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Will my 3 yr. old survive East Coast to Down Under?

Will my 3 yr. old survive East Coast to Down Under?

Old Aug 13, 02, 9:58 pm
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Will my 3 yr. old survive East Coast to Down Under?

Thinking about taking my 3yr old son and 28 yr old wife to Australia or New Zealand (or both). We live on the East Coast. Thoughts? Should I stick to Disney World for now instead? Should I leave him home and take my wife to Scotland (where I love to go). Actually they are both a little young to enjoy a relaxing do nothing vacation. My wife likes the beach... Caribbean? would my son have fun there? I'm so used to traveling alone I don't know what to do...How long will it take to get them passports (somebody took care of getting me mine, but I don't have that luxury any more). I probably sound pathetic, but I need fatherly advice. I haven't been on a vacation since before my son was born.-Thanks- Skip
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Old Aug 13, 02, 11:35 pm
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--I can't offer you "fatherly advice" as I am a mother of four--. I can advise you from the perspective of one who travelled for many many years with young children. My suggestion would be to take your three-year old to Hawaii. Toddlers love Hawaii even more than Disneyworld. Australia/New Zealand is best saved for a trip alone with your spouse at a later date. Your child will, in no way, enjoy the very long flight(s) down under and, moreover, will not appreciate what you find so interesting re: scenery, culture, etc.. In Hawaii, budget, permitting, Kona Village Resort is perfect for families. Four Seasons, as well, is very child-friendly. Your three year old will love very simple pleasures; a gentle sea, a swimminng pool, parrots, turtles, shell-collecting, a luau and many hotels have some great programs for kids. The Four Seasons has a great playroom filled with games, books, arts and crafts and in Kona, you can even introduce him to snorkeling in a well-guarded, shallow area designed especially for kids. Kapalua Bay Hotel on Maui is another good choice, particularly, if you rent a Bay Villa.
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Old Aug 14, 02, 8:45 am
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Don't fly far - fl. or the caribbean would seem to be a better bet.
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Old Aug 14, 02, 9:01 am
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I woulkd second the call for Maui. Great spot with beaches, sugar cane train, lots of fun stuff. Stopping flying long distances is totally unnecessary just becasue of a three year old though. Get a few Disney DVDs and bring your laptop or DVD player to play them on. That will keep just about any kid totally satisfied until they are tired enough to zonk out for a good chunk of the flight. A bit of testing with antihistamines a few weeks prior to the flight is also good as these act as a sedative of sorts for many people. Please test which works and which doesn't as peoples' physiologies differ and you do not want a hyper kid on your hands for even a half hour flight.

Enjoy your son's reactions to flying and you can bet he will enjoy being someplace new and different with you for vacation as much as you will.


[This message has been edited by mjm (edited 08-14-2002).]
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Old Aug 14, 02, 9:16 am
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I think the question is will you survive.

I started traveling with my son when he was six months and haven't stopped (he's 13 now). I look back on some of the trips we took with him when he was a toddler and shake my head. We took him along because I told myself I would be too worried about him at home to have a good time myself, but I'm not sure I'd do it that way again. We certainly had fun on the trips, but we also didn't get to do many of the things we wanted to and it's not as though those trips when he was 0-3 enriched his life as he can't even remember them.

Say you take him to Australia (or Hawaii or the Caribbean for that matter), will you be OK with not being able to snorkle or dive with your wife because someone has to watch your son? OK if you can't kayak? Golf? Play tennis, go to nice restaurants, etc.? I watch people on vacation with their little ones and most of them don't look like they're having a lot of fun - little ones just don't quite get the part about this is vacation so you're supposed to relax.

My son didn't really start enjoying Hawaii until he was about 4 because then he could do so much more. (He did always end up with a staph infection though as the water around the islands just isn't as clean as it used to be.) Trips abroad became enjoyable when he was about 7.

Of course, you know your child and the way you like to travel, so you will best be able to decide if taking him/her along is the right decision.

All the best.

Edited for spelling

[This message has been edited by letiole (edited 08-14-2002).]
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Old Aug 14, 02, 10:54 am
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I think this is a lot to ask of a 3 year-old. If this is his first flight, I feel safe in saying this is probably asking way too much.

My son just turned 4 yesterday, and I can tell you than his limit for sitting still in a CAR is 3-4 hours. I can't imagine in a plane, where you can't necessarily pile activities in the seat next to him.

You must remember that the things you do to kill time on a plane won't work. He can't read Skymall or the inflight magazine, and unless the inflight movie is The Powerpuff Girls, don't expect him to find much there either.

You must carry-on his entertainment and it has to be enough to hold his interest. It'll also need to vary - a box of crayolas and coloring books will probably only hold him so long.

You'll probably also need to get up and walk with him, etc. - my son is like a caged animal if he sits too long.

Finally, consider his makeup. Flying would fill my middle daughter with anxiety, whereas her brother or sister would just as soon fly the plan.

As for what happens after you land, the other folks here are dead on the mark. What is thrilling to you isn't necessarily to him. When we go on family vacations, we find activities the kids will enjoy first and we find our pleasure within that. A hike through the forest wouldn't thrill them - but riding it on horseback does!

Best of luck!

"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own."
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Old Aug 14, 02, 5:17 pm
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We took our youngest on his first long plane ride (DEN-LHR) at 8 months and he has been flying ever since. Our second has been flying since about the same age. They are now 14 and 11. The one problem that we always faced with long trips like what you are considering is that kids, in general, do not recove from jet lag quickly. Under about age 3 our kids would typically wake up in the middle of the night and stay awake for several hours. It would usually take 3 to 4 nights before their sleep schedule would mesh with the new time zones. I think that a trip to Australia might keep your kid out of sync for many days considering the time change from east coast.

