Before you go:
Check visas (including transit) and that your passports are up to date.
Book a hotel for at least for the night of arrival (ideally two nights) if not going on a package trip.
Check about vaccinations well in advance.
Check my suggestions for packing for travel with a little one.
Get a phrase book or download a dictionary (eg from Google translate) and if they use a different alphabet, add keyboard, just in case.
Download Apps such as TripAdvisor and maybe some maps.
Arrival at the airport:
If you can, get a local sim so you’ve got WiFi etc. If there isn’t one, airports normally have WiFi for free anyway.
For peace of mind, you can of course get the hotel to pick you up. Otherwise, go to one of the taxi stands inside the airport and book a car, get your ticket and look for the driver. I do rate Grab Car though for good value. Download Grab and Uber apps and check if they’re used where you’re going.
When you arrive, enter your destination on the map, check what gate you’re at for location and bingo. (I find when I’m away the gps on Grab doesn’t always pick it up right). Don’t worry about drivers not understanding as they can use translate on their phone and if in doubt get a friendly person to speak to them in the local language.
Planning the day:
Ask what they want to do and listen. I don’t mean let yourself get bossed around, but if they fancy a boat trip, going to town or just chilling by the pool, try and factor it in.
Don’t try to cram too much into a day. If you have a busy day, great; just don’t set off thinking we must go to a then b then c then head over to x.
“the best laid plans…”
To help make things enjoyable, go with the flow. We took a boat the other day with a view to playing on the beach. In the end, after about 10 minutes, the heavens opened. My daughter was then wet and sandy, but rather than trying to locate the shower, I got her to stick her limbs under the rain as it poured off the roof to wash off most of the sand. Relatively sand free, I got her dry and we down and had something to eat while the rain slowed down before going for a wander. There were plenty of things to look at from chickens roaming around to colourful cafes, flowers and boats. We had a nice afternoon out.
If your kids are getting tired after walking round sites in the heat, do grab the odd trishaw, tuk tuk or taxi sometimes. That way you may avoid a meltdown too!
Prepare for your kids to amaze you with what food they may try. I was pleasantly surprised when my four year old first chose fresh crabs/ prawns/ fish/ cockles (you can see she’s a big seafood fan).
If doubtful yours will be adventurous, go to a place that’s popular or a city. You’re then sure to have Italian, burgers and other foods your children may be used to. It’s an idea to check in advance on google and ‘TripAdvisor’ to be sure.