We have just come back from our first ever international venture as a family of 6, and our first since we hit the road 2 years ago. We chose Bali, as that we thought that would be an easy option for our foray into international travel. We hope there will be more exciting trips for us in the future! Overall, Bali was a great trip. Relaxing, swimming, the lack of cooking and cleaning was my favourite part. We definitely had some big challenges in there, with 2 hospital visits and a bug going around. We picked up some tips along the way, which maybe you already know if you are a seasoned Bali traveller, but maybe you have never been! So:
- Take as little luggage as you possibly can. We flew with Air Asia and so had to pay for any checked luggage, and I paid for 3x20kg but we only took 2x20kg with the 6 of us, and both of those bags were underweight. It made it so much easier to get through the airport with only 1 luggage trolley, and we all fit into 1 van with our luggage- on the way back we even fit in 1 blue taxi! We wore our clothes a few times, just as we do on the road (so it feels normal anyway) and were surprised what we brought lasted the full 2 weeks! The day before we left, we dropped all of our dirties off to a laundry, went off to Waterbom Park, and picked them up on the way home. Can I tell you as a mum what BLISS this was to come home to not even a load of laundry, all for $7 in laundry fees? Here in Aus it costs us $4 just to use the dryers in the caravan park!! So $7 to have your laundry washed, dried, folded and wrapped in a nice little plastic package- it went STRAIGHT into the cupboard when we got home. DONE!!!
- So number 2 on my list is Travel Insurance…. I am sure you have had it hammered in to your head, but it is SO SO important! And guess what happened to us? Second day in Bali, our youngest daughter aged 7 ran on the treacherous pool deck, slipped and required 4 stitches in her head! The hotel took us straight to the hospital and paid for her initial treatment which was around $500AUD. I wonder if it is not the first child or person who has fallen victim to this crazy slippery deck….But IF we had to pay, it would have been a big chunk out of our spending. We had travel insurance for the 6 of us which only cost $150. In the end, we had to pay to get her stitches out again a week later (we were no longer at the original hotel) so the insurance paid for itself. Many policies also cover cancelled flights, damaged luggage, electrical items like laptops, phones etc. So please please don’t scrimp there. Get your insurance!!!
- Get yourself an Indonesian SIM card. I thought this sounded really tricky to do, but it wasn’t. The shop attendant actually put the SIM card in our phone, and set it all up for us. We got 4GB of internet and the ability to make a couple of (very short) calls and some texts for $25AUD ( it didn’t seem to include much call time at all but I got around that). It allowed us to FB message while out and about, use the What’s App app to text (e.g.: drivers to come get us after a day out in Ubud when we weren’t sure where they had parked etc), and I was able to use Skype to call any number including international, for only a few dollars in credit. I could use the internet through the SIM card to do this, when I wasn’t in range of free Wi-Fi. It got us out of a few pickles, particularly when we didn’t have wifi, and I had a questionable amount charged to my credit card. I was able to contact my bank easily, and they sorted it out for us. Being able to browse FB while in the car travelling is also pretty awesome. 😉
- My next tip, don’t catch the vans for short distances in Kuta, Ubud etc, catch the BLUE taxis and ask them to use the meter! Thanks to my wonderful sis Sarah for this tip. Vans would quote us a fixed price to head to the mall. Once or twice we said yes, only to find it was pretty much around the corner, and cost us $5 or $10. So we got into the blue taxi’s with the metres (yes it was a squeeze with 6 of us but no one minded) and it could cost a dollar or 2! We took one of the blue taxis to Nusa Dua and it was only $10 each way including a road toll…. and we had a blue taxi wait for us for an hour on our last day and it was only $4.50. I am sure we would have found another blue taxi easy enough and didn’t need to ask him to wait, but we had checked out of our hotel and the taxi driver looked after our baggage while we fitted in one last massage.
- Don’t forget your essential oils….We used them every. Single. Day. You can see from the photo just how many I brought….We used Digestzen from day 1, especially when we all came down with a tummy bug. It wasn’t “Bali Belly”, as it hit us one by one, so more likely something we picked up on the plane. But we all got the biggest relief from a drop of Digestzen in water, or diluted and rubbed on the belly for the kids. When Liv hit her head on the deck and needed stitches, it was HORRIBLE! I cried as they gave her the needles for her local anaesthetic. She was such a little trooper. I applied lots of Balance and Console on her and me, and I know she was so much calmer for it. She sat there and breathed it deeply from her wrists. I also used my owie blend to help her scar. We used OnGuard to sanitise our hands after some of the grossest toilets you have ever seen, and to help our immune system keep up during a very taxing time. I brought my diffuser to help cheer and energise us during the day, and sleep deeply at night. Just make sure if you do bring your oils for an international trip, that you put them in a clear zip-loc bag and in your carry on so they aren’t exposed to the extreme temperatures that checked baggage is. And a couple of times I provided my own oils for our massages (otherwise you’d be covered in cheap baby oil). If you don’t yet have any of the BEST oils ever from doTERRA, I can help you get started with some samples here. You can also get free tips and tricks on my FB page here.
PS On the subject of massages, choose your places well. Some are very, very, well can I say….. dodgy. And the massages from these places was often terrible. Random, no rhythm, lack of pressure, girls chatting away and generally acting like they couldn’t be bothered. The chains/franchise type places all seemed to be much better. My FAVOURITE place was called “FRESH! Spa” in Ubud. The spa was stunning inside (all decked out with gorgeous shabby chic Ikea) and I went to absolute bliss land. And it was very reasonably priced.
So I guess that is kinda 6 tips but I hoped they helped you! We had a grand time despite our challenges, and will be going again for sure! In the mean time, we are back in Betty who missed us dearly, and are now living it up in Brisbane! Exciting times ahead….