On a whim late last year we decided to book a trip to Bali. At the time flights were on sale and we thought it wasn’t too long of a flight for a toddler who HATES sitting still, so we locked it in. Being our first overseas trip with Eva I was slightly nervous about how she would go. She’s not the most flexible little lady, enjoys running away from us at any moment and goes feral if her routine is disrupted. So, yep, I was slightly anxious and these things had totally stopped us travelling anywhere with her yet. But, we decided to just bite the bullet and do it. We also wanted to finally tie the knot, but more on that later.
Bali is the perfect overseas holiday for families. There’s the opportunity to travel around a bit and explore, but it’s also pretty damn easy just to chill too. We did a little bit of exploring, but mostly a lot of hanging out in our villa, swimming and eating. I’d love to go back and travel around a bit more when Eva is a little older.
So, here are my top tips on Bali with a wild little toddler.
- Allow a few days to pack so you have time to cull. I did not do this and it resulted in me packing last minute and taking WAY too much stuff.
- If your little one is not toilet trained, make sure you take all the swim nappies you’ll need with you as you can’t really find them in Bali. Normal nappies and wipes are fine to buy at stores.
- Pack a change of clothes for your babe AND you in your carry on bag in case there is some sort of spew action going on. Also throw in there some Nurofen and Panadol too.
- Make sure you take a few bottles of suncream as it is super exxy over there and limited in which brands you can get.
- Try not to move around to too many different resorts. We stayed in 3 different places over 10 days and I think that was probably one too many. Check in and check out times often happen over nap time and so Eva missed her nap a few days and that resulted in an extra cranky babe. Also packing up the billion things you have to take with a toddler is a total pain in the ass.
- Prams – when you check in for your flight, ask the attendant if you can drop off your pram with the gate staff. We made the mistake of checking it in with our bags on our way to Bali and this meant Eva just tried to run away from us at the airport every chance she got. Girlfriend needs to be strapped the hell in. We checked it in at the gate on our way home and it made the whole hanging out at the airport waiting thing SO much easier. We took a small travel pram and although the pathways can be quite uneven in Bali, it definitely made it easier.
- If you have a runner, get a back pack lead. Do not worry about the eye rolls you might get from strangers. Screw them and their judgy looks, just get the damn thing. We didn’t and I really regret it as I think it would have made me feel less anxious the whole time and Eva a little safer.
- iPad – just give into it. Eva has never had one at home, but we loaded some games and a few shows onto it and it was a massive help. I figure that if she’s sat still for longer than 10 minutes calmly and I’m expecting her to sit for longer than that I either need to adjust my expectations or give her something else to do that will allow her to sit still. She had it a lot whilst we’re away and I was worried she’d want it constantly when we got back, but she hasn’t actually asked for it once. Winning!
- Car seats – We didn’t take our car seat with us and it wasn’t really a massive deal. For longer car trips like to and from the airport or day trips, we just booked drivers that definitely had one. For short trips in taxi I just held Eva on my lap.
- As you all know, Eva isn’t the biggest fan of sleep. So to try and make it easier on us all we stuck to the same routine we would at home. This meant we were pretty much always at our villa between 12pm-3pm so she could nap some time in-between. This wasn’t really a problem for us as we had a pool we would just swim and chill whilst she slept. It did limit the amount of day trips and travel we could do though.
- We took all of Eva’s sleep things with us so we could try and make her feel kind of like she was at home in her bed. This meant lugging with us her glow dreaming lamp, sleep suit, pillow, bunny, monitor and blanket. We didn’t take a porta cot and just used the ones provided at the resorts. Both resorts provided quite large cots with comfy thick mattresses.
WHERE TO STAY
We spent the first four days in Nusa Dua at the Samabe Bali Suites and Villas in a one bedroom pool villa. We had such an amazing experience here and it was definitely the most relaxing part of the holiday. To sum it up, I think staying here is basically a little insight as to what it might be like to live a little like Beyonce. The staff are so incredibly friendly and helpful, like every single one of them. In the short time we were there they managed to learn all of our names and helped us late one night when we realised we’d run out of nappies for Eva (rookie parenting error there!).
The resort itself is seriously stunning and the buffet breakfast is probably the best I’ve ever had (yep I totally rate a resort by its buffet breakfast standards).
The resort is one of the pricer ones, but we booked it when they had a special on and it was also during the off season, so a little cheaper again. A hot tip, we actually found the best price by booking directly through the resort and not through another site.
The beach that the resort sits on is probably one of the most beautiful beaches you’ll find in Bali. Think white sand and crystal clear water. We loved going down there for a drink and to watch the sun set… Eva for some reason loved going down there and chucking epic tantrums as I wouldn’t let her strip off and run into the ocean, each to their own I suppose? This beach is also where we got married, so it will always be pretty special to us.
We then spent five days at Villa Abida in Seminyak. Before we booked this one, I spent weeks researching villas and looking for the perfect one. In Bali a lot of the villas are all open to the pool and this was something that kind of worried me a lot with a fearless toddler like Eva. This villa was perfect for us as it had doors to completely seperate the inside from the pool area.
The villa itself is gorgeous and the location oh-so-good, right in the middle of everything but down a laneway which meant it was really quiet at night. The villa has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, and a large living and dining area. I always try to book two bedroom places when we’re away as Eva usually sleeps better alone in her own room but for some reason on this trip she wanted us in the same room as her. She even slept in our bed a few times and since she literally hasn’t done this since she was a newborn, I of course thought it was the best thing ever.
TO BOOK A NANNY OR NOT?
This was something I debated a little as we have only ever left Eva with family or close friends, so I felt a bit weird about doing it in a foreign country, but my advice is DO IT! Holidays with toddlers are crazy. There isn’t a whole lot of rest or down time going on in there, so book that nanny and go out for a date night, or three. We found the most beautiful nanny, Putu, who we booked on three seperate occasions to look after Eva from 3pm – 9pm. She brought along craft and games to play with and Eva honestly had the best time with her. I would 100% recommend her, so please contact me if you would like her details and I will happily pass them on. I will be booking Putu again on our next Bali trip.
FOOD AND EATING OUT
Bali is basically the good food jackpot. You’re totally spoilt for choice and it’s hard to go wrong. We ate a mix of both western and Indonesian food and didn’t really have one bad meal whilst we were there. Here are a few of my faves.
- Coffee Cartel Cafe Organic and Kynd Community are all awesome for good coffee and healthy eats. Think smoothies, fresh juices, smashed avo and acai bowls. The interiors also lend themselves pretty well to a good insta shot. Priorities huh?
- If you want to go somewhere a bit special for a date night and eat amaaaaazing food, then head to Bikini. You won’t regret it. Another good date night option is Ku De Ta for drinks and the sunset.
- If you’re craving some good pizza and pasta head to Ultimo Italian Restaurant. The prices here are so cheap and it’s better than most of the Italian I’ve had here in Australia. They also have a great kids menu.
- When you’re stuck in the villa with a sleeping baby and starving, Go-Jek is Bali’s version of uber eats. Just download the app and order and they’ll bring it to your door.
- For delicious Indonesian food we ate at a bunch of different places in both Seminyak and Nusa Dua and all meals were great.
We had the BEST time in Bali, can we please go back, like now? We tried to just go with the flow a bit with Eva and found not locking in too many activities the way to go as she was generally pretty happy just to play in the pool. There is still SO much more we’d love to do and see there, so we will be back for sure.