30 November 2016, by Flora Isabelle
Sorry this month’s blog post is a littttllleeee late because I’m currently in the Land of the Rising Sun with the Go’s…
And I have aptly titled our vacation Go Japan 2016 – geddit, geddit?! Haha.
We have been planning this vacation for a while now and it certainly wasn’t easy putting it all together with 8 people and different work schedules, two toddlers and two older folks too. My mother-in-law actually has some difficulty walking so that’s a factor for us to consider as well.
If you’re planning to take a family vacation with all the folks (since it’s now year-end holiday season), I’ll say DO IT! It’s an experience like no other and especially if your parents are getting on with age; this is the most magical decade where ALL of us (including our parents) are young enough to enjoy one another’s company without age or illness in the way.
Of course, there might be friction along the way (but that adds to the excitement isn’t it?) so here are some tips to make that holiday a little easier:
1) Don’t choose a destination too far
I’ll say maximum a 6-hour flight if you’re flying economy class and/or have kids in tow. We were pushing it for Tokyo with 7 hours and I truly apologised to the passengers onboard Delta flight 166 who had to put up with my fidgety nephews…lol. Also, do try to match the flight timings to your kids’ nap times if possible so they will be mostly asleep on the plane.
2) Where to Stay
I highly recommend either family suites at the bigger hotel chains or Airbnb where you can rent an entire apartment/ condo and have everyone under the same roof. The good thing about renting a place with kitchen facilities is that you can also cook some meals and eat in together and it also makes it easier to prepare food for the kids. There was one night that we had all stayed in a traditional Japanese ryokan guesthouse in Hakone, near Mt Fuji and it was quite an experience with the tatami mats and taking onsen dips as a family. Definitely a memory I would treasure for years to come!
3) Plan only for ONE attraction a day
Yes, only one. So whether it’s a museum or theme park or fish market, do not, I repeat, do not, be overly ambitious and plan for anything more than that.
Also, be prepared to set off late – we didn’t leave the hotel till 11am on some mornings -, make plenty of rest, toilet and water stops throughout the day and just take things easy.
4) You might have to split up on certain days
Especially if you’re travelling with people of different ages. My parents-in-law wanted to see the bamboo forests of Kyoto but that would mean too much walking for the kids and an almost impossible feat with a stroller. So there were days that they went to Disneyland without us and we’d went to the temples without them, but we always made it a point to meet for either breakfast before setting off or dinner after.
5) Don’t forget the wet wipes
Trust me, they will be your best friend. Really.