PLANNING AND SCHEDULE
It might seem obvious but taking children on holiday to Thailand is going to require a bit of forward planning, it might require a little more than you thought you thought. To help you out with I have included this ‘count down checklist’ to give you some idea of the time line against which you need to do your planning and preparation, it’s not meant to be the definitive guide, rather a starting point from which you can develop your own plan.
I have read this again and it really does seem to be teaching grandma to suck eggs, however this guide is aimed at a wide range of people, some who have never been on an independent holiday, so please forgive me if it is a bit over cooked.
The following is a guide for you to follow in planning your holiday in Thailand, it’s meant to ensure that you do things with plenty of time to spare, so don’t worry if you have already booked and arranged your trip but it might be worth giving this check list a once over, just to be sure you have everything covered.
10 months before travelling
Make provisional bookings for your flights, if you do this early you will have the best chance of getting those bargain fares.
If you are travelling alone, discuss your plans with the other parent, if there is any difficulty obtaining the permission of the other parent for your children to travel discus this with your solicitor. Do this as early as you can to give you time to sort it out.
6 Months before travelling
Start and do some research about Thai history and culture. Thailand shares very few cultural references with the west, as such you will need to do at least a little reading-up if you are to gain some understanding of Thailand. This reading will greatly enhance your enjoyment of your holiday; it will also help you decide where in Thailand you want to go.
Check your passports are all valid for at least six moths after your planned date of entry into Thailand.
If passports are out of date or need to be applied for, then apply NOW!
Check what visas you need, are you allowed a visa on entry or are you required to apply in advance. This is especially important if members of your family have different nationalities.
5 Months before travelling
Try to decide where in Thailand you want to go, refer “Things for Children to Do and See”. If you are travelling during the busiest tourist season (End of November to beginning of February) and you intend to take any internal flights while in Thailand you will need to book those flights early, now is a good time to think about those bookings.
4 Months before travelling
Speak to your doctor and arrange all necessary inoculations. It may be necessary to spread your inoculations out over a period of weeks and some need to have been taken weeks in advance in order to be effective.
3 Months before travelling
Arrange your travel insurance, it’s important to do this early so that if for any reason you have to cancel your flights you may be covered by your insurance.
Confirm you flight bookings and request a meal preferences, bulkhead seat and bassinet if travelling with a baby.
2 Months before travelling
If you plan to drive in Thailand apply for your international driver’s license.
Start putting together the things you are going to take with you, arm bands etc.
If you are travelling independently book at least your first night’s accommodation in Thailand.
Train bookings can be made anytime from now on.
1 Month before travel
Copy all your important documentation to a web based document store See chapter on Documentation above.
Check all your travel documents, passports, visas, tickets, insurance, letter from other parent, letter from doctor for medicines being carried.
1 Week before travel
Gather all your stuff and weigh it to make sure you are not going to be over baggage allowance, if you are, decide now what you are going to leave behind.
Make a complete list of the things you are taking with you, when you make the list identify what items are going in your hand luggage and what items are going in your hold luggage.
You mighty want to do a practice pack if you are not sure it will all fit in your luggage.
Check any medications that you need to ensure you have enough for your trip.
Reconfirm your arrival date, time and flight number with your accommodation in Thailand.
2 Days before travel.
If you are travelling independently call the airline to reconfirm your bulkhead seating and if you can take your car seat on the aircraft, confirm your meal choice ask for a reservation number and write this down where you will remember it. I usually write it on the tear off end of my ticket. I know they say reconfirmation is not necessary, but it will not hurt and it might get you the seats you wanted.
Using your packing list pack all your stuff, remembering to pack medicines in your hand luggage.
Re-check your flight time and date be careful here because flights a around midnight can be confusing you would not be the first person to arrive at the airport 24 hours early, or worse still 24 hour late!
The day of travel
This is the most stressful time of your holiday, what ever you do make sure you do not miss your meals, eat lightly and avoid alcohol. Leave plenty of time to get to the airport, if you have booked a bulkhead seat then you really are best advised to try to be at the airport 3~4 hours before your flight, I know sitting around airports is a pain, but not getting the seat you have booked might spoil your flight.
Before you leave home Count your bags!
TIME TO GO HOME
All good things come to and end and so too will your holiday in Thailand. You can make the journey home a lot easier with a few simple preparations.
2 Days before returning home
Call the airline and reconfirm your seating choice and meal selection, again ask for a booking reference number and record this where you will remember it.
Confirm your transport to the airport.
Check your documents and again check that you are absolutely sure what day and time your flight is. Watch out for confusion over flights around midnight.
Don't be tempted by any ‘new dishes’ or at any new restaurants that might make you ill.
Pack and weigh your bags, remember going over the weight limit can be extremely expensive. The extra weight charge for most airlines is 1% of the First Class Fare per Kg over the limit!
Ask for a summary of your hotel bill so you can check it in your own good time.
The day of your flight home
Leave plenty of time to get to the airport.
Eat plain food, nothing that might make you ill.
Don’t be tempted to do an all day burn in the sun to get the final suntan.
Frantically write all your postcards