Thursday, April 16, 2015

See The World, Open Our Mind, Go Travel!

I love traveling. Every chance I have, I will try to fit traveling in my life itinerary though I do wish I can travel more. Many thoughts the moment you have kids, your traveling will be limited. I beg to differ to certain extend. Yes, of course financial level is key, however if we plan and do our budgeting well, it is still doable.

I still remember the first time I took my then 3 small children on an airplane. We have been planning that trip to Kuching for more than 6 months. We also took time to save money for the trip. Given our budget was not that large, we settled for 3 star hotel and took Air Asia. It was an eye opening trip for us.

Some of our traveling experience....

1. The Kuching trip. Back then, Air Asia has no seat booking facilities and we were not aware of that until we saw everyone running to the plane when announcement was made. Not knowing why people run, my better half just grabbed Ilham and run while I was walking super fast with my 2 girls. Apparently, everybody was running to book seats. If we don't do that, we may not get to sit together. I remembered my better half managed to book seats though he looked like he was about to faint due to the sprinting :). Traveling with 3 small children was not easy, however we managed to make the holiday enjoyable. From there we learned to improve the way we plan our holidays

2. Next, we had our first "abroad" holiday. Not that far, to Singapore. Still abroadlah kan. It was also the first time kids had their passport done and stamped. We decided to take the bus cause we can't afford to fly. It was quite taxing on us, kids were not that big that time. We had to all go down for immigration check together with our bags and then boarded the bus again after all that was done. We, however, enjoyed our time in Singapore. We went to Universal Studio, Night Safari and get to experience the Christmas Parade at Orchard Road. Halal food was a challenge but because we did our research and planned well, we stayed in the hotel near to halal food joint and MRT so that saved us a lot of time and money (and less stress!)

3. We then become more adventurous and of course has more money. We went to Australia, Sydney, Brisbane and Gold Coast. We also learned that shopping for holiday packages are best done at MATTA Fair. We got really good deal and it was indeed an enjoyable holiday for us. Kids love all the theme parks and I enjoyed the beach. Again, because of good planning again, food was not an issue. We already know where to get ours.

4. Since the kids got bigger, my better half know it's the right time for us to go for holiday, just the two of us. We make it a point to go somewhere every year. We started with Bandung, then Ho Chi Minh, Singapore and in 2012, we did our Europe tour to 9 Western Europe countries. That was indeed an amazing experience. And last year, we went to London. We love London and we think we will make it a point to go there when we can.

5. So far, apart from Singapore and Australia, we have also taken the kids to Bali, Hong Kong, Krabi, UK and Paris. We also had 2 bigger group holidays where we took both of our parents to Medan and Ho Chi Minh.

6. Actually come to think of it, I started to take them traveling when they were really babies. Due to work commitment, I have to travel across the country to meet clients. Baby was still breastfeeding so everytime I travel, I take all my 3 kids with me. So they have been to all states in Malaysia by the time they were 5!

7. I have also been to few parts of US due to again, work commitment. Can't say I enjoy it though, not just because the traveling was due to work, also the stereotyping I faced by some of the people there just because I wear tudung. One waitress even asked a friend of mine while we were having dinner if I can speak English (pfffttt!!!). Every time I need to take domestic flight, I will be subjected to "random" checks by security. I guess I am not that random anymore. If I even want to go to US again for holiday, I will definitely consider San Fransisco and New York. I did not enjoy California including LA, Chicago, Boston and Wisconsin.

Why do we love traveling and encourage kids to travel?

1. It will teach them to respect other cultures. We are not the only one living in this world and with respect world will be a better place. I can see significant difference when we start to take our kids traveling. They tend to be more patient and able to accept different ways of doing things by people from different backgroud

2. They also become less choosy. When you travel especially abroad, you just have to settled with what you can afford. Current exchange rate is a challenge when we go to countries exchange rates are higher than ours. However, if we plan well, it is still manageable.

Now, traveling is much easier. Flights are more affordable, there's lots of hotel bookings portal which can compare prices before we decide where to stay, reviews we can read so we can plan well and also facilities like AirBnB so you can choose to live in a house or apartment which allow you to cook and clean. You will then save more money.

I always feel the best part about holiday is the planning part. Maybe I should consider that as a career. I can get paid to plan for people's holiday without having to go with them. I can book their hotels, prepare their itinerary and up to the point listing down place of interests and where to go....Hmmm....Sounds like a good proposition....

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