Bali is the most popular overseas destination for Australian families, the main reason why – it’s so easy. It is in close proximity to us, affordable, has great accommodation and abundance of amazing restaurant options, plus gorgeous weather and people.
We have taken our kids to Bali (at times by myself) since they were babies and now the eldest is six we have tallied up at least half a dozen trips. For those thinking of venturing to this paradise, here are my tips on what to consider.
- Accommodation– Think about what kind of accommodation will suit your family. A room with balcony that faces onto a pool or garden is a good idea as you can sit outside while your toddler naps and you are not stuck indoors for hours. Trust me I learnt this the hard way. If you have a toddler and are staying at a hotel or villa with a pool, most don’t have pool fences so consider how you can protect your child, e.g. book a room upstairs. Those with babies requiring a port-a-cot, make sure to request this when you book your accommodation. I never brought my own and had no problems – one less thing to carry!
- Area – Choose the area where you stay in Bali carefully. If you want busy and noisy go to Kuta. If you want bigger holiday resorts try Nusa Dua. My preference is Seminyak as it is busy but a lot more relaxed and boutique style, e.g. villas and world class eating. If you want to really escape the hustle and bustle head up to beautiful Ubud for a remote retreat.
- Travel Stroller – Pack a travel stroller and a baby carrier with you and alternate using them. It does get hot using a carrier but it is easier than dealing with uneven footpaths, although the stroller is great as baby can rest while you walk. I always bring a mosquito net as it also provides shade. Fly babee would be perfect.
- Insect Repellant and sunscreen –Always bring with you kids rid and sunscreen. Test this out on your child before you go to make sure they don’t have a reaction. Remember to re-apply throughout the day.
- Pool Toys – Bring your own pool floatation devices to give you some freedom. Also pack some bath or pool toys to keep them entertained. They are light to pack and you will have hours of fun in between playing with frangipanis that float through the pool and meeting other kids. Bliss. I always bring some other small toys and drawing equipment to give them some inside activities to have a break from the sun or the rain.
- Nanny – This isn’t for everyone but it is something I highly recommend. On my last trip to Bali I was traveling solo with my 5 and 2 yo and a recommended nanny came to help me for a couple of hours each afternoon. It was the best $AUD 12 I spent. I could go get a massage and pop into the supermarket or Circle K to get some supplies while my son had his afternoon nap and my daughter watched some Indonesian cartoons.
- Dining– Child friendly dining in Bali is a breeze. The Balinese believe that the younger a child is the closer they are to God. I have found when ever I have gone into a restaurant in Bali the staff of both genders and all ages, always dote and play with my children. It really makes you feel, welcomed, relaxed and happy. My favourite places to dine with toddlers in Seminyak include: La Lucioala which is right on the beach so that toddlers can run and play on the grass in front while you dine. Motel Mexicola is great if you go early. The design of the place is a sensory overload. Your little one will be amazed by the colours and have a great time dancing, while you enjoy a margarita. Being lively also means your toddler’s noise blends in.
- Itinerary-There are lots of day trips and adventure parks in Bali including waterbom and bali zoo that you can head out too if you feel up for it. Generally I just like to relax by the pool with my kids. They absolutely love it. We always start our day with breakfast at Sea Circus then we spend the entire morning in the pool. We have some quiet time in the afternoon and head out for an early dinner.
- Bottles – I sterilise my bottles using boiled bottled water and sterilisation tablets (I recommend Milton brand). I always give extra bottles to my babies and toddlers when we fly or are in warm climate. I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep them hydrated.
- Nappies– If you can, pack enough nappies from home, including swimming nappies (on the way home you can use the spare space in your suitcase for all your shopping). I liked my certain brands and that way didn’t have to worry about leaking. If running low all Circle K shops sell nappies, that way I could save my trusted brand for the flight home.
- Denpasar airport –This is a new modern airport and my experience has been that families get fast tracked through. You must purchase a visa on arrival in the terminal. Follow the signs and make sure you have 35 USD each for the visa. I always organise US dollars before I fly out.
Bali is a fantastic place for you to start traveling with your child. It’s set up for tourists and your every need as a young family is catered for. I hope my Bali with Toddlers tips provide you some inspiration and confidence to visit this beautiful place.