Top 5 to reasons why travelling with young children is the best

If you have told me last March that we would be having a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower soon, I’d probably laugh at you. Unlike most families we get to watch on YouTube who go travel the world for a living (oh well, maybe if you support our YouTube Channel😁), our family of four does what most families do (have normal jobs), live in Singapore, and relying on a single income, I’m a SAHM. So the chances of us doing this is quite slim given the high cost of living here. Yet, life is truly full of surprises and incredibly unpredictable, you just have to hold your breathe at times, be grateful, and to pinch yourself into reality!

Us having a picnic with this beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower

I grew up with my parents working abroad. They made sure though to make up with quality time every school vacation. So you can imagine our anticipation whenever March comes nearer (school year in the Philippines starts June and ends in March) so we can go fly to Japan to visit our parents. Let’s just say, I got that love for travel because of my parents. Riding our mini-van, we would do convoy trips with my aunts and uncle who are on their own mini-vans as well with our cousins around the mountains of Japan. Those memories are really memorable ones that I wouldn’t forget and a topic we could talk about the whole day laughing without fail.

Being a parent myself now, I for sure would love to have those kind of memories with our children as well. So equipped with a grateful heart for any opportunity that may came our way, hard work from the hubs, and a watchful eye on our finances, we didn’t have any second thoughts when the chance for our family to go on a Europe trip arise.

Taking one hiccup at a time that came our way, we managed to pull off the most epic trip our family have gone to to-date! I guess I’ll make another blog post on all the hiccups we’ve managed to find a solution with. For now, here’s the details of our Europe travel:

  1. Flew from Singapore to Greece via Scoot Airline
  2. Flew from Greece to Netherlands via Aegean Airline
  3. Travelled by train from Netherlands to France passing through Belgium via Eurail
  4. Travelled by train from France to Italy passing through Switzerlands via Eurail
  5. Flew from Italy to Singapore passing through Finland via FinnAir
Eurail route we’ve travelled

All in all, that’s a staggering 30hrs 90mins on air(on a plane) and 1 day 17hrs on a train in a total of 18 days. Isn’t that amazing!!! That may be a long time but since did stayed most of those days in Greece and Netherlands and only started our train travel on the last 8 days our trip, I must say, we’re all happy to be back home in Singapore to have a good rest by the end of our trip. haha…

Data from our Eurail app on how far and long we’ve travelled

So why would I still encourage parents to go on an epic adventure travelling with their kids? Here’s the reasons why:

  1. You want it. If you love travelling like me, that love for travelling isn’t removed from your identity no matter how many kids you have nor no matter what age your children may be at the time being. If you have the means (time and money) to do so, do it!
  2. You need it. Being a parent comes with tons of responsibilities. We are all humans and needed a break once in a while. A change in scenery, gaining new experiences, and adding up some family memories can’t be exchanged with any material thing.
  3. You get to save. Being both from the field of Finance, we can’t deny how much conscious we are when it comes to our expenses when we travel. That’s why, one thing we love about travelling with our kids is we get to save from fare. From either travelling for FREE or HALF-PRICE on airfare to totally FREE on trains such as SHINKANSEN (when we travelled in Japan back in 2019) or EURAIL (when we travelled now in 2022).
  4. You’ll remember it. One phrase parents always get from others when they travel with their young is this, “Travel when your kids are older so they’ll remember it too“. Well, I’ve got only 3 things to say to them, “I’ll surely remember the trip and would document it with tons of photos so my kids would get to see it when they’re older” , We’ll go back again when they are older if it’s worth visiting again, and lastly, “Appreciate your opinion but we think we’re doing great with out parenting, thank you, you can go ahead and mind your own business.” haha…okay, that last ones can be pretty harsh and personally I haven’t used that but given in our society today where everyone seems to know too well of everything on everything, you have my blessing to use it if the need arises.😉
  5. You only get to do it now. Life is short. Yesterday has already gone and we can’t be sure of tomorrow. Our only guarantee is today, so always make the most of it. Once your kids have gone bigger, you might not have the time or resources (money) to go on a trip, or your kids may rather go on trips on their own. Now is the time you get to spend with them, so go ahead and do it!

Okay, I know this blog post can be too optimistic and blindsided by the cons of travelling with kids, so let me do another blog post on that just so you can get to prepare from all of them as well. One thing’s for sure though, it may be difficult, hard, and tiring but with a few tips and tricks on how your trip can be made easier for you and your child, I guarantee you, IT WOULD BE ALL WORTH IT!

Are you going on a family trip soon? I’d love to hear where you’re heading or where you’ve been to!Let’s share ideas, tips, places to travel, etc. and do what moms do best at…SUPPORTING EACH OTHER!

Cheers to EPIC FAMILY TRIPS!

Unplanned 11km Nature Walk at MacRitchie Trail

We used to plan our trips especially nature walks because of the kids. Just the usual weather check and at least knowing where we are going beforehand and if the kids would be able to finish the trail is a must. If the gets too much for them and we’re in the middle of ‘who knows where’, oh gosh!

We arrived at the main entrance of MacRitchie Reservoir Park (that one in the bottom right of the map). This isn’t our first time going on nature walks, we just usually would just follow where our feet would bring us and when the kids start to make complains then that’s the only time we’ll find the quickest way going home which is usually just a few minutes walk to the nearest bus stop that could easily bring us to a mall or somewhere more comfortable—aka mall with aircon.haha

Photo grabbed from www.nparks.gov.ph

So when we arrived and we’re welcomed by monkeys, the kids were both entertained and just curious about what more could they see as we walk along.

And then after a few minutes walk, this view of the reservoir. It was so peaceful and amazing to look at. I felt like in an island vacation.

Of course, complimentary souvenir photo of the fam is a must! Luckily there’s this kind couple who helped us take this photo. Always grateful for those who offer help to take our photos.🥰

There may be a lot of people on this area but as you walk further, you’ll notice that only a few would continue the walking trail How could not you not love walking around these lovely trees. I bet the last photo of a tree is older than me.

We started with the Lornie Trail. Deep inside, I was feeling skeptical already when I saw the start of the trail (see their background). Though it looked safe, seeing that the trail isn’t the usual fully developed trail still makes this momma’s heart skip a bit or two every once in a while.

See more photos below and you’ll understand what I mean.

Moving on, these calm waters along the board walk made me have a change of heart and just chill. I don’t want to chicken out when everyone is so game on this nature walk! haha

How could you not feel relaxed by this view!

We just followed the path of the board walk (cause there’s also no other way to go!) to see where it would lead us. If you’ve been reading my other blogs you’ll know that I’m the mom who always brings snacks to bribe my kids especially on nature walks like this. So here we are, about 10 mins from walking and they asked if they could have some of the chocolates that I brought. I knew that having monkeys in the entrance is already a red-flag that eating is not advised while on trail but then……

as you can see on this photo, Audrey is already seeing something on top of the trees with a worried face. A few seconds after this photo came a monkey beside her. They might have heard the wrapper of the chocolates I gave the kids. Aaaahhhh! She got so scared and screamed! My hubby who’s with her was shocked as well. Luckily, shocked but still calm, he just shooed away the monkey and it climbed up the tree. We’re blessed it wasn’t those kind of monkeys who would hurt people.

We carried on with our walk as if nothing happened. There are other group we came across every now and then so we didn’t worry much where this trail would lead us.

One of the reason why we went here was for the TreeTop but we’re already on the bus when we knew that it was closed for renovation. So one place we can go to to make our trip interesting for the kids is to go up the Jelutong Tower. It is 7-storey observation deck with a 360-view of the forest of MacRitchie.

Going up was no biggie, we just noticed that its quite high—-like no ending stairs. As expected, the bravest among us riding roller coasters was the one who got scared of how high we were. You can clearly see on the photo below who that person is! haha.. It wasn’t hard to urge them to go down after a while thanks to a group who came. We knew it would be too crowded when they arrive so we hurriedly went down.

Oh that trip down that stairs is one for the books! With the group who came climbing the stairs and us going down, it felt like the whole tower was swaying! We needed to stop a few levels before the bottom as people are passing by the stairs. It’s impossible for two way traffic.

It was a wrong move though. That few minutes of sitting down gave us cramps when going down the stairs. Both me and my hubby needed to walk down facing backwards for us to reach the bottom. hahaha. Luckily it was just with stairs and when we arrived at the bottom, everything is back to normal. It needed to be as our daughters can’t carry us home!🤪

Our journey continued and the kids were starting to become a bit weary. I can’t bribe them anymore because monkeys can be somewhere around. They don’t dare ask for their chocolates either so we settled by cheering them up by showing them the map and how far we walked already. It kinda lightened them up. It was also in this map that we realised that we’re following the the yellow trail….the holy guacamole 11km trail!!! Our intention was just to do some leisure nature walk. But as you can see we’ve already walked half of it so we decided the other half shouldn’t be much of a deal.

Then it rained. I’m not sure if I’ll be thankful that it rained when we are on the part of the trail were it was this open and no trees to somehow give us shelter. OR it was better as it would be more spooky and perhaps dangerous for us to walk on muddy trail. Anyways, we still continued with great spirits! Our little one got lucky with a few minutes of a lift from daddy when she complained that her feet is tired already.

We tried our best to keep things entertaining with the kids to divert their tiredness. I even am feeling exhausted already, what more these two troopers with us. What better way to make drinking water entertaining? By squirting water to their mouth! Sure this made them energetic again afterwards.

Here we are slowly reaching our first 11km!!!woohooo!

It was almost 7pm when we reached the end of our trail. One of our worries and what kept us pushing to walk faster was getting stuck inside the woods when it gets dark. We noticed that there isn’t any lamps anywhere so it would be pitch black in there after the sun sets. Here we are smiling from ear to ear feeling accomplished and blessed for finishing that trail and most of all proud of our girls for making it!

Of course we headed to the nearest bus stop that brought us to the nearest mall on the way home. It was past dinner time so McDonald’s at Northpoint Mall isn’t that crowded anymore.

Our shoes got really dirty with the mud when it rained. Our kids turned to Peppa Pig’s jumping on muddy puddles whenever we came across one. So here they are the next day learning their lesson not to do that again.haha…

Excuse that hole in our little one’s leggings. That’s her favourite and we’re still in the process on letting go of it. haha

That’s the end of this blog. I hope you enjoyed this post as much as did sharing to your our adventures. If you know any interesting place we can go next make sure to leave on the comments below. 

If you’re looking for some inspiration for future adventures within Singapore, check out our previous trip to the Rail Corridor! This amazing how much greenery this “Little Red Dot” can have. Truly there’s much more to explore than just stroll in the malls every weekend.

Read more: Weekend Family Trip Tips

Till our next adventure,

The Javier’s c/o TheMommyWithAGoal

Quick and Easy Trail Walk along Rail Corridor

As our love to showing our kids how great nature could be continue to grow, last weekend, we walked along the Rail Corridor. This 4km easy walking stretch is way far different from what we experience from the 11km Mac Ritchie Trail.

The whole railway that starts from Tanjong Pagar Railway Station stretches to Woodlands Train Checkpoint 24km in total. The Rail Corridor is a nature trail along the former Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) railway line connecting Singapore and Malaysia. The Malaysian rail service ceased operations here in 2011. The same year Singapore gazetted for its conservation.

Rail Corridor (Central) that just opened last March 22, 2021 after being closed in 2019 for restoration. It is between the two conserved truss bridges, 4km stretch that is between Hillview and King Albert Park MRT.

If you’re looking for a beginners trail and also want a bit of history, this is the trail to go. There’s a lot of Instagrammable spots.

Our trip started with a couple of train transfers from Woodlands MRT. Then we took the LRT from Choa Chu Kang MRT to Bukit Panjang MRT which we haven’t tried in a long time, especially since we moved to Woodlands area 5 years ago. So the kids felt like it was their first time and was very giddy about their experience. And lastly, transferred to the Blue train and finally alight at King Albert Park MRT.

It’s just takes a quick 3 minute walk from the MRT and you’ll arrive at the Old Bukit Timah Railway Station. You’ll never miss it as there’s a lot of people going in and out of the trail. Just keep a look out on those sweaty trail walkers and you’ll never get lost! haha

This is the rough road to enter the Old Bukit Timah Railway Station. There’s currently a construction on the left side.

Before starting the 4km walk, we had some photos taken first at the at the old rail tracks near the Heritage Gallery.

Make sure to put some good sunblock to protect your skin/ face from the sun

Behind me in this photo is the one of the conserved truss bridges. It is this are that gets a bit congested as people tend to stop take photos.

Not sure what this wall stands for but according to my research, it is in 1871, that the Tanjong Pagar Dock Company puts forward another proposal to Governor Harry St George Ord which started public protests against it as it would the use of public funds for private interests. 

As said from the start, this walking trail is an easy one and family with even small kids would have fun walking. As you can see, you hardly can tell that you’re walking in a hiking trail as walking path has been well developed.

There may be rough trail along the way but it’s wide enough for 2 way foot traffic. Just right to make you feel you’re doing a nature walk. There isn’t much insects along the trail which is a great thing for those who forgot to put on some insect repellant.

One more good thing is the absence of monkeys in the area. If you’re a parent, you’ll know that bribing your child in long walks is the way to go to avoid tantrums and wailing. For this short trip, what I grabbed from the kids snack basket are these Dewberry. Good thing I was able get 2 packs of this as my youngest started making this face a few minutes when we started our walk. Fairy god Mommy simply put out this biscuits and there comes the smile on her face as well..ahhhh 😌

More photos to remember this nature walk.😀

We also passed by this underpass with graffiti on the walls. Singapore being Singapore, just a few steps away are contractors painting over those graffiti.

If ever you’re in the area and happen to see “Winnie”, don’t hesitate to contact the owner.

Not long after, dark clouds suddenly felt like running after us.Good thing we’re almost near the Railway Mall which marks the end too of the Railway Corridor.

Luckily we are a few minutes away from an exit next to Railway Mall. I didn’t notice any signage nearby and with tall bushes and people coming in and out of it, you’ll totally miss it.

There’s a signage though on the bottom if you’re walking the other way around (Hillview MRT to King Albert Park MRT route).

Railway Mall is a strip of restaurants, have a grocery (Cold Storage) and etc. It is also a stone throw away from Hillview MRT and has a nearby bus stop so basically, a good stand point for you to get to another area without being drench by rain.

The kids were hungry and thirsty at the end of our walk. We finished close to lunchtime which is why most of the food shops are also full of customers. We didn’t want to queue so we just headed for the ColdStorage to grab some snacks first. Here’s my gang trying to relax with the sound of the rain and munching on some unhealthy snacks which they deserved for being such a great troopers today.

There’s limited selection of food shops in the strip and we don’t find any that we want so we decided to just hop on a bus to go to a mall near our place so it would be easier going back home too.

Lunch at Yoshinoya, Causeway Point to fill-up our tummy. Mommy doesn’t have the energy too to cook anymore. haha

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did. If you know like me to share any dish you’ve been wanting to do, make sure to leave on the comments below.

If you’re looking for some inspiration a simple snack to make for your picky eaters, check out our previous post on how to make Easy Apple Turnovers! There’s much more you can do in your kitchen just as Chef Gusteau’s famous motto from the movie Ratatouille: Anyone can cook!

Till our next time!

Read more: Weekend Family Trip Tips