Right from the moment you conceive, people around you starting from your husband before over protective of you and the baby. And once you have a baby! Then toh! God save you if you mention going out! And if you mention taking a pleasure trip, then people will surely think that you have lost it!
And when could the baby ever be ready? I asked myself? Always, pooping and burping and sleeping? When would he have the time to dress up? So I took matters into my own hands.
Kids are tougher than they look. Breastfeed babies are hassle free! All you need is your boob and he will calm down. No bottles, no formula, no sterilizing. Even older kids can function relatively well with a running nose or an upset tummy.
Yes, they can get cranky, and that can put a dampener on the mood! Here are some tips when planning a family vacation or when travelling with children.
Traveling with children
Plan ahead to pick a place that is kid friendly
Do you really want to find yourself booked into a business hotel which would frown upon your kiddies running around? No, right? So try to do your research beforehand and check if the hotel is child friendly. If you are travelling with an infant, then ask if they provide a crib. Some hotels even offer babysitting services. Avail them, and go and enjoy a sensuous massage with your hubby!
We once planned a river rafting trip on Kundalika river with a couple who had a young 8 year old (my baby was not born yet). One of them had to miss out to look after their daughter. Be sure that the place you are visiting lists some kid’s activities as well, which you can do together as a family.
Plan travel with friends who also have kids. Sound like a recipe for disaster doesn’t it? Well, not really! It’s always, the more the merrier, when it comes to children. They have more fun and…. more adults to share the babysitting duties! Win, win! Oh , and did you really forget group discounts!!! What are you waiting for? Go call your sister or bestie and plan that vacation you’ve been putting off!!!
Travel as comfortably as you can
The actual “travelling” part for reaching the destination can be very stressful with kids. Their constant question of “when are we going to reach?” alone is enough to drive you nuts.
Gone are the days when our parents could bundle the whole lot of us into sleeper class, and shout us into submission whenever anyone started a fight.
Travelling by train, is easy on the kids. No motion sickness, clean washrooms and space to spread their legs or lie down when they sleep. Less backache for you…..from sitting upright in a car or plane.
Packing essentials when traveling with children
Carry a favourite toy or colouring book
Do you really want them glued to your phone or tab the whole journey? Pack some coloring books and let me go crazy. Nothing to messy…..just crayons and color pencils. Try not to carry their entire playpen, but let them explore new things. A seashell, colorful trinkets on the station, wooden handicrafts…anything can become a toy with a child’s imagination.
Carry a small electric stove, coffee maker and pressure cooker
As a travel junkie, I am always up for trying out the new flavors of the place I am visiting. But for my toddler, I am still apprehensive, because I am unable to trust the quality of ingredients.
There are some restaurants in India that have special kiddies menus and meals. This is a new and welcome trend which I sincerely hope catches on! I always make it a point to carry Chikoos multigrain porridge powder, along with a small stove so that I am never at a loss at what to feed him. Nutritious, homely and easy to make! Presto!!
Have your pediatrician number handy, and carry some medicines along.
Murphy’s Law was framed around kids falling ill! No, seriously! They pick the most opportune moments, when you are unprepared, or out there in the wild – to catch a cold! So plan your travel avoiding the flu season if possible. Carry your child’s doctors number and some medicines.
On the road with kids
Have a schedule, but be flexible.
With kids always having a fluid schedule helps, whether you’re planning a road trip or just sight seeing. Sightseeing is important but don’t pressure yourself to see everything! Children can tire easily in a new place. Or they may be having so much fun, don’t put a dampener in by sticking to an itinerary. Relax; you’re on vacation after all! Who says you have to see all of it in one go? I have been to Goa four times and every time I discover a new beach to explore! What is important is that you have a good time – together!
Do something that the children find interesting
A child is a little person after all! It’s their holiday as much as yours – and they probably did not have a say, so take some time out to do things they find amusing! You never know what children find amusing so just be alert to what catches their attention and let them indulge themselves!
When in a hot place, start really early.
People have become such good photographers that every place looks picturesque. Wanting to visit all of them in understandable, but don’t forget – the summer sun! It became unreasonably hot rest during the day when were visiting Agra. We planned our sightseeing in the early morning, so that we could be back before the Sun rose high!
Having an early morning of sightseeing, eating a hearty breakfast and dozing off is my idea of a relaxed vacation. Try it once!
Always carry a sweater and change of clothes
That Murphy’s Law I just mentioned? It goes into overdrive when it comes to weather. If you think it’s not going to rain – you can bet your sweet ass it will!
When we were travelling to Bangalore in November we hadn’t anticipated any rain or bad weather. Chikoo fell quite ill during this time as there was a constant drizzle of rain, wherever we went. We were lucky that we had spare sets of clothes in our leather backpack to keep him dry.
Cities like Bangalore can change temperature rapidly throughout the day. Research before planning your travel. And in any case carry several disposable tissues and the works in your backpack.
And don’t forget to pack your sense of humor! You’re going to need it! Plans will go awry, children will refuse to eat, toddlers will throw tantrums and babies will burp all over you!So take it all in your stride.
If you’ve been afraid of taking the plunge right away, try a weekend gateway with kids and see how that goes. You maybe a novice now, but you’ll get better with time.