Flying With Kids For The First Time

Welcome to our first-ever blog post! Turn your moments into memories with TernX where we strive to give you the best family travel inspirations, tips, and information to get you traveling more with your little ones!

One of the highlights of childhood memories is family vacations. Traveling with your children will strengthen your relationship and bond while providing happy memories for them to reminisce about when they grow up. Letting your kids experience the world outside will broaden their knowledge and open their eyes to the outside world. Through traveling, your kids will venture into a life out of the ordinary and lead a lifestyle that makes them truly and genuinely happy; and that my friends, is why we love traveling with our kids and why you should travel with kids.

As such, we will like to share our story of flying with our son for the very first time!

The time came. It was January 2014 and our firstborn was 4 months old. We decided to bring him back to Malaysia to visit his great grandparents in Tawau, Sabah, a part of Borneo - a truly beautiful place in the world. The best-ever tips for traveling with babies and tips for stress free family travel with kids were on top of our minds! First time flying as a family we wanted the quickest and easiest route from Melbourne to Tawau. Malaysia Airlines MH128, departing Melbourne (MEL) at 00:20 to Kuala Lumpur (KUL) 06:00, transiting in Kuala Lumpur for 1:30hours then flying MH2660 from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) 07:30 to Tawau (TWU) 10:20 was the one! We did what most new parents will do which was to consult our dear friend Google for tips and tricks for flying with kids. Our little one wasn't the best sleeper, but he can generally get between 2 to 4 hours at one stretch. We chose an overnight flight. That worked well for us, giving us a couple of hours of shut-eye at night. Fast forward a couple of hours (it was a blur), as we approached Tawau International Airport, the view was simply amazing. Mountains of greenery terrace oil palms and evenly squared-off fish farms. One-word Wow! The airport is about an hour's drive away from the town center. Sabah has as a world heritage site Kinabalu Park, if you do visit It is worth spending at least 2 to 3 nights in Tawau to indulge in the local culture. There are plenty of local coffee shops, seafood restaurants, and beautiful islands dotted around, this leads us to our highlight. Other than visiting relatives and family back home (of course), the highlight of our trip would definitely be the islands. A very highly recommended must-do and to jot on your to-do list. Sipadan Island is well-known for diving and being divers ourselves it was on the list. It is considered one of the most beautiful dive places in the world. Check it out!

Mabul Island

The drive from Tawau to Semporna town/port is about 1.5hrs. There are myriads of islands to choose from depending on budget. A simple hop on a boat will get you there from Semporna. This time around with a child in tow we went to Mabul Island which was about an hour boat ride and closest Island to Sipadan Island. Sipadan Island used to be a habitable Island. Flashback to my first trip to Sipadan in 1992. I remembered back then there were 3 resorts on-site and the one we stayed in was simple yet pleasant. It was a wooden hut, equipped with two single wooden beds and a bathroom. It was an experience. Sipadan Island has a shallow reef from the main beach. As we head out from the beach with the crystal-clear waters you can literally see the reef wall suddenly drop down a few hundred meters. Scary but fascinating. Fun-filled and worry-free days, love it! When night came, we went looking for coconut crabs and if lucky you can even witness and experience turtles laying eggs.

The marine life around Sipadan Island is simply magical. Seeing sea turtles is pretty much a guarantee, not one but probably 10-20. Schools of jackfish creating a tornado-like motion is a sight to see. Often one would have to stay a minimum of 3-4nights on an island to have the opportunity to dive in Sipadan Island. That was Sipadan.

Mabul Island has its own beauty, from wreck dive to mud dive. Each Island with its own beauty and mystic. Opposite the Island is a decommissioned oil rig. Diving around the old rig I was lucky enough to encounter the smallest seahorse in the world, the pygmy seahorse. A captivating sight!

The idyllic lifestyle on the island makes it the best vacation. From lazing on the hammock to all-inclusive buffet meals throughout the day. If you're up for an adventure, go for a stroll around the island. You will be able to meet some locals, have a chat and experience their culture. Souvenirs are also plentiful if you wish. An opportunity also arose during our trip for a visit with real-life sea gypsies. It's an eye-opener to witness their way of life.

Our first trip as parents we will cherish for life, no road is long with good company and we have definitely learned, tried, and tested plenty of tips for traveling on a plane with kids.

Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.


We really hope you have enjoyed this article and will catch you next time!

Have a wonderful day wherever you are and safe travels.