There’s no tougher job in the world than that of a mother’s and Mrs Malaysia Asia International 2016 Melissa Seow knows this all too well, three times over as she is a proud mother to 4-year-old triplets Marissa, Kimmie and Arianna. Parenthood, she says, has taught her and husband Vince a lot about themselves and elevated their patience.
The happy family makes it a point to travel at least once a year, something that Melissa says is as joyful as it is challenging. While it’s great for family bonding and exploring new places together (not to mention the extra perks they sometimes end up with, as the triplets tend to draw attention), the logistics of moving around with three toddlers is certainly no easy task.
Unfamiliar food, falling sick, tantrums and restlessness are all part and parcel of every family holiday but Melissa has learnt to take it in her stride. She shares her top tips for travelling with children.
1. Plan and manage your time ahead
Travelling with young children requires a lot of careful planning as sometimes, they can be a ticking bomb especially where logistics are concerned. Plan and do your research ahead. If you’re visiting popular attractions, buy your tickets in advance so that you can skip the queue – sometimes, you get better deals on early bird purchases through their websites or deal sites.
Don’t forget to find out details like commute time and average duration needed to explore a particular attraction. It’s helped my husband and I manage our holiday schedule better as it takes a significant amount of time to get the triplets ready for a day out. Having to juggle between their napping, eating and toilet time can greatly affect the itinerary.
2. Prepare a checklist
We usually prepare a checklist one week prior to travelling so we don’t forget to pack essentials such as toiletries, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, milk powder and bottles.
Do bring along a thermometer and prepare some basic medications (for fever, flu, or cough) just in case of sudden illnesses and you can’t find immediate access to medical care. Keep a soft copy of the checklist so that you can re-use it for the next holiday.
3. Leave the bulk behind
We try to travel as light as possible; we don’t pack bulky and disposal items such as diapers with us. Instead, we buy them at the local supermarkets upon arrival. For convenience, we usually pick accommodations that are close to supermarkets. We would bring a lightweight twin stroller and a child carrier for the third child (it’s usually Arianna as she’s the lightest).
4. Watch them like a hawk
We do not let them off our sight under any circumstances; security is our utmost priority at all times. As there are only 2 of us (my husband and I) versus three of them, we use safety harnesses that hook from their waist to ours ever since they were of walking age, to ensure they do not wander off by themselves. Now that the girls are older, we make sure that they make it a habit to hold our hands the moment they leave the vehicles. We often remind them of the dangers of wandering off and crossing the roads on their own. Having extra pairs of eyes watching the triplets is very helpful, so it’s great to have our family members come along on our holidays.
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