When me and my partner had our first child (and the only one till date), I vividly remember the discussion about travel plans being off the table for a good 5 years at least. Much like other things which are off the table once you have had a baby, for e.g. a full nights sleep, a clean house, a date night or even the much desired ‘me-time’.
However, looking back at the years that have flown by, I would like to believe that we have not done too badly for ourselves. Places that we have managed to cover with our little one in tow include several locations in India, Middle East, Singapore and Sri Lanka; with Australia and USA in our radar for the next 2 years.
Let’s get this straight. Travelling with children is certainly not the same as travelling without them. However, there is no need to avoid it altogether if there are a couple of things that you can take care of beforehand.
- Be prepared: No matter how young or old your child is, every age group comes with its own set of rewards and challenges. Hence, travel plans should be designed keeping their requirements in mind. If your family has an infant or toddler, expect to carry items such as strollers, car-seats, bedding, toiletries and feeding equipment – formula, sterilizers, kettle, bottles and containers. A journey with preschoolers would demand backpacks, toilet equipment, ready-to-eat food and games and toys to keep them occupied. Similarly, older kids might want to carry their mp3 players, ipads or cameras with them. Also, irrespective of the age of the child, it is essential to carry a basic medical kit for that occasional fall or tummy ache on account of eating too much junk!
- Pick the location wisely: Choice of location is very vital in determining the ultimate success of a family vacation. Hence, remember to choose wisely. Beach holidays are a huge hit with younger kids while the school-going ones would appreciate educational or recreational locales. Older kids with their more sophisticated tastes would enjoy rich, vibrant cities with scope for adventure, sight-seeing and shopping.
- Keep your expectations reasonable: Any vacation typically involves a fair amount of travel, besides a drastic change of climate and food. Sometimes, this results in taking a toll on the health of our children. Keep your schedule as flexible as possible so as to tide over such hurdles smoothly. Besides, as concerned as a parent you might be, try not to be overtly fussy about food, cleanliness and other little things. Let them enjoy that additional waffle for breakfast, those unlimited hours in the pool or that tad-bit more of screen-time. Remember, a vacation is as much a BREAK for you as it is for your children.