Real Mom’s Travel; China With Kids by Andrea Cundiff
Lalani has know Andrea for years. It has been so fun to watch her family grow. She has a great sense of style and is SO smart. Andrea has traveled all over the world, and most recently went with her husband and to small children on an extended trip to China. She was a natural fit for our Real Mom’s Travel series and we are SO excited to follow along.
Traveling with kids…It CAN be done!!
I’m sure just the title of this post alone is enough to leave you scratching your head. Traveling anywhere with kids is a lot of work and the unknowns are enough to leave any parent nervous. Then to pair that with the thought of China; a country populated by 1.4 billion people, it seems impossible. Despite the language barrier, unique foods and drastically different culture, I’m here to tell you it CAN be done! Not only is it possible to travel to China with kids but it could be one of your most memorable family vacations.
My husband, Adam and I were excited and incredibly nervous to take our 2 year old and 4 month old to China. Both he and I had visited this historic country many times for business. Although we’d both been several times, neither one of us could carry on a conversation in Chinese and knew we’d need to rely on those who knew even a little bit of English. There were a lot unknowns but I’m glad that didn’t prevent us from such an amazing experience with our little ones.
We had two stops in China; Beijing and Shanghai. We spent nearly a week at each location and made sure we hit as many of the ‘must sees’ as possible.
The picturesque palace of China’s ancient emperors is a must. Lots of walking but the big open palace grounds were perfect for my two-year-old to run around. He was convinced he’d find Mulan here, and although he never did, we still had a great time learning about all the history. Pictures here capture what you envision of China. Bring a stroller.
This place is bigger than I was expecting. Many times bigger than the Capitol palace of the Forbidden City in Beijing. The Summer Palace is where emperors and their family enjoy the summer. It’s the largest royal retreat in China and encompasses lakes, palaces and gardens. There is a hike (up stairs) you can make up Longevity Hill. (Since we had our stroller my husband and I took turns) I’d definitely recommend it. The view at the top is beautiful.
Strangely we really enjoyed our time at the Beijing Zoo. Not a must see but we had an open afternoon and this was the perfect way to pass time. Of course there were many unique animals that we had never seen at our zoo but our two favorites were the African elephants (which were huge) and the famed giant panda exhibit.
The highly anticipated Great Wall visit was an incredible experience for me but extremely difficult with kids. The aggressive inclines quickly wore out our toddlers legs. I carried the baby the entire time while my husband chased, or carried, our older one. Although it was exhausting and a bit nerve racking this was the highlight of our trip. There is a fun tram that takes you part of the way up and there are snacks available for purchase at the top. I know this goes without saying but, the views are amazing. Seriously amazing! Instead of walking for hours along the wall (because, well… kids) we took our time, sat and snacked. It was then that I was able to take it all in with my littles by my side. All the packing, carrying and hiking was suddenly all worth it.
Do not bring stroller.
Truly the majesty of this modern city is most incredible to see at night. Visiting the Bund at night when it’s significantly less crowded is ideal. The skyline is a sight of its own. At night all the lights reflect off the water and it’s beautiful.
We’re a Disney family so we were REALLY excited to visit Disneyland. We stayed at the Toy Story hotel, which was perfectly decorated in all things Toy Story. They even had the characters on-site to take pictures with the kids. The park was beautiful and very clean. Since the resort recently opened (Summer 2016) the rides incorporate upgraded technology. Pirates of the Caribbean was particularly impressive. We couldn’t help but ride it over and over-it was that good! Both of our boys had a great time. There were plenty of rides that each of them could go on and they both loved the character meet and greets.
A few more points worth making:
- Bring formula. We did come across some in the stores but we had heard its safer to bring your own.
- Only drink bottled water.
- Buy diapers there. (They take up too much space in a suitcase anyway.) My only complaint about the diapers we found was that they’re all pull-up style and don’t have Velcro sides. This means you have to take the child’s pants completely off to put a new diaper on.
- Tell the hotel that you have little ones traveling with you. This was a game changer for us. They brought us a ton of toys, a rocking horse, a tent with ball pit balls, bottle sterilizer,bath tubs and even an infant grooming kit.
The Chinese people LOVE the little ones. Be prepared! They wanted to touch their cheeks and take a ton of pictures with them. This was probably the hardest culture adjustment for me. But in the end they were really just adoring them and I can’t complain about that.
We love all of Andrea’s Info and can’t wait to read her top five later this week. Stay Tuned!!!