Traveling with Small Children and Elderly People
If you want to travel overseas with your family, especially if there is a small child or elderly people, you might worry if you go alone without travel agency. Your trip needs to be relaxed, leisure and you should do proper planning prior to travelling to avoid unwanted things happen. If something is still happening, then if the unwanted thing is still happen it is not our mistake but we leave it to the Almighty. Traveling helps you overcome anxiety and start living; as some life quote’s say, life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Here I share some preparations if you travel with family.
If you want to travel abroad, make sure you have the visa before entering the country. To obtain the visa, there are several processes that need to be done and the processes are sometimes different depending on the country. For example, if you want to go to Japan, the needs to make visa before your travelling is not necessary. But the visa only can be obtained when you enter Japan and its called Visa on Arrival. For Malaysian, this type of visa is only available to Malaysians which hold passport biometrics with chips. But if you have an old passport which is chipless passport, you must apply for a visa first. For more information, please visit the official website of the Japanese Embassy in Malaysia at the following link.
You can also view the list of countries that Malaysians can visit without a visa at this link here
2. Flight Ticket
Traveling abroad requires a lot of money to spend and the huge cost is the flight ticket. To buy cheaper tickets, you must buy the ticket in advance within 6 months to a year. But for me and my husband, our work schedule and commitments are difficult for us to buy the flight tickets too early. We can only buy tickets 2 to 2 and half months before we travel. There are a few websites you can use to compare the fares. I usually use Skyscanner, Google Flight, Traveloka, Kayak and Cheapflights. But I did not buy it directly from the website. I will refer which airline provide the promotion price, then the next step i will buy the ticket directly from the airline website. This is to earn the airfare mile points from the airline. If you have limited budget but at the same time you want to go abroad, my recommendation is you can buy the tickets earlier as it is more economical and cost saving. The extra money can be used for shopping and dining. There are various websites that you can refer to buying tickets according to your budget.
If you want to find cheap flights, Air Asia always offers promotions. If you sign up and become a member of Air Asia Big, normally they will send notification to the members before they offer to the public. If you book only the plane ticket and later you want to add on the luggage, meals or insurance, you can still make some additions (add on) after purchase. However, when we make additions after booking, the price is higher from the initial booking. So please make sure before you book a flight ticket, you already know what to buy to avoid the cost increase for unnecessary. Otherwise, the ticket price will be almost the same price as premium flight airlines such as MAS, ANA and Singapore Airlines etc. The good thing about Air Asia is that, they offer flight at late night during return time and we can spend a day before we fly back to Malaysia.
Passport is an important document if you want to go abroad. Make sure your passport is still valid and the expiry date is not less than 6 months from the date you fly. These day, it is vey convenient to renew your passport. You can refer the website of the Immigration Department of Malaysia for the payment of the passport fees down here.
4. Book Hotel or Any Accommodation Prior Your Travelling
Just like a plane ticket, to get a cheap hotel or accommodation. Make sure you book early to avoid inflated prices if you buy last minute. There are various applications on the website that offer hotel reservations abroad as well as price comparisons that we can refer to. But make sure your travel itinerary is final because if you want to change at the end of the day, there will be a charge charged by the hotel. So please make sure any booking that you make, the hotel or accommodation you choose can be cancelled at least a day before your booking date. This happened to me when we booked our hotel in Kawaguchiko two months earlier and the itinerary was changed and we can not come on the date we booked. However, the hotel does not allow us to cancel. Usually, among the websites I always make the comparions are Booking.com, Trivago, Agoda and Traveloka. The links to the sites are as follow:
5. Take Travel Vaccine Injection At Least 4 to 6 Weeks Before Traveling
It’s important to get vaccinated at least 4 to 6 weeks before you travel. This will give the vaccines time to start working, so you’re protected while you’re traveling. It will also usually make sure there’s enough time for you to get vaccines that require more than 1 dose. Getting vaccinated will help keep you safe and healthy while you’re traveling. It will also help make sure that you don’t bring any serious diseases home to your family, friends, and community. Vaccines such as Influenza, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Thphoid are among the vaccines that people take before traveling abroad. Some diseases are contagious to the person’s body if the vaccine is not taken. If you are in Japan, the influenza virus easily can be contagious to tourists because of their cold weather. For my family, we take a vaccine at Pantai Bangsar Hospital and you can go also to any clinic or hospital that offer the vaccine. And for my children, before travelling i will bring them to visit their paeditrician and the doctor will assess the children’s health before the vaccine is given. Once the vaccine is administered, the hospital or clinic will provide the card for a personal record like the picture below. The vaccine will last for a year in our body then if there is planning overseas after a year you should take it back. You can also take these injections at outdoor clinics and not necessarily in the hospital and it is more economical. For me, as i have medical record in the hospital and the doctor will make an assessment before the injection is given.
