Leanne was only two years old when she had her first travel adventure – when we took our little one to the ancient city of Angkor in Siem Reap. My wife and I – both avid travellers who have seen much of Asia – believe a kid’s travel exploits should be at least slightly off the beaten path, with learning experiences they couldn’t find anywhere else.
It was initially worrying to leave the comfort zone, but we quickly realised our fears were often overblown. For starters, kids are tougher than we think. If there’s fun to be had or a discovery to be made, just watch them rise to the challenge. In Angkor, Leanne braved the hot and dusty Cambodian climate so she could join us in visiting “Mr Buddha’s house” (her name for the temple ruins).
Of course, travelling with kids requires more planning, but thankfully, it isn’t that difficult. We made sure to always have plenty of water, a change of clothes and kid-sized utensils for Leanne. We also tried to be sensitive to her needs – nap times are critical – and let her natural curiosity dictate where we go next.
There can be many hassles, but the pleasures more than make up for it. Memories of Leanne being awestruck by the sights we encountered fill me with joy every time I think of them. Angkor was two years ago, and we’ve since taken her on many more adventures – from trekking through light jungle in the Philippines, to dodging scooters in Vietnam and counting crazy neon lights in Japan. Hopefully when she grows up, we’ll have instilled in her the same love for travel and adventure that has made our lives so fulfilling.
Taking baby steps
Snorkel in Bali – At Karma Kandara Resort, your kids will enjoy snorkelling in a safe, controlled environment at the private beach that includes a small, reef-fringed lagoon.
Zip line in Siem Reap – Admire Angkor from above with this zip line tour. Safety is the top priority with two instructors and a maximum of nine guests per tour. angkorzipline.com
Trek in Nepal – No, it’s not just treacherous treks in Nepal. The hilly region offers plenty of family-friendly hiking options for children aged from just five and up.