Traveling: NO YAYA

April 9, 2015
Written by Cat Arambulo-Antonio
Categories: Travel


Hello Manila. I’m BACK! And boy do I have a few stories to share with you. First of all… I just need to shout out loud and say “WE DID IT!!! 21 days, 2 countries, 5 cities , 6 theme parks and NO YAYA (a.k.a. Nanny). And if I may add.. we were able to pull it off, everyone intact, alive and breathing. *This is where I pat myself on my back* and scream WOOOOHOOOOOO!


All my life, I have always had a yaya/nanny around except when I moved back to the States by myself during college. BUUUT throughout my life and even when we were based in California (1983-1993), we were blessed and fortunate to have our Yaya Cita around – AT ALL TIMES. God knows my parents would have not survived life in America with 3 kids and no yaya. To this day my mom still doesn’t cook! haha.

Asher Antonio

Fast forward to NOW. I’m not going to pretend and tell you that it was a walk in the park and we didn’t have moments where we wanted to strangle each other and take the first flight back to Manila – especially during the beginning of our trip when everyone was jet lag…BUUUUUT… we made the most out of our situation, we learned to adapt and have fun with it!

Asher Antonio

Our Yaya-less trip strengthened our bond as a family especially for Danielle and Asher. Being 12 years apart, Danielle has a very hectic schedule throughout the school year and it’s only on trips that she and her brother are able to REALLY hangout. I MUST admit… and I throw this question to all the other parents that bring a Yaya on their trips – How much quality time or TLC do you actually give your kids when you travel with your Yaya around?


I’M GUILTY AS CHARGED. As I reflect on our past trips, Asher spends most of his -waking time- with his Yaya V than with us. But with no yaya, NO CHOICE. Both kids are with us 24/7!  Tiring, YES. Challenging, OMG-SUPER. Patience, excuse my language but HOLY CRAP: Patience is a virtue which you MUST have!


Now I understand the gravity and definition of “parents have unconditional love for their children”. hahaha! Traveling Yaya-less ESPECIALLY to the United States of America means you need to do everything yourself. A few of the roles I played during our 21-day trips was Mommy, Yaya (a.k.a. Nanny), driver, gas girl, errand girl and ironing girl. Sadly my role as a wife had to take a back seat and our baby #3 plan had to wait. I couldn’t even go to the bathroom in peace… no silence and no time! OMG…

Cat Arambulo Asher Antonio

Here are “Behind The Scenes” and never released photos of some of Asher’s.. ummmm.. let’s just call them – Fussy Moments. UGH! And YEEEEES… behind all the impeccable outfits, singing, witty antics and smiles — we must remember that Asher is still at a tender age of 2. They don’t call it “Terrible Two” for nothing, haha!

Asher Antonio

Luckily he’s more happy than he is fussy. He’s just super “makulit” a.k.a. insistent, persistent and sometimes borderline annoying. haha! But looking back, thinking about our trip and the challenges we powered through -together- it’s definitely a trip that we’ll remember forever and a Yaya-less experience that will last me a lifetime.

Here are my highs and lows on travelling without a yaya.


1. Cheaper. We would have had to rent a bigger car, get another room, buy an extra airline ticket, etc.

2. Firsts. For Carlo he was able to do a lot of his child care experiences for the first time!

3. Bond. The moments and memories shared are priceless. The bonds formed are everlasting.

4. Learning. Asher learned how to eat by himself and we learned about each others idiosyncrasies to the Nth level. haha!

5. Quality Time. The kids have your full undivided attention. We can’t buy time or ever turn back time – there’s no better time than to do it NOW!


1. Jet-Lag.  A childs jet-lag lasts for about a week. What do you do if your dead tired and your child wants to play and jump around at the wee hours of the morning?

2. Help. Anyone can use an extra set of eyes and hands. Remember other than caring for your child you need to do the laundry, wash bottles, bath time and cleaning up after everyones mess. Oh and plus packing.. unpacking then having to REPEAT.

3. Laundry. Hotel laundry services don’t come cheap. If you don’t want to pay $9 to laundry a pair of pants, $3 for a pair of socks, etc. ask for the closest laundromat and do it yourself.

4. Baggage Weight. US Airline companies have stricter rules for short term travel. We were not prepared for this since we had a lot of luggage for our international/long term flights. TIP: For US Airlines, it’s better to have many lighter weight luggages than an over-weight luggage! Overweight costs $70 and an extra luggage is $30.

5. Backpack. You need as much hands as possible so whatever you can put on your back, do it!

6. Photos. We didn’t want to bother other people to take our family photos so we relied on Danielle’s long arms and self-WE skills.

Cat Arambulo


1. The Benadryl trick does NOT always work. It’s common practice that parents give their child Benadryl to knock them out during long flights. In our case, Asher was extra hyper and it had the opposite effect. TIP: Ask your pedia but it might be a good idea to test it first.

2. Jingle Bag and Diapers. Asher’s already potty trained so we slip on a diaper so he doesn’t wet the seat or bed while he’s asleep. The Jingle Bag is for emergency incase anything needs to come out. Ew.

3. Food. Pre-request food with your airlines prior to your trip so you won’t have a difficult time making your child eat.

4. Entertainment. Pack a lot of toys, activities and I’m sure not a lot of parents will disagree with me on this but — who are we kidding…. just bust out that iPad. No fuss!

5. Jet-Lag. We skipped the afternoon naps and did everything we could to keep him up to normalize his sleeping schedule faster.

6. Car Seat and GPS. When renting a car always pre-order GPS and a carseat. It’s illegal in California to drive without a carseat for infants and children below 100lbs.

7. Uber. If you plan on staying in one city with close distances, download Uber. It’s safe, easy to use and cheaper than getting a cab.

8. Packing Cubes. I spend a lot of time planning, preparing and packing all of the toiletries, accessories and outfits in advanced so that I don’t have to think anymore when were travelling. Segregate and label!

Asher Antonio 02-Travel-101

And YES, I pre-pack and style every look Asher and I wear per day depending on our itinerary. I think it’s important to dress well and look good at all times especially when you travel because that’s when you take the most photographs. Oh and guess what.. I just used my i-Phone from SMART for most of my photos during the trip. Aren’t the quality of the photos amazing?!

Either way… Yaya or No Yaya, if you’re going to travel, you might as well do it in style. I can’t wait to plan for my next vacation from THIS VACATION and this time no kids! haha. :-P

- Cat Arambulo-Antonio


Categories: Travel
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