two boys who are very different in personality. With the oldest I could change location every night and be on the move. He would sleep when he needed it, and be easily entertained when he was awake (we never had the easy-travel baby with him because he was mobile very young and frustrated with his lack of mobility before that!). I just had to make sure he didn't get hungry. The second did need more routine and could get grumpy, but even then we just had to pay more attention to the routines - such as be somewhere he could sleep easily when he needed it. He managed a fast paced tour in northern India (we live in India) as a toddler and was never grumpy.
So, I don't think you are crazy at all. Just keep in mind that some of each day will probably be spend in sleep / food routines (unless you have a child like my older son). Overnight trains are a great way to travel with young kids. The motion often makes them sleep well, and it avoids long day journeys. China trains will be so much cleaner than the ones we have in India so you shouldn't have to worry too much about hygiene. (that was my biggest headache travelling around here with them).
Sep 25, 2012 4:29 PM
5We've just returned from 7 days in China + 7 days in Hong Kong with our 21 month old and had a great trip.
As the other posters have advsied taking a child can 'cramp your style' to an extent. As long as you don't go with huge expectations of what you child will be able to handle then you'll be fine.
We didn't go on a planned tour as such, we had 7 days in beijing where we had planned a couple of day trips and had a few days spare in between. this worked well for us as we could go out for a full day then not have to stress about taking the little guy out again the next day if he was still tired. This just gave us some flexibility around sleep times and making sure he was OK for the full day tours.
As it worked out we ended up doing something every single day and he slept in the stroller when he got too tired.
However, on our last day in beijing we went to the Forbidden City on a particularly smoggy and humid day and he couldn't handle it and we had to leave after about 1 hour. That was a bit disappointing because I'd been looking forward to seeing the Forbidden City so much, but hey you just have to be prepared to adjust your plans a bit.
I'd definately travel to China again with a small child, we had no huge hassles at all.
To make it easier though it would be good if you child can easily sleep in a stroller, doesn't get freaked out by strangers (as so many people kept touching and photographing our boy), and can handle not having regular sleep times during the day (if he doesn't fall asleep in the stroller).
Have a great trip!
Sep 28, 2012 3:30 PM
6How many locations will you visit in 15 days? If the answer is 3 or fewer, then I'd say "no problem!" If you'll be in a different city every day or two, and spending a lot of time on long-distance trains and busses, then maybe you should think twice.
Traveling with a child can be great -- we've done a lot of it -- but it is different. Less spontaneous and slower-paced.
Oct 1, 2012 1:39 AM
Oct 2, 2012 1:37 AM
8We are currently travelling around china, vietnam, cambodia and laos with three boys, 2, 6, 9. And loving it. When they get tired and cranky, nap time! Just take things a bit slower than you would if it was just you. No probs buying nappies in Xi'an.
The boys are more popular than the attractions.... just be aware the chinese will want to hold bubs and have photos take with him. If we had 1 rmb for every photo taken, we would be millionares by now! Enjoy it! He wont remember a thing, but hey, does it matter? We packed extra gastrolyte and bandaids, just in case. The boys are already asking when can we come back? So they are enjoying it.
I wanted to do the camel riding, but was told that 2 was too young, glad to see thelocaldialect was able to do it. There are some things we will do when they are bigger - hike the TLG, camel riding, bit more remote areas. but that leaves more stuff for another trip!
Just enjoy it!
Oct 28, 2012 6:46 PM
9If you are breasfeeding, that makes the trip easier. Safety and pollution are not a big worry for a 15 days trip, you just need to be careful. You can still travel and have fun with your baby, but you need to accomodate his schedule and plan ahead for the day. I would rather take my baby with me. I have travelled to China with my little one, and I would definitely do it again. Good Luck !!
Nov 22, 2012 12:59 AM
10Hi, we lived and travelled in China with our children. 15 days in China is a very short time. If you just visit lets say Yangshuo area or maybe Yunnan or so, I would take your child. Chinese are sooooo great with children. But if you are planning on doing a lot in these 15 days and flying from place to place, I don't think your child will enjoy it very much (and you won't either probably if your child is unhappy). On our website we have tons of stories about China and many tips, as we spent a total of 3 1/2 years there. If you like: www.hudsonfamily.ch (click on the English flag for English texts). We ran a little hotel in the countryside outside of Yangshuo and had many, many families staying with us. It was great. The families would go on long cycling tours, take a picnic, or go walking in the hills, take an easy trip down the quiet river on a bamboo raft....
Please beware, if you travel in May. The 1st May is a huge holiday in China and for one week most hotels, trains, flights etc. are booked out and there are huge crowds. So if you can travel after the 7th May or so, it will be a lot more quiet and easier to travel.
Enjoy the wonderful country China!!!
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