Staying sane when holidaying with the kids

School’s out and the young ones are already restless. Minimise the stress of a holiday with your family by choosing the right destinations and child-friendly experiences.

When you have children, does that mean that your days of wanderlust and travel, backpacking and touring the world – and having fun while doing it – are over?

Not necessarily.

You might not be able to backpack across the country or do a cross-country bike tour of 10 cities in 10 days with your kids in tow. But, there are certain types of holidays that are suitable for families with children.

Whether you have toddlers, preschoolers, preteens or teenagers, there are many family-friendly holiday options available these days.

Sail away

Some cruise lines have special family-themed suites that cater to kids and parents. This is the Ultimate Family Suite on board Royal Caribbean's Spectrum of the Seas.
A cruise is like a self-contained resort that offers activities, entertainment, food, facilities, and more, for both parents and kids. Photos: Royal Caribbean

How about going on a cruise? Besides not having to worry about lugging your bags from one place to another, or worry about arranging for meals and activities, a cruise ship is kind of like a self-contained resort. All you need to do is pack your stuff, board the ship and start your holiday.

Some cruise lines have special family-themed suites that cater to kids and parents. Activities are aplenty while some ships offer a children’s club with fun and educational things to do.

More adventurous activities such as dry and wet slides, rockclimbing, surf simulators, zipline and ice skating can also be found on a number of cruises. There is endless entertainment on board, too, from acrobatic shows to musical and theatrical performances.

And while the kids are busy, adults can spend time at the spa or fitness centre, or just hang out at the cafes or bars on board.

Ride of your life

A theme park holiday offers endless activities and rides to keep your kids (and you) entertained and occupied.
Theme parks are fun for the whole family.

It goes without saying that children love theme parks. If you’re planning to visit one – and you have more than one child in tow – do consider staying at a hotel that’s adjacent to the park as it will make things much easier for everyone.

A theme park resort has so many activities that will keep your kids (and you) occupied. From rides and exhibits to themepark mascots and park entertainers, your kids will have a blast.

As numerous rides have a height requirement, some resorts will have sections and activities dedicated to younger guests and even babies.

Generally, theme parks are self-contained and include a variety of restaurants and cafes to choose from as well as stores where you can do some shopping.

Some theme parks to check out include Legoland and Sanrio Hello Kitty Town in Johor, Lost World of Tambun in Perak, i-City in Selangor and Resorts World Genting Theme Park in Pahang.

Day at the beach

Enjoy a beach holiday with your kids - have a picnic, build sandcastles, swim, go for a walk, watch the sunset, and more.

Who doesn’t love a day at the beach? There is so much to see and do.

In Malaysia, there are many family-friendly beach resorts. Head to the beach to build a sandcastle, go swimming (in the sea or pool), or simply explore the place. If your children are older, you can also try some watersports.

Some beach resorts offer swimming lessons too so if you’ve been wanting to teach your kids (or yourself) how to swim, this is the best place to start.

Snorkelling and surfing are good options too.

Depending on the location of the beach resort, other activities like jungle treks or nature walks, bird watching and boating might be available as well.

If you’re tired of having sand in your hair, then visit the area around the resort. You will most likely find some markets, souvenir shops, chic cafes or even museums.

Port Dickson (Negri Sembilan), Batu Feringghi (Penang), Langkawi (Kedah), Pangkor Island (Perak), Cherating Beach (Pahang), Damai Beach (Sarawak) and Kelambu Beach (Sabah) are just a handful of places in Malaysia you can check out.

Urban exploration

Some kids might enjoy a ride on a hop-on, hop-off bus to explore tourist attractions.
If youre planning an urban holiday with your kids, it is also a good time to teach them how to take good photos.

Exploring a city with your child can be a fun and educational experience. Whether local or foreign, an urban holiday with your kids doesn’t have to be a hassle.

Firstly, select your city of choice. Make sure there are places of interest that are within close walking distance to each other that you can easily explore together. Or, if your kids are older, some cities also offer hop-on, hop-off buses that take you to interesting sites within the city.

On an urban holiday, you can discover historical buildings, museums and interesting hidden alleys. You can visit shopping centres, check out wall art, learn about different cultures and more.

If you and your kids enjoy photography, then the city is a great place to practice taking pictures. You can get your child a simple digital camera (or an old smartphone with a camera) and just let them unleash their creativity.

It is a fun activity that will keep them occupied while learning something new.

Back to nature

Get close to nature by taking your kids on a country or farmstay holiday.
Your kids can learn about farm animals during a farm stay.

If you enjoy the outdoors and wish to inculcate a love for nature in your children, you might want to opt for a farmstay. Learn about agriculture and farmlife, from tending to animals and growing vegetables on a farm to picking fruit from trees in an orchard.

You can also go on walks and play (or swim) in a nearby river or waterfall.

If your kids are a bit older, you can also opt to go glamping or camping with them.

Depending on how you plan your trip, your kids can even learn how to set up their own tent and sleeping bag. If you’re not into roughing it out, then check into a glamping or eco-resort.

Some family-friendly farmstays that you might want to check out include Bentong Happy Farm, Kampung Bongsu Farmstay and Tanah Aina in Pahang, and Bao Sheng Durian Farm in Balik Pulau, Penang.

Just stay home

You can play tourist in your own backyard by doing a staycation in your own city. There are many places of interest for you to explore with your kids such as this shopping mall near Bintang Walk. Photo: Tourism Malaysia
Be a tourist in your own backyard and bring your kids to explore places of interest in your city. Pictured here is the KL city skyline with the Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower.

If you are not able to go somewhere during the holidays, then staying home can be fun too.

Explore nearby sites and discover new places you have never visited before in your hometown or city. Malaysia has so many interesting places to check out!

You can also do a staycation, especially if you live in a big city like Kuala Lumpur, where there are many accommodation choices to choose from. Stay at a family-friendly hotel during special seasons like the New Year where you get to watch fireworks from your room window.

A good place to plan your staycation with the family is the Golden Triangle area in KL, where unusual sites like the Museum of Illusions and Selfie Museum are located. Older children may just enjoy spending some time in activity “rooms” like Laser Tag and Escape Room, or even go drift-kart racing at Blastacars.

In Selangor, you can check out places to stay in the Bandar Utama area, where one of the world’s biggest shopping malls – 1Utama – is found. There are many fun things you can do at and around the mall like surfing (FlowRider), indoor skydiving (AirRider), rock climbing, karaoke-ing and playing frisbee at the park.

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