The most interesting stories of a lifetime are not from the pages of a book but from the pages of a passport. Probably one of the reasons that Anusha Padmanabhan got her 15-month-old son Vidyut, a passport at such an early age. Anusha, her husband Vatsyayan, and Vidyut have travelled all over India and abroad ever since Vidyut was 7 months old. While this may come in as a shock to many of you, we are used to it. Travelling with kids is doable!
At Pickyourtrail, we have seen an increasing trend in the number of travellers who vacation with their toddlers. Over the last 6 months, more than 70 families have travelled with us, along with their children. And this is not just to Southeast Asia, the list extends to Croatia, Iceland, UK, New Zealand, USA, Mauritius, and Australia. With Bali, Thailand, and New Zealand becoming more children-friendly, we can only see an increase in the trend in the coming years.
To keep up with the trend and to give the families traveling with their children a better clarity, we conducted a live Facebook Ask-Me-Anything session on travelling with kids this Saturday. Hosted by our expert traveller – Anusha Padmanabhan, we managed to answer a lot of useful questions over the course of one-hour. While our Facebook session ended there, this was not the end of the story. We also had 3 dads walking into our office with their own set of questions. While one of them had a 7 month old and hadn’t travelled much with his kid, the others had already taken their kids on vacations. With questions pouring in, we were more than happy to build the community of travelling parents!
Missed out on our AMA session? Here’s the video.
We’ll also sum it up for you right here. Here are some pointers that are sure to make the kids-trip a fun one!
1. Keep them in the loop
The right thing to do before setting out on a new journey is to plan it well in advance. Though it’s very common to plan your trip without involving your children, we request you to change the pattern. It’s easier to cloud ourselves with the thought that children know nothing about travel but believe me, you will be surprised by their knowledge. Involving your child while planning helps you understand what your child actually needs and also makes them feel appreciated.
2. Surprise them with new toys and new books
To keep your child engaged during their flight/train journey, packing their favorite toys and books is essential. But, what is even more interesting is to get some new toys & books and show them to your kids when they are really out of hand. This will hold their attention and bring them back to their normal state.
3. Give them some responsibilities
An amazing way to turn your child into behaving like an adult is by giving them responsibilities. Give them small things to start out with, like making them responsible for packing their own bags. I have seen my niece carry her pink Barbie everywhere she goes and it carries only her stuff. By allotting kids with small responsibilities like this will shape them to be independent in the future, while also keeping them engaged.
4. Allocate gadget time
There’s no denying the fact that technology has taken control of our lives and our children’s lives as well. So the best thing you can do during your travel is to allocate gadget time and limit the usage of technology during that time frame. Be a role model to your child by reducing your own usage of gadgets.
5. Carry extra food
While it’s always good to train your kids to eat new foods during your travel, you will not be always lucky. There will be a lot of times, where you will be faced with challenges, especially when you are visiting destinations like Thailand. This is where packing in extra food comes in handy. Believe me, packing them is absolutely life-saving and will prevent food from ruining your vacation.
6. If you are flying with kids
If you have little crawlers or walkers, get them to move around in the airport. This way, they would expend their energy and possibly make the flight an easier one. An even better suggestion would be to try to time the flight with your baby’s nap time. Request ahead for baby bassinets if the airline has such a facility. A new toy while on the flight would keep them occupied for longer. Breastfed infants can be fed during the flight take off, this would help them ease the ear pain.
7. Equipment for babies
Strollers and car seats can be rented out in most countries. If you are planning on a self drive holiday, you may need to plan to rent your car seats as it is compulsory in many countries. Since children in India are not used to car seats, it may help training them a month in advance to get used to the concept.
8. Where to stay
Make sure you choose a place with well ventilated rooms, so kids don’t feel cramped. It would help if the place has a lot of open space for children to run around. A facility with a kitchenette would be useful in case you want to whip up something for a hungry toddler.
9. Make a scrapbook
Trust us, this is something both you and your kid(s) will love! Take up a book, colour each page and give them headers like ‘Experiences’, ‘Memories’. Mark spaces for photographs that they could collect over the trip. Get them to collect little flowers that can be pressed into the book. Not only builds up the excitement, but it also keeps them occupied during the trip.
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