Tuesday, June 9, 2015

8 Tips for Planning a Trip to Hong Kong with Children and Seniors

It is our first family trip on plane! And our maiden voyage is to Hong Kong!

Why did we choose Hong Kong? The main reason is that the flight time is short, about 4 hours. The other reason is, Hong Kong Disneyland! The children and MaMi are great Disney fans!

We are Disney fans! (Pun-intended!)

We had done planning for staycation in Singapore  (read our post on Planning Staycation with Young Children), and had done "rehearsals" in preparation of overseas trip (here and here). This time, we are thankful to have the grandparents to join us (of course we sponsor them for this trip), so in our planning, we need to put some thoughts so that both the children and the seniors enjoy the trip.

Tips #1: Booking online vs booking through travel agency
Booking air tickets, accommodation and admission tickets to places of interest can be done online easily and comfortably at home. However, we decided to book a free-and-easy package through a travel agency at a travel fair. I noticed that the air tickets price seemed to be cheaper when we booked with travel agency. Another plus point is that the transfer from Hong Kong Airport to hotels is provided, we have to pay HKD50 per pax as tips for the coach driver, it works out to be slightly cheaper as compared to taking public transport ourselves, and I think it would be convenient for us as we have children and seniors. During the travel fair, we received some useful freebies like a luggage (our old one was broken), prepaid SIM cards (see Tips #6 for its usefulness), and some other not-too-useful goodies. Did we save from booking through travel agency? To be honest, not really.

Tips #2: Do your homework but do not over-plan
Yes, do not over-plan when you are planning for a trip with children and seniors! They would be over-tired if too many places are packed within a day.

Disneyland and Ocean Park for the children, shopping and eating for the adults. The itinerary can be as straight forward as this. However, with the children and seniors along, I do not want to make them wait too long while I search for how to get to here and there. So I have to do homework first!

One useful book that I borrowed from the library is Hong Kong for Kids - A Parent's Guide (by Cindy Miller Stephens). Though there is no photo of the places, I find it informative for planning a trip to Hong Kong with children, especially where to find washrooms!

Tips #3: Plan together with the seniors and the children
The grandparents are very easy-going, and would just say "anything" with anything that we plan. We still seek their opinions on what they want to eat, what they want to see and what they want to buy, and take these into consideration when we plan our itinerary. 

The children do not have any idea what they expect in Hong Kong, so I show them some photos of places, and ask them whether they want to visit those places.

Tips #4: Occupying the children on the plane or long road trip
I bought the whiteboard notebooks from Daiso, so that we can draw, write and play games.

Tips #5: Get the Octopus Card 
Hong Kong's Octopus Card is similar to EZ-Link card in Singapore, it is cheaper to use Octopus Card on MTR as compared to single ticket. Other than transportation, it can also be used in retails! It is the first thing that we need to get when we land in Hong Kong! Octopus cards can be purchased at Hong Kong MTR / Light Rail / First Ferry Customer Service centres.

Tips #6: Get the prepaid SIM card
We received two prepaid SIM cards when we purchased our travel package - one for ourselves, one for the grandparents. It would be easy for us to communicate with one another.

Though I do not usually post photos on social media on the go (I usually "Latergram" instead of Instagram), having local mobile data would be convenient when we need to use smartphone applications to search for places and find out how to get to places when my plan in Tips #2 fails or when the seniors have some impromptu ideas.

You can purchase the prepaid SIM cards at Hong Kong International Airport.

Tips #7: Download the useful smartphone applications
5 smartphone applications that I feel would be useful for our Hong Kong trip:

1. Toilet Rush (iOS / Android)
It is the public toilet locator! The children are not using diapers anymore, but when there are cases of urgency, they can't hold too long! Getting to know the nearest washroom would be a life-saver!

2. Google Maps
I don't think I want to take out a hardcopy map when we are lost!

3. HK eTransport (iOS / Android)
It provides various methods and cost when we get from one place to another via public transport.

4. MTR Tourist (iOS / Android)
I love it because it has the location of public toilets near the station exit (I am mad about finding washrooms for children)! The function on "Exit info" is also important, since there are so many exits from a station. Some of you who bring babies and toddlers on strollers, this application has information on the location of lifts, so that you do not need to take risk to push the stroller up the escalator that is packed with people or carry it up the staircase!

5. Open Rice (iOS / Android)
We can't predict when the children get hungry (though they seem to get hungry all. the. time), so having the dining guide would be useful to find good food on the go!

Tips #8: Pack light
The children requested to bring their bolsters along, and their request was turned down. We have to pack light because we expect to bring back more than what we bring out of the house! We included extra fold-able travel bags to bring back our stuffs from our shopping spree! 

We are looking forward to our Hong Kong trip! And will share with you our adventure in Hong Kong!

What are your tips when you travel to Hong Kong with children and / or seniors?

Our Hong Kong Travelogue

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  1. So true about the planning but don't overplan! We intending to go next year, will check out the book :)


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