The best thing about Boracay as a family destination is that it has everything for everyone—even for kids. If you’re taking your kids to Boracay, take it easy and travel light. Here are tips on what to pack and what to leave behind.
1. Beach toys take up too much space in your luggage.
What’s a trip to the beach without a bucket and a shovel? You can shop for toys at D’Mall, or just walk from White Beach Station 2 to Station 3—you’re bound to find stalls selling not just buckets and shovels, but also goggles, beach balls, and frisbees. (If you’re still keen on traveling light on the flight back home, you can give the toys away for other kids to enjoy.)
2. Shop early for baby’s sunscreen.
Sunscreen is a must especially for babies and young children because their thin skin makes them more susceptible to sunburn. Children should wear sunscreen even if it’s cloudy (80% of the sun’s radiation pass through clouds) or they’re not in the water (sand reflects sunlight). Though sunscreen for adults and kids are available in most convenience stores in Boracay, it’s best to try different brands of sunscreen for your child a week before the trip. Do a “patch test” by applying an untried brand of sunscreen on your baby’s forearm to check whether or not an allergic reaction will occur within 48 hours.
Look for a sunscreen that is hypoallergenic, waterproof/water-resistant, and especially formulated for infants or children, with an SPF of at least 15; if your child has very fair or sensitive skin, go for one with an SPF of 30 or higher. Your child’s sunscreen should protect him or her from both UVA and UVB rays. Never use tanning products on children; there is no such thing as a safe tan for children (and parents too).
Wet skin is more vulnerable to the damaging effects of the sun, so reapply sunscreen when your child perspires a lot or plays in the water. Apply more sunscreen on the nose and ears, but avoid getting sunscreen into baby’s eyes and mouth. For your baby’s lips, look for a sun-blocking lip balm (ask your pediatrician for a recommended brand).
3. Brimmed hats and sunglasses.
In Boracay, babies and children are a common sight in the early morning and late in the afternoon—for a good reason. The midday sun is not good for anybody’s skin, but the effects are worse on a baby’s tender skin. As stated in the excellent parenting manual What to Expect: The First Year, “A single episode of severe sunburn during infancy or childhood doubles the risk of the most deadly of skin cancers, malignant melanoma.”
Kiddie-sized hats and shades are not as readily available on the island as adult-sized ones, so you may want to include these in your luggage. When shopping for protective sunglasses, look for one labeled with “100% UV protection.”
4. Diapers and other kiddie toiletries.
There’s no need to bring an oversupply of disposable diapers. The Budget Mart at D’Mall and other convenience stores have them, as well as other common toiletries like mild soap, shampoo, powder, and insect-repelling lotion. (However, if your child sticks to a particular brand, you’d rather bring your own supply.)
5. Beach umbrellas and parasols.
Most resorts have beach chairs and umbrellas for their checked-in guests to use. There are beach chairs and umbrellas for rent on the beach, or you can order a thirst-quenching fruit shake at a restaurant with beach chairs for their customers.
If you have to take your baby out in the midday sun (on your way to a fabulous restaurant for lunch), bring a parasol for him or her. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen on your child—a parasol won’t protect your child from sunlight reflecting on the sand.
Pack your parasol in your checked-in luggage (you can’t hand-carry it in the plane).
You won’t need an unhealthy stash of cup noodles, potato chips, and other bulky “emergency food” as though you’re going to a cast-away island. There are plenty of fresh food choices for every budget in Boracay. You can purchase milk, drinking water, and baby food in the grocery stores. There are plenty of restaurants with kid-friendly menu. If you wish to prepare fresh food for your infant, you can ask the kitchen staff of your hotel to obtain fresh fruits and vegetables from the market.
7. Change of clothes.
If you’re in for some shopping, the four-kilometer stretch of White Beach is lined with little shops that sell beach wear and accessories. Summer dresses, shirts, shorts, and swimwear for the little ones cost anywhere from 70 to 250 pesos.
For quality swimwear for kids and adults, however, you better head to the boutique shops, one of which is Paulo Collection (one in D’Mall and the other on White Beach Station 2). Visit the Paulo Collection website or like Paulo Collection on Facebook.