6. Currency and Money Canger
Before you go abroad, make sure you already change some money into the currency of the country you visited. I normally use XE currency to check the current currency before i go travel. There are a lot of money changers available but before exchange the money, you can also comphttps://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/are the currency rate and it differ from one to another depending on the location of the money changer. My favorite money changers are in Mid Valley and Jalan Masjid India. Make sure you bring enough money especially when you take your family travel with you. There are some cheap money changer located in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur and to know more details please click here.
7. Credit Card and Debit Card
Before go overseas make sure that you have activate your credit card and debit card for overseas withdrawals. These two cards are important for you to prepare even though cash is sufficient to prepare for emergency situations. The use of credit cards in Japan is very easy but sometimes the money can be more expensive. But there are also some shopping places that give more discounts if you buy using a credit card.
8. Travel Insurance and Flight Insurance
Kami membeli dua insuran sewaktu trip ini iaitu insuran semasa membeli tiket penerbangan daripada Air Asia dan juga insuran perjalanan daripada AXA Smart Traveller. Mungkin ada yang beranggapan melancong dalam tempoh yang pendek tidak memerlukan insuran tetapi pandangan sebegini eloklah di perbetulkan kerana kepentingan insuran perjalanan amat penting jika ke luar negara. Untuk saya dan keluarga, dua kategori insuran yang saya beli iaitu di atas pesawat dan perjalanan. Jika dibuat perbandingan, insuran melalui syarikat penerbangan sesetengahnya coverage untuk insuran perjalanan tidak banyak dan jika kita baca klausa-klausa di dalam kontrak terdapat beberapa kekurangan yang membuatkan saya menambah dengan pembelian insuran perjalanan iaitu AXA Smart Traveller. Terdapat pakej keluarga yang lebih jimat boleh juga didapati dimana tanggungan untuk suami, isteri dan 2 orang anak. Ianya memang cukup untuk keluarga kami dan untuk bapa pula kami menambah dengan insuran tambahan untuk seorang.
Janganlah sesekali anda ke negara orang tanpa membeli insuran travel. Terdapat pelbagai insuran yang menawarkan travel insuran seperti Etiqa Takaful, AXA dan lain2. Sekiranya anda ingin membeli insuran Sompo yang bersifat cashless jika terjadi sesuatu dia Jepun, anda haruslah membelinya setibanya anda di Jepun. Sompo menawarkan cashless service sekiranya berlaku apa2 dan memerlukan anda masuk hospital disana. Kos perubatan di Jepun adalah berkali kali ganda jauh lebih mahal dari Malaysia.
Our last trip to Japan in April 2018 and November 2018, we bought two travel insurance to cover our journey.
Travel insurance from Air Asia (Tune Insurance) and AXA Smart Traveller
The coverage insurance from Air Asia are not much and if we read the clauses in the contract there are some drawbacks that make me add another purchase of travel insurance from AXA Smart Traveler. The package from AXA is more economical and it is family package cover for husband, wife and 2 children. It is enough for our family and for our father we add for another additional insurance for one person.
Travel insurance from ANA Airline (Chubb Insurance) and Etiqa Insurance
ANA airline using Chubb insurance for their flight. The coverage are not much and i add another travel insurance but this time i bought Etiqa Tip Care insurance and it is Takaful and cashless compare to AXA Smart Traveler which is conventional and pay and claim basis.
