Packaged Tours with toddlers

Packaged tour with toddlers isn't so scary after all!

Whenever we travel as a couple, we will do everything ourselves. From booking of our air tickets, to searching for boutique hotels, and planning the itinerary in detail.

I enjoy every bit of holiday planning as that means there is something to look forward to.

When we started to take our mothers out on holidays, we tried doing the planning as well. But, there will be things we want to see that does not interest them and vice versa. 

That started us with packaged tours when we brought both mummies on our annual holiday. Easiest way out where we went with a take it or leave it attitude. Blame it on the agency's itinerary if they are unhappy with anything along the way.

Packaged tours are really not all that bad. While a lot of time is spent on the bus and a lot of sights the agency brings us to are on a touch and go basis, packaged tours are the best way to see more of a country (in my honest opinion). I tend to use opportunities like this to suss out a place, on whether or not it is worth visiting again. If it is, the tour also helps to identify the places we want to spend more time at when we visit next.

That said, the long bus rides are a "breeding ground" for toddler tantrums, what more with a usually active kid. We took a calculated risk when we went on the recent packaged trip to Hokkaido.

Here's some tips on how to prepare for a packaged tour with your toddler.

1) Pick the right itinerary
If packaged tours are your only option for a trip with the kid, make sure the preparation starts when you are selecting the agency and the itinerary. Try to ensure there are attractions your child can look forward to. At least, the attraction becomes a motivation for them to be on their best behavior on the long bus ride.

2) Excite the kid before the trip
I started telling J that we were going to Japan about a month before the trip. We chatted about what he can expect to see and how going on a holiday is really a special treat. Special treat here means no unreasonable tantrums otherwise there will be no holiday. We will return to Singapore immediately. It helps to set the mood right for the upcoming holiday.

3) Prepare little snacks for the long journey.
A hungry child is (definitely) a cranky child. And, being on tour means meal times are not fixed everyday. So packing a few of their favourite snacks will help ease any hunger pangs. It is also best to bring these snacks from Singapore (if the country you are visiting allows) as you won't know when is the next time you can pop into a convenience store during the trip or if you can find something that the kiddo will eat.

Lots and lots of snacks to sustain the bus journey each day!
The milo was a life-saver when we ran out of milk powder in our diaper bag. 

4) Prepare an activity pack
For parents who is strict about screen time,  an activity pack of some coloring materials, mini puzzles, robots or even lego can keep them occupied not only in the plane but also on the long bus rides. Some of their favorite story books will also help. The iPad worked for us with all J's favorite programs pre-loaded. Thankfully, he was able to keep himself busy with the sights outside plus just like all other folks on the tour… he took the opportunity on the bus to snooze.

5) Tire them out when at the sights
Everytime we get to go out of the visit the sights, we let J run around as much as he wants. This helps to tire him out, and by the time we are on the road again. the bus ride will soothe him to sleep.
Spot the boy sleeping on Papa's lap. Thankful that J is just as "sleep-loving" as his dad! 

6) Bring a stroller! 
There will be times when the child is still napping, and having a stroller (if you kid does not resist it) helps a great deal. You don't need to worry about carrying the stroller around. It will always be kept on the coach. Use it when you need.

There you go! Not the comfortable position, but helpful nonetheless.
We got this light-weight stroller specially for the trip. One of our best buys at $79.00! 

There you go! Going on a packaged tour with a toddler isn't such a bad idea after all. Worked really well for this trip since I have been so caught up with work to plan the itinerary.

Have you gone on a group tour with you family before? What did you do to prepare for the trip?