'I just took a 2 and 5-year-old to Bali. This planning hack changed our entire holiday.'

Planning a holiday is usually a pleasurable task. One that you will sneak into a busy workday to scan for cheap flights, source the best hotel packages or research the absolute must-do activities at your chosen location. 

Planning a holiday with children is a whole new dynamic. Still pleasurable, but mixed with anxiety and uncertainty over how prepared you are and how much of a holiday it will really be.

I pride myself on being well-travelled, having grown-up abroad and flying as an unaccompanied minor from the age of 12. I have been to 20 countries (and counting), have stamped my way through four passports, have stayed in both average and stunning accommodations around the world and have even lived and worked in Japan. 

But until this trip, I had never been responsible for anyone but myself. 

Fortunately, our first international holiday as a family of four was easy thanks to a wonderful Facebook group that was set up to offer all the tips and tricks on how to travel to Bali with kids. 

It was a group I stumbled across after many late nights scrolling deals online. Sometimes automated Facebook suggestions are worth the click.

Watch: Horoscopes at the airport. Post continues below. 

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In this case, it couldn’t have been a better suggestion for me. So, although travelling with children can be as hard or as difficult as you are willing to make it, with the help of literally thousands of other parents I could make mine a well-informed one. 

Here are some things I learned:

1. Planning and packing.

So many packing and planning logistics are involved when you have a two-year-old and a five-year-old. The eldest can go to the kid’s club but the youngest can’t. The general kid’s clubs' rule accepts children from four years and up. 

Tropical destinations require multiple pool outfits. Swim nappies and floaties are a must for a toddler but do not forget goggles for both. Travelling to a developing country also requires prior knowledge of what you will and won’t be able to find in the supermarkets and pharmacies when you arrive. With a quick scroll of the Facebook group I could frantically scribble a list of the essentials — mosquito spray, paracetamol, anti-nausea tablets, hydra light pouches and plenty of hand sanitiser. 

In the swimmers! Image: Supplied.


Sometimes it is not even that a product won’t be available — it is the markup in a resort that you want to avoid. With this information, I picked up a few pool toys in Australia which saved me spending too much in Bali. Shopping in advance for the trip meant I could also buy many essentials on sale. 

I became quite the thrift queen.

2. Timing and admin.

Tips on times, including check-in queues, transit stops, taxi dos and don’ts and local Uber options are also covered extensively in the group. Our family booked accommodation which included hotel transfers so that base was covered. 

Thanks to advice from the Facebook page I was that smug mum who sailed past the quarantine queue after having done our immigration paperwork online before we left. This tip alone was worth following the page for. With young children the less time in a queue, the better.


At the boarding gate. Photo: Supplied.

3. Hotel reviews and budget options.

Hotel choices are unique to your family, your holiday goals and your budget. What made the choice even easier for me was being able to read reviews from other mothers with children the same age. A trip advisor rating is great, but a page dedicated solely to families travelling with kids makes the information more catered to what you really want to know. 

At the hotel. Image: Supplied.


Things like: How shallow are the pools? How good is the buffet breakfast? Is the hotel stroller-friendly? Are the rooms soundproof? Is an all-inclusive food and beverage option really worth it? How much should we budget for lunch by the pool every day? How child-friendly is the hotel? What is everyone paying for cute beach sets from market stalls? Where is the best and safest place to eat near our accommodation? 

Because of the group, I found a great restaurant near our accommodation that provided a free shuttle to and from the hotel. I cannot stress how wonderful this is when you have two tired little people. Sourcing family-friendly restaurants saves time and money. Some people even post menus in the group to allow you to decide if the venue is right for your taste and budget. 


Image: Supplied.

Although my family didn’t use a nanny, there are also extensive posts with recommendations. The page allows local nannies to join and provide details, liaising directly with families planning their trip. This is particularly unique to Bali I learnt, and an option I would certainly entertain in the future.


4. Flying with kids.

Book-ending any international holiday are the flights. I was riddled with anxiety over how well my youngest would be able to handle sitting in a plane seat for six hours. Undeniably the best advice I sourced from the group was to take loads of snacks and activities to keep my two-year-old busy. 

Because she still requires a day nap and our return flight was at night, I nabbed a second-hand travel cushion on Facebook Marketplace. It inflates and deflates with a hand-held pump and my girls slept like first-class queens in their economy seats. I even managed to indulge in the latest Magic Mike film, uninterrupted. An absolute win.

Snack boxes on the plane! Image: Supplied.


With any page that offers advice on travelling, there will always be posts that might deter you or differ from your views or holiday goals. I certainly had to sift through some advice that didn’t align with my beliefs. 

However, I was always discerning of opinions on hotels, restaurants or experiences that other families had. 

When it comes time for your family to travel, whether it be to Bali, Fiji, Europe or even around Australia, I would certainly encourage anyone to join a group that offers tips and tricks for travelling abroad. 

It turned my perception of a holiday with kids being more work than pleasure on its head.

Erin Siqueira is a freelance writer, teacher and mother of two. When she is not sourcing the best travel tips online, she loves splashing in the pool with her girls and crunching the sand between her toes at the beach.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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