There are various insurance offers travel insurance such as Etiqa Takaful, AXA and many other insurance company. If you go to Japan, you could also buy a cashless insurance which is Sompo. However, you only can buy this insurance as soon as you are in Japan. Sompo offers cashless service if anything happens and if requires you to enter the hospital in Japan. Medical expenses in Japan are much more expensive than Malaysia.
9. Travel Itinerary
To ensure your travel trip goes smoothly. The necessity of making a travel itinerary is very important unless you travel with a travel agency. But if you go by yourself and with family, preparing the itineraryis really important. Travel itineraries to Japan are also sometimes required when entering Japan especially if you are traveling solo. Sometimes, their immigration will be ask your details of your stay and your travel plan and if there are no further details of the place of residence and travel, they may think you will stay long in Japan and you probably can not enter the country and they will ask you to go back to your home country. There are cases that few Malaysian being sent home especially if you are male or female and travel solo or group of people between 1-4 people. It will be easier if they see a family like us and as we go through the process at the immigration is so easy.
10. Please email the Embassy of Malaysia in Tokyo before you go to the country to inform your trip in Japan with the address and your contact number to them.
In the event of a disaster, the Malaysian embassy will be able to help. You are also advised to keep the Malaysian embassy number there and to know where it is located in case of emergency situations such as natural disasters.
11. Bring International Adapter.
When you enter Japan, you need to bring international adapter. Otherwise, you can not charge your handphone as they use lower voltage in Japan.
12. Bring Medicines
Bring necessary medicines especially for children such as fever, cough medicine, abdominal pain and also same goes for adults. The cost of medicine in Japan is very expensive and costs to clinics are also double and some also triple cost from Malaysia. If you have a drug that has a specific description of the doctor please get a letter and prescription from your doctor.
13. Bring Food
If you bring food, make sure the food is keep in an authorized container, neat and wrap with plastic. Among the foods we bring in our overseas trip are Gardenia, My Chef, Mee Sedap, Nutella, Oreo, Milk Powder and baby food. Sometimes children are fussy if they move around. Make sure their mood is good all the time during traveling and bring their favorite food. We also carry some equipment to eat as we stay in the hotel and the necessities like scissors, cups and plates.
14. Prepare Checklist
This checklist is very important as it helps us to bring all the necessary needs throughout our trip abroad. Checklist is very important especially if you travel with your family. Here is my checklist.
15. Bring Clothes Depending on the Season
Make sure you bring clothes to suits with the season in the country you visited. When we go to Japan, the season is spring and the temperatures reached below 10 degrees Celsius. Therefore, we brought winter jackets, longjohn, muflers and I brought gloves for my little one .
16. Bring Compass and Prayer Mat and Download Prayer Time In-Mobile Phone
As Muslims, preparing tools for prayer is the main thing to consider when traveling. If you want to know the time of prayer and direction in Japan, there are some applications that can be downloaded from the internet. Some of the applications that i used are Muslim Pro, Islamic Finder and Qiblat Finder. Mobile applications may help you to determine the direction of the Qiblah. There are various applications in mobile phones but mobile phones are sensitive when they are close to metal (metal or iron). How do you want to know the right direction of the qiblat is that you can make comparisons using the compass manually and qiblat from the mobile phone. Sometimes the directions shown are not the same and that there is a disturbance that makes the direction of the qibla in the mobile phone changes. There is also a smartphone that has no compass in it to help you find directions. I use the Samsung Note 9 phone, though it’s a new technology but no compass in the mobile phone. I have verified this with Muslim Pro when i went to their booth during the MATTA fair when I found difficult to get the Qibla direction using my mobile phone. So my choice is to bring the manual Qiblat as the best option. To determine the direction of the Qiblah you should know where the West and Qiblah are to the northwest.
17. Copies of the documents
It is important to store informations in mobile phones but it might be an issue in case the phone is out of battery or lose during travel. Anything can happen and so make sure you bring the copies of the important documents. Among the copies to be taken are the following:
a) Copy of Hotel Booking
b) Copies of Airline Tickets
c) Copy of accommodation confirmation of airbnb or hotel. Make sure you have the complete address.
d) Copy of passport. This is because if you lose the passport at least the copy can help the Malaysian Embassy in Tokyo to make a new passport.