Thinking of going on a vacation with your kids? Plan it right. Read more about how to do it.
You are on your way to a pleasant holiday in the mountains. And then it happens—your train gets badly delayed; your bus route is closed due to bad weather; you work out alternatives and reach your destination to the realisation that you have left part of your luggage behind. Travelling on holiday involves a fair share of anticipating unforeseen situations, and equipping yourself to deal with such situations.
The prospect of travelling with children may seem to be inviting double the trouble. Unpredictability is also a big part of managing children—they fall ill without warning, get untimely urges to visit the toilet, and can suddenly become difficult for no reason. However, with a little knowledge and fore-planning, you can ensure that you enjoy a trouble-free vacation with your kids.
Planning a vacation with children demands very much the same considerations as planning any other vacation
. The major difference is that you need to evaluate different aspects such as destination, travelling modes, things to do, food, and accommodation from your children's point-of-view.
Keep the ages of your children in mind while you decide on your choice of destination and travel itinerary. Long hours of travel to your destination, or a hectic itinerary may not only tire children, but could involve too much stress for you as the parent.
Again, harsh climatic conditions, difficult travelling conditions, political instability, lack of decent facilities, and radical food differences assume added importance on a trip where you are going to be accompanied by children.
Also, consider how amenable your children generally are to changes in their daily schedules. If they seem to take day-long outings and overnight trips in their stride, they should do well. But if you have a child who is over-sensitive to any shift from the ordinary, you will need to gradually accustom him to the idea of going on a vacation.
Lastly, since you obviously intend this to be a family holiday, consider combining your interests with activities your children will enjoy. A holiday involving a temple-architecture study-tour through Tamil Nadu or a botanical excursion in Sikkim is hardly going to hold any interest for your kids, however much of an aficionado you may be in these matters. Intersperse general sight-seeing trips with fun activities such as visits to amusement parks, gardens, or beaches. Also, allow for plenty of time to rest in between tour schedules.
Travelling with children will necessitate greater care and discrimination in the choice of accommodation that you book. Most decent hotels will offer basic facilities such as hot water, breakfast, and clean, comfortable lodgings. However, you could go that extra mile in determining if your hotel is child-friendly. Apart from the presence of amusement facilities where the kids can entertain themselves, the staff at a child-friendly hotel may be more equipped to deal with an emergency regarding your child. Needless to say, shoe-string budget travel or back-packing are not options, unless your children are in their teens, or older.
Packing the Right Stuff
Based on your destination and tour itinerary, you will need to pack in clothing and accessories for your children, including appropriate shoes, woollens, rainwear, swimming trunks, medical kit, insect repellent, etc. While travelling
with children, it is also quite necessary that you include things to occupy your children during long journeys or those endless waits at airports and railway stations. These could include simple toys or games, comics, puzzle books, or a walkman. This will keep your children engaged and may save you a lot of stress.
Motion sickness refers to the condition in which a person experiences symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, vomiting, or a headache while travelling in a vehicle. If your child suffers from motion sickness, travel will present special difficulties and demand special precautions:
- If the motion sickness occurs with a specific mode of transport, or is more aggravated with one form of transport, avoid using this mode completely.
- Try to include breaks in the journey. While this is easily possible when travelling by car, it may be more difficult by other forms of transport.
- While flying, try to book seats in the front, or near the wing, where the ride will feel less jerky. Similarly, in a boat try to book a place in the centre.
- Motion sickness can be reduced by the circulation of fresh air around the person. This might be difficult in an airplane. It can be achieved by opening a window in the car or train or by moving to the upper deck in a boat.
- Encourage your child to look out of the window at the horizon, or at some stationary point inside the vehicle.
- Any medications to control nausea should be prescribed by your doctor.
- Many people say that smelling a refreshing odour, such as that of a sliced fresh lemon, helps to stall feelings of nausea.
- Be prepared for emergencies with paper/plastic bags.