If travelling with two young kids scares the bejesus out of you, cool mum Ahnah Han shares her tips on how to make it easy peasy.
Ask any parent if they love travelling with young kids and you’ll most likely get a resounding “no”. Although there are many kid-friendly airlines out there, and Changi Airport is practically a kid’s wonderland, many parents choose to leave travelling (unless absolutely necessary) until their brood’s old enough to enjoy the in-flight entertainment. Many parents, that is, except Ahnah Han and her husband, Chris. To date, the Hans have taken their three-year-old, Senah, to 19 countries and their nine-month-old son, Seyn, to eight countries. Not only that, they’ve managed to take some picture-perfect twinning photos that could pretty much melt anyone’s heart. HoneyKids recently had a chat with Ahnah to get the full lowdown on how she makes travelling (and twinning) with two tots in tow look easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Hi Ahnah, could you please tell us about your kids?
My daughter, Senah, is three years old. I love her high energy and enthusiastic spirit. She is always open to new experiences, which makes her a fun travelling partner! We have been travelling together since she was two months old, and twinning in the traditional outfit of every country we visit since she was 10 months old. Now she excitedly asks what “fancy clothes” we will be wearing when we visit another country!
My son, Seyn, is nine months old. He is a pretty no-fuss baby, making him a great travelling partner too! As long as you give him a spoon (any kind), he is happy to be anywhere and everywhere. He has been twinning with me and Senah since birth.
What’s your best tip for finding peace and calm while travelling with kids?
Family bathrooms! I enter family bathrooms frazzled and disorganised, but always leave as a composed and refined mother! I use our time in the bathroom to do the obvious – put my toddler on the toilet and change my infant’s diaper. But I also use this time to reorganise our double stroller, and to just breathe and collect myself.
What’s the best travelling hack you’ve discovered?
Breastfeeding on the go! I put my infant in the Ergobaby and then a breastfeeding cover on top. I never have to stop to feed my infant. I can feed him while exploring museums, playing at indoor playgrounds and eating at restaurants with my toddler!
How many countries have you travelled to with kids? Which ones are your favourites and why?
My daughter has been to 19 countries and my son has been to eight countries. Seoul is my favourite city in the world. I’ve been visiting since I was a child, and I love how it’s always evolving and leading in trends (you name it: fashion, electronics, K-pop, kids’ cafes…). Now that I have two young children, it’s been my goal to find cute and kid-friendly places each time we go.
What inspired you to start the twinning photo series?
When Senah was 10 months old, we visited Tirta Empul Temple in Bali, Indonesia. We were wearing matching dresses I found in a mall in Singapore. I put on a sarong before we entered the temple to cover my exposed legs and decided to put one around Senah too. After the trip was over, the photo of us in our matching sarongs at the temple was my favourite from the trip, and I was inspired to try to replicate it in our future travels.
How do you decide on your outfits?
Sometimes I research online and find the outfits myself. But usually I find it’s best to work with someone local to help me, whether it’s through the hotel or a friend. Before our trip to Vietnam, I met someone through Instagram whose sister made pretty ao dais, and she kindly asked her sister to make one for me and Senah. We even met up in Ho Chi Minh City for coffee so she could hand deliver the outfits to me!
What kind of camera do you use?
I have a Sony a5100. My husband gifted me a 35mm lens for my birthday and my life was forever changed. I read an article that said if you use a 35mm lens for six months, your photography skills will improve dramatically. I practised taking photos with the 35mm for a year, but I now mainly use my 16-70mm lens because it’s better for travel photos – you can get both your close-up and faraway shots.
Who takes your photos?
I love taking photos, but my husband takes all our twinning shots. I usually try to set him up for the shot so all he has to do is click the shutter, but he’s a natural!
I would love to take a photography class, but most of my knowledge is from YouTube tutorials and looking at other people’s feeds. I use Lightroom to edit my photos and play around with the settings until it looks pretty!
What’s your favourite twinning moment?
It’s really hard to pick a favourite, but I loved wearing saris during our India trip. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to go to India and the entire trip was magical. I felt like a princess in my sari and I think Senah did too. She was only 22 months old, but as soon as she put her sari on, she found a crowd and started twirling and shaking people’s hands like she was a celebrity!
We love your family photos! Do you have any tips/tricks for taking photos with kids? How do you get them to pose and smile?
I try to make our photo sessions as sweet and short as possible! As I am clicking on my camera, I will sing my children’s favourite songs and try to make them laugh. I try to make it fun for my daughter by saying, “Can you twirl like Cinderella?” versus just saying, “Smile.” I also prepare my children’s favourite snacks if they need a quick snack break. The key is to take as many photos as possible because then at least one photo is bound to be decent!
Smiling and posed photos are nice, but I think some of our cutest and most memorable photos are the ones where they’re showing their current mood and personality. I love our twinning photos in Brunei – Senah had just entered the wonderful stage of the terrible twos and decided she wanted to lie on the ground for all our photos. I’ll definitely be showing those photos on her wedding day!
Do you have any advice for parents who travel with young kids?
Just do it! It’s true that it’s tiring to travel with children, but it’s something quite special to see the world through your child’s eyes. Some of my favourite memories while travelling are watching my daughter giggle and share snacks with local children despite a language barrier; my daughter perfecting her pronunciation of unko (poop) in Japanese; my kids hugging and frolicking with alpacas in New Zealand… and the list goes on!
You can follow Ahnah, Chris, Senah and Seyn’s super cool twinning adventures on @ahjoomahan on Instagram.