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You are here : home > Travel > Cities and Towns > Children and Travel

Children and Travel

Travelling in India, especially with children in tow, is fraught with inconveniences due to lack of proper transit and lodging amenities, though things are better now, than it was, a decade ago. For those who can afford five-star style holidays, it is still not so much of a problem, but for others with lesser means it can be a discouraging prospect. So what do you do? Do you not travel at all till your child has reached a certain threshold age? Not quite! Children should be exposed to the travails and vicissitudes of travels and uncomfortable journeys; they are more resilient than you are, you'll discover. Only you need to plan your holiday well.

Planning a Holiday

Try not to make ambitious plans or itineraries. Plan your holiday well in advance. In India, getting train reservations or even resort bookings at the last minute is virtually impossible, especially during the peak season. So you need to plan your travel itinerary to the last detail beforehand. Where would you like to go, for how many days, where will you stay and what transports will you require reaching there, and thereafter? Consider all these questions and make arrangements before leaving home.

If you are going through travel agents and tour operators then you need to discuss the packages threadbare to cross check that all features suit you. Plan an itinerary such that you can fit in at most 4-5 places, which are preferably within a radius of 500 kms, if you are on a 12 - 15 day trip. This will ensure that you are travelling less, seeing more and resting more, too. Enquire about medical facilities beforehand, especially in places like water resorts or amusement parks. Some of them may be ill-equipped and you wouldn't want to be sorry, later.

Where to Stay

Booking decent resorts, motels or holiday-homes is of course, the ideal thing to do. But with kids, there is another formula you could approach. Try shacking up with some friends or friends' friends. This also has the advantage of exploring a new place as an insider, while being an outsider. If you, or someone you know, happen to know a forest officer, you can ask him to arrange for a stay and transport, and be his guest. This is more likely to work, because people posted in remote areas welcome company readily. Or, if you know some friends who own a country-home or a cottage in remote hills grab the opportunity, chances are there will be a caretaker who can look after all your needs.

What to Pack

Strike a balance between travelling light and taking into account your child's every requirement. Leave behind that book you have packed for your travel read, you'll have no time for it anyway. Scrounge on your needs but not on his. It will only help in making your experience more pleasant. Ensure the following things:

  • Water: You would be, no doubt, drinking bottled mineral water during the travel, but the quality of many of these is suspect. Therefore, it is advisable to carry an instant glass purifier or even a tap-contraption filter, which is available in the market. This is to doubly-check that the water your child is consuming is of good quality.

  • Food: While it is not practical to stock up on food items and increase luggage, do carry some dry snacks or ready-to-eat/instant packets of upma or pulao. You just have to add water to the contents of instant food; as such you can do this when you get a backdoor entry to the pantry of small roadside cafes, hotels or even the resort you are staying at. Anything that is piping hot should be good for your child. Many roadside dhabas, or even those in hill-stations or villages, do not have ready meals and make them on demand. This works well, because even if it were not up to home standards, it would still be steaming hot and fresh, and therefore, hygienic.

    Dry snacks are a good substitute for food for your fussy eater. Chips, wafers, biscuits, chocolates, fruits, bread and milk is available anywhere. Let him gorge on these forbidden, but favourite snacks throughout, if need be. This is not the time to enforce eating discipline.

  • Mosquito repellents: Just don't go anywhere without this one. Mosquito menace is widely prevalent, and it is best to be equipped for defence. Cream- based repellents like Odomos or the plug-in varieties should be carried without fail.

  • Medical kit: Keep a first-aid kit for any eventuality. Also, carry medicines for your child's common illnesses like colds, allergies, and stomach upsets, so that you can safely intervene, if the doctor in not available.

  • Clothing: If you are going to a hill-station to beat the summer, carry enough woollens. Or else, it is also a good idea to take bare minimum woollens with you, and buy some there. These places sell exotic, good quality woollen clothing. That way you will at least be minimizing your baggage one-way!

    Do take enough spare clothes for the child, just in case you are not able to wash clothes.

  • Toys: Carry travelling games, books, toys, Walkman or a small music system, and a comforter (depending on the child's age and inclination) to keep the child occupied during journeys or guided tours.

Remember a Few Things

  • Avoid shopping, if you can. Or else, divide your schedule in such a way that your partner takes the children to an amusement park or a treat while you get yourself chauffeured to the marketplace.

  • Avoid visiting museums. That is a surefire way to displease your child. If you must, take turns. Also, museums do not encourage bawling babies and babbling kids.

  • Visiting forts and monuments can tire and bore a child, so if you must make it a breeze.

People contact is very important for a child, unless, of course, yours is particularly shy. Befriend co-travellers. If they happen to have kids, then your kids get company, too; they will be less demanding and more amenable. That will make your holiday more pleasant, too. Make friends with the caretaker and his children. They may, perhaps, teach your child a trick or two - on how to climb a tree or catch a butterfly!

Children enjoy novel experiences. The very idea of living out of suitcases, one night in one place and the next in another, is appealing to them. They get to explore new living spaces and new neighbourhoods. Their senses are stimulated wildly, and that itself keeps them free from boredom.

Bon Voyage!

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Paramit.5 years ago
good information and very useful one too. really i like this site very much
madhav.5 years ago
Traveling with kids needs proper planning. without planning, it can be a harrowing experience as it happened with me. I forgot to take many things and had to buy them at double the cost.
Sujatha Sivasankar.8 years ago
a binocular and an inexpensive camera will keep the little ones happy for a long time. we should also take a suitable gift for the host. a little planning always helps.
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