Korea Travel Series TWO Part 1: The Down Side of Traveling with Friends

Winter Adventure ~ Mummy Audrey’s trip to Seoul, Korea with 3 kids and Ahjussi in December 2017.

Links to the entire series HERE.

So we’ve been planning for a super winter holiday as the boys were reminiscing about our winter trip to Korea back in 2013. And in Feb 2017, Singapore Airlines had a superb promotion and we wanted to grab it fast. While we were discussing about the trip, a few friends came to know about it and we invited them along. BIG MISTAKE.

1. Family #1 had many concerns about a long trip. Budget, unable to leave elder family members behind, uncertainty about coping with their kids on a cold trip, worried about the cold affecting their kids, etc. They did not join us after much consideration.

2. Family #2 was a little more spontaneous and decided to go along. But here’s when trouble started.

There were a lot of warning signs pre-trip which I brushed off because “we are friends mah”. Bad choice. I should have just stopped planning for them. Our trip was basically wasted money. Till now, I still feel very lousy about the trip because we wasted our time and money. And nope, they are not apologetic about it.

Warning Sign #1
They couldn’t make up their mind about travel dates.
When they finally made up their minds, they were dragging on booking the tickets.
Both husband and wife were waiting for each other to book/confirm.

Thankfully I didn’t wait for them to book our tickets. I went ahead when I saw the price was what I wanted and told them we can fly in separately if they couldn’t get the same flight then meet in Korea.

Warning Sign #2
Their bochap attitude. For those who know me, I love planning. I can easily spend hours and hours planning, reading up and actually make recce trips to check the places before bringing my kids. However, this trip is not ours only. Our friends are coming along. So I had to involve them in the planning.

  • I asked for a list of places they would like to visit or things they wanna do or food they wanna eat. Since the day we confirmed the trip.
  • Took them very long, a lot of chasing on my side for the list to be given to me.
  • Following their list, I drafted a suggested plan. Forward via WhatsApp numerous times. Invited them to my parent’s place on Saturdays (too many to count) so that we could sit down and figure out the details. Nope. No planning ever happened.
  • They wanted to head to Nami Island but Ahjussi and I just went there with the kids in June 2016 and we felt that there’s nothing much there in winter. Especially there’s no place to hide from the cold wind on the island. We told them that we shall split up that day, they can go ahead with Nami and we will go ahead to do work (meet suppliers) or find something else. I gave them a lot of links to information like tours or how to get there by public transport.

For those who want to know what I planned, this is the rough draft that never got finalised: Our Dec 2017 Plan

Warning Sign #3
Money issues. They had from Feb 2017 till Dec 2017 to save up… but…
While it is not my position to judge how other couples handle their money, their money issues became quite a big thing. One promised to pay for the trip and talk big. He was working for us at events to earn the extra cash for the trip. But end up, nope. He totally forgot what he promised and squandered his ‘hard earned money’ away.

Well, that’s not my problem. But it affected us and the trip. Why? Because they want to go BUDGET. Every time we had to go somewhere for a meal, we had to check menu/prices and ask if they are OK before we sat down to eat. As a result, Ahjussi was upset because the food wasn’t good.

To be honest, bring kids on trip cannot too budget. Want to budget, please go Batam or JB for holiday. Not spend so much to fly so far then tell us want to go on budget.
Right from the start, I have already given the estimated expenses:
(a) SGD20/pax/meal + Misc snacks/coffee
(b) When change apartment take taxi so it is easier with the luggage and faster. SGD15-20/taxi (they only need 1 taxi, we have to split into 2 taxis)
(c) Entrance fees can easily be found at the links I gave them
(d) Their own shopping

Warning Sign #4
They are always late when we meet. The word ‘punctual’ doesn’t seem to be in their dictionary.

My kids are early risers. We enjoy spending more time looking around on a trip than to laze in bed. If it was a trip to laze in bed, we would have chosen another location.

We knew they are not punctual but we didn’t expect a daily delay of 1.5h to 2h! Agreed to meet 9am but end up delay till 10am, sometimes after meet still slowly go convenience store and eat instead of move off. It’s really a waste of good time!

And because we know we have to be responsible to another family traveling with us, we made the kids sleep on time so they can wake up easily in the morning. We trained the boys before the trip to be able to put on their many layers of winter wear without much assistance so we can focus on Meimei and make every morning a breeze to get ready. I knew the kids need around 45min to get ready. The husband needed his poop time before we head out. So 1h before we meet is perfect time to get the kids ready. And I woke up 30min earlier than the kids to get myself ready.
And they don’t inform us early that they were unable to meet at the decided time. Instead, at 9am when we msg them then they will ask us to wait. So my kids are already in their winter wear and sitting in the hot apartment waiting for 1h!

And initially when we planned the trip, we agreed: Whoever is late will just go to the destination themselves and meet later.
But nope. Because they didn’t bother to plan or even print the draft I gave them, they were clueless and basically expect to follow us around only.

Warning Sign #5
They can’t handle their kid. So I’ve been at the receiving end of “he doesn’t help with the kid” and “she cannot handle the kid” type of complaints from the couple individually before the trip.

Every marriage is TEAMWORK. If you can’t handle your kid, then please don’t travel with friends and inconvenience others.

To be honest, the joke Ahjussi and I had before the trip was…. “Will we end up reach Korea to claim bodies and pick the kid up?”
Because they arrive 2 days before us. And they are forever quarreling and very not paiseh to openly quarrel in front of us and even in front of my whole family when they go to my parent’s place for dinner.

Conclusion: I don’t want to travel with such friends anymore.
(P/S: Due to other things they did after the trip, we chose not to meet this family anymore. Lying about damaging winter coat we lent them ain’t cool. If you did it, admit it and apologize. Don’t lie about it. We are not dumb. One look and we knew.)

This whole trip was just about WAITING. Because not only did they turn up late to meet, they wasted a lot of time here and there. Why? Because they drag travel time between places too. Initially they told me to pack it full to make full use of our time there. So I planned 3-5 places a day which was definitely doable when I brought my own kids. But with them, we end up doing 1-2 things a day only.

Per location planned, it took me at least 5 hours of research and reading up. So every time we had to skip a place, I’m mad! And I found myself telling my boys, “It’s OK to miss this during this trip. We will come back again next time. I will bring you here again.”

So unless we are following a tour group and the friends don’t flag the above warning signs, we will not travel with friends anymore.
I have friends who are totally NOT like the above and we would love to do a mass trip with multiple families soon!

Mummy Audrey
Mummy to Big Boy, Baby Oppa & Meimei

Note: Mummy Audrey runs her own online store, www.TLO.com.sg, while looking after her 3 kids ages 11yo, 6yo, and 3yo. Her business focuses on Korean baby products, thus she travels to Korea frequently to source for new and unique products to bring into Singapore. 

Mummy Audrey and her children are available for product/service reviews as long as the products/services are not conflicting with her own products. Do contact her directly at audrey@TLO.com.sg if you are interested for her to review your product. 


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