However, Hawaii would not be quite so bad. Especially if you stayed a day on the west coast on the way over to break things up and allow for a bit of time adjustment. Hawaii is about as kid friendly a place as you can find. All of the places we have stayed have either had kid programs or could arrange babysitting so that you and your wife can manage some time alone without much trouble.

Hope this helps.
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Old Aug 14, 02, 9:23 pm
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I took my son on his first fight at 2 months and we went everywhere. He would ask about when we would get there and I would give him an answer he could understand. Like first we eat lunch then we nap then just before dinner we will be there. Later I got him a watch and he could understand when the big hand is on 3 and the little hand on 6. I look toys and added new ones to keep the trip interesting. He owned the first game boy. I got it for a trip to New York and he played it while we climbed the stairs in the Statue of Liberty. I would let him buy t-shirts everywhere we stayed. This kept him clean looking and I didnít have to pack as much. Kids are great if you keep them involved. They are also an open door to the people who live where you are visiting. If you want to see the world with new eyes take a child and look through his. Remember the movie Auntie Mame. Keep her attitude and you canít lose.
My son is now 25 and his passport is full of great memories.
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Old Aug 14, 02, 9:24 pm
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Thanks all! Your responses are a good example of the benefits of these boards. My son has been flying east coast only since he was 6 months old and does quite well on the plane. i guess I am lucky on that. I am lucky he does well in the front or back of the plane, he doesn't care. I think I'll stick with this coast or drop him off at BTV with my mother-in-la for a good vacation with my wife. (My gut is Hawaii and OZ are both borderline timewise, so if any beaches are involved maybe USVI) Again thank you all!
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Old Aug 14, 02, 11:15 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">I took my son on his first fight at 2 months and we went everywhere. He would ask about when we would get there ...</font>
Wow! He was speaking at 2 months? Very impressive.
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Old Aug 15, 02, 11:29 pm
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As the parent of a 3 (almost 4) year old, I'd recommend starting with something a little bit closer to home. My vacations with my 3 year old are different than when we were childless.

My daughter has been to Hawaii twice, Canada once, and various domestic trips. But she is still only three--scenery, museums, and fine dining are not her forte. But she loves the beach, the pool, and other new adventures. She has become especially excited about riding Gondolas, and thinks this is the best thing that could possibly happen on any trip.

What I have learned is that she is just as happy at the pool in North Platte, Nebraska Holiday Inn Express as she was at the condo complex in Kauai. Mom and Dad enjoyed the food and sunsets more in Kauai, so everyone was happy.

But by starting smaller, you'll learn how to keep your three year old entertained (I second the motion about DVDs) and their little quirks. Mine has the unpleasant habit of throwing up after she spends a night on a plane or train!

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Old Aug 17, 02, 2:18 am
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When my sons were 2 and 3, my wife and I took them on the 14 hour trip from SPN to SFO. Admittedly there was a connection in NRT.

Still, the essential factor is your own child. You know if he can handle limited space, etc., it can be a real bonding experience. I've always liked to talk to them a lot, which keeps them distracted and interested in what's happening on the big adventure. Make sure they get regular naps.

If, and it is a big "if," they have the temperament for it (we didn't let them watch TV until 6 years old), a trip to Australia could be a lifelong memory. Whenever you do something totally unprecedented in their three-year-old lives, it could make a marked impression. (Koalas, the ferry to Bondi Beach, etc.)

In my case, the "memory maker" was trains in Merced, CA, and Yosemite Nat'l Park. They still recall details of coniferous trees, granite cliffs, waterfalls, etc. And I know they aren't synthetic memories (of photos or recounted stories) because they recount specific incidents -- like my carrying a cousin on my shoulders through the frigid waters of the Merced River in YNP.

Wherever you take them, they'll enjoy it. Balance your preferences with their development. If they're not ready, they will be someday! Each year gets better and better.

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Old Aug 17, 02, 10:45 pm
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I would wait a few years before taking the young one to Australia. An excellent Carribean trip is one of the FDR resorts in Jamaica. We just spent a week there and would recommend it for anyone with a youngster. A nanny is assigned to you. Neither you nor your wife have to wash out bathingsuits, worry about suntan lotion for the kidling, etc. You can spend all day with your child, but you have an extra set of eyes that help safeguard your child. My youngest is 12, and so didn't need a nanny. He made friends with a 10 year old who had a nanny. The nanny would bring my son to me whenever she thought it was time to redo his sunscreen. It was great. There are lots of child friendly activities. The advantage is you and your wife can take some time each day to just be together as a couple.
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Old Aug 18, 02, 5:55 pm
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I would be reluctant to travel so far with a 3 year old. That trip can be brutal for adults, and I think worse for a toddler. My suggestion would be St. Thomas. We were there in November 2001 and it made for a wonderful family vacation. Beautiful beaches, good dining (Red Hook especially) and some fun activities for the kid.

Phoebe loved Coral World. The aquarium is excellent and the rest of the sites are quite nice too.

Enjoy your planning. Sounds like you have a very adventurous side!


Vanessa and Phoebe
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Old Aug 18, 02, 6:58 pm
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When kids take lots of longhaul flights from a young age, they do NOT see it as a chore in later life. That being said, the airport experience itself would not be tons of fun